Harrisburg State Hospital

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Harrisburg State Hospital
Established April 14, 1845
Construction Began 1849 (Rebuilt 1893)
Construction Ended Oct 6, 1851
Opened 1851
Closed 2006
Demolished 1910 (Kirkbride Building)
Current Status Closed and Preserved
Building Style
Architect(s) Kirkbride Building: John Haviland
Cottage Plan Buildings: Addison Hutton & John Dempwolf
Location Harrisburg, PA
Peak Patient Population 2,441 with 437 on parole in 1947
Alternate Names
  • Pennsylvania State Lunatic Hospital & Union Asylum for the Insane
  • City On The Hill (unofficial)


The following is from a 1916 report

The establishment of a hospital for the relief of the insane poor of the state claimed the attention of the philanthropic at an early date. The first movement was made by the citizens of Philadelphia, who adopted a memorial which they presented to the Legislature at the session of 1838-39. A bill authorizing the erection of a state lunatic hospital was prepared and passed both houses, but did not receive the sanction of the Governor. Subsequently an act was passed March 4, 1841, authorizing the Governor to appoint three commissioners to select a site and superintend a suitable building for the purpose. The spot selected was on the Schuylkill River, two miles from Gray's Ferry, below Philadelphia. Preparations were made for commencing the erection of the building, when operations were suspended.

The subject was not permitted to rest, but was kept before the public until, in 1844, Miss Dorothea L. Dix, having visited and examined the almshouses and jails throughout the state, presented to the Legislature a memorial setting forth the condition of the insane and urging upon the members the necessity and duty of providing some means for their treatment and proper maintenance.

Acting in accordance with these suggestions, the Legislature in the spring of 1845 appointed five commissioners as follows: Jacob M.Haldeman (who served until 1848 and then withdrew), Luther Reily, Hugh Campbell, Charles B. Trego and Joseph Konigmacher, to select and purchase a tract of land for a hospital site, of not less than 100 acres, situated within ten miles of Harrisburg, and not to cost more than $10,000; to contract for the building and furnishing of a hospital that should be plain and substantial, with all modern improvements, to accommodate 250 patients; for which building the sum of $50,000 was appropriated. The hospital was to be called the Pennsylvania State Lunatic Hospital and Union Asylum for the Insane.

The commissioners not feeling authorized to enter upon their duties until further action by the Legislature, a supplementary act was passed in the spring of 1848 by which the name of the hospital was changed to Pennsylvania State Lunatic Hospital, and the names of Aaron Bombaugh, John A. Weir and James Fox were added to the list of commissioners. Fifty thousand dollars was specifically appropriated to be paid by the State Treasurer on warrants drawn by the Governor in favor of the commissioners; not more than one-third of the sum to be drawn in any one year. The Governor was to appoint nine persons to be trustees of the hospital. This act was signed by Governor F. S. Shunk April 11, 1848. In pursuance to the act of Assembly, a farm of 130 acres, situated about a mile and a half north of Harrisburg, was purchased and work commenced in the summer of 1848, according to the plan furnished by John Haviland, architect, of Philadelphia, to whom was given also the contract for the erection of the building. The corner-stone was laid by Governor Johnston April 7, 1849, and the buildings delivered to the commissioners June 19, 1851. No accommodation having been provided in the original plan for the violent and noisy classes of insane, a contract was made with Messrs. Holman & Simon, of Harrisburg, for the erection of buildings for these classes, on which work was commenced early in the summer of 1851.

On the 14th of February, 1851, the trustees appointed by the Governor in January, 1851—Luther Reily, M. D., Aaron Bombaugh, John K. Mitchell, M. D., Joseph Konigmacher, Jesse R. Burden, M. D., Hugh Campbell, M. D., Thomas S. Kirkbride, M. D., W. W. Rutherford, M. D., and E. W. Roberts, M. D.— assembled at Coverly's Hotel, Harrisburg. They elected as officers of the board: President, Luther Reily, M. D.; secretary, Aaron Bombaugh; and treasurer, John A. Weir. As the hospital was nearly finished and it was deemed necessary to have some one on the premises to attend to the final arrangements for the admission of patients, Dr. John Curwen, of Philadelphia, was elected superintendent, with a salary of $1500 per year.

The main building was so far completed as to be placed under the control of the board October 1, 1851, and after that time suitable cases were received. As the wards for the violent and noisy insane, for which appropriation was made by the Legislature, session of 1850-51, were unfinished, admissions were restricted to those who could be accommodated in a proper manner. Thirty seven patients were received by the end of the year 1851, the first one having been admitted on the 6th of October.

The officers of the hospital consisted of a superintendent, one assistant physician, a steward and a matron. The rate of board for patients supported by the public authorities was fixed at $2 per week, the remaining sum necessary for their support to be paid by a special appropriation from the State Treasury. The minimum charge for private patients was $3 per week, which it was thought would be sufficient when the hospital should be in running order.

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The hospital was composed of the central or administration building, with wings extending in a linear direction on each side, each wing so arranged that the second projection receded 20 feet behind the first; and the third 20 feet behind the second; so that both ends might be open to receive ventilation and light. The central building had three floors above the basement or ground floor, a large Tuscan portico with a flight of 20 steps to the main entrance, and was surmounted by a large dome. In the basement, three steps above the ground, were the apartments for steward and matron, the kitchens, etc. On the main floor were offices and reception rooms for visitors. On the second floor were the apartments for the superintendent, and on the third the chapel, occupying the front of the building, and to the rear of it six bedrooms. The wings immediately adjoining the central building were three stories in height, the lower story or basement containing accommodations for those employed in kitchens, etc., and for the workmen. In the second and third stories were wards for the patients; these had long corridors with rooms on either side. The second projection of each wing was of three stories and had a ward on each floor. At the point of junction of the first and second projections and raised one story above them was an infirmary. The third projection of each wing, which was composed of two stories, was for the violent and noisy patients. These projections were completed in 1852 and increased the capacity of the hospital to 300.

Eighty feet to the rear of the central structure was the building ior bakery and laundry. In the cellar of this were the boilers for generating steam for warming the hospital, etc., with room for storing 150 tons of coal. The steam coils (hung on wooden brackets) for heating were placed in air ducts which ran under the entire length of the building connected with shafts to bring in fresh air from without; this impinging on the coils became heated and passed through flues into the various parts of the building. The hospital was lighted with gas supplied by the Harrisburg Gas Company.

The experience of the first winter proved the heating and ventilating system to be insufficient and unsatisfactory. Various changes and additions to it were made each year, but without much result, until in 1871 a fan system of ventilation was installed. A building for fans and engines was erected about 200 feet in the rear of the main building; two fans were used; these, driven by engines, sent the air through arched underground passages into the air chambers under the entire length of the building, where were the steam radiators. From these chambers air was carried by flues into every room in the house. This was found to be a great improvement on the old way.

Much trouble was experienced in the early days from an insufficient water supply. In 1853 an attempt was made to furnish water from an artesian well, but after a few years this proved inadequate, and in 1856 new water works were erected, in connection with which was a sand filter bed. The water came from the stream on the grounds and the house was supplied with clear water as long as the filter bed was kept in working order. In 1883 an eight-inch well 695 feet deep was driven at the place of the old artesian well. In 1884 a well was dug near the old water works in order to supplement the supply of the artesian well. This well water was the cause of constant trouble, and dysentery and typhoid fever prevailed for a number of years, until, by sinking the artesian well to a greater depth there was a supply of artesian water sufficient for drinking purposes. In 1899 two sand filter beds of 400,000 gallons daily capacity were constructed near the creek, and pipe connection made so that either creek or artesian well water could be used at will. In time of drought this supply was insufficient, as the hospital plant was increasing in size; connection was made therefore with the city main, but the expense of the city water proved almost prohibitive. When, therefore, in 1909 the Susquehanna Water Company piped the water of Swatara Creek to the boundaries of the grounds, the hospital laid pipe connections by which they connected their water works with the chemically filtered water of this company. This water passes through the hospital sand filters and is delivered to the house with 99 per cent of the bacteria removed. The supply has proved highly satisfactory and is still in ^(1914).

From the beginning of its history Miss Dix always showed a great interest in the hospital and its inmates. She collected a fund from the citizens of Philadelphia for the benefit of the patients; with this she furnished them with a bowling alley, two buildings tor reading rooms and museums, horses and carriage, magic lanterns with slides, musical instruments, books, etc. In consideration of the great services rendered by her the board, to show its appreciation, in 1853 authorized the superintendent to receive and treat without charge any one person recommended for admission by Miss Dix. One patient recommended by her entered the hospital March 6, 1853, and remained until her death in 1895. After the death of Miss Dix the trustees of the Philadelphia fund presented the hospital with her life-size portrait; this portrait is now in the administration building of the hospital.

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A commission, provided by an act of Legislature, 1852, recommended that eight of the insane criminals in the Eastern Penitentiary be transferred to this hospital. These were received in February, 1853, but in spite of the utmost vigilance four of them escaped. They proved very undesirable for the institution and tenonstrated the necessity of some better provision for their care and safekeeping. No adequate provision was made, however, until IQI3. when the Hospital for Criminal Insane was opened at Farview.

The hospital had opened with the price of board for public patients at $2 per week. In 1854 it was raised to $2.50. In 1859 an act of Legislature enabled the hospital to collect outstanding debts from a number of the counties. In 1883 the charge was $3 per week. In 1907 it was increased from $3.75 to $4.25 per week, according to an act of Legislature by which the counties contribute $1.75 per week and the state supplies the balance ($2.50) ior the care and maintenance of each patient or as much thereof as is expended.

During the Civil War, when Camp Curtin was located near the hospital (1861-62), much assistance was rendered to the soldiers of the camp. A number of cases of sickness among the recruits which could not be cared for otherwise were received into the hospital. Thousands of pounds of beef and ham were cooked and hundreds of gallons of coffee made for the soldiers, articles for the sick were prepared and the soldiers allowed the use of bath rooms and laundry.

After the first few years of its existence the hospital suffered much inconvenience from overcrowding. In 1856 the opening of the Western Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane at Dixmont temporarily relieved the congestion. In 1861 it was found necessary for the first time to ask some of the counties to take charge of certain patients who had been sent to the hospital, or of others to whom the hospital was not likely to be of any benefit except as a home. In 1867 such was the pressure that it was necessary to give public notice that only recent cases would be received. In 1872 the opening of the hospital at Danville afforded relief, but on account of the great demand for admission it was still necessary to refuse those who had been insane for a long time. In 1880, 75 patients of the southeastern district were removed to the newly opened hospital at Norristown. In 1882-83 the population was greatly augmented by the admission of about 100 patients from the Danville Hospital, which had been destroyed by fire, and by patients from the insane departments of the Lancaster and Dauphin County almshouses, which had suffered the same fate. In 1883 the Committee on Lunacy was authorized to transfer to state hospitals the insane inmates of any of the county poorhouses wherever in its judgment they could be better cared for in the state institutions. The authors of this humane law hardly realized the magnitude of the task upon the committee. The inadequacy of the state hospitals for the custodial care of the insane at that time and for the next 20 years was not realized and the hospitals soon became overcrowded with a class of incurable inmates. They filled the wards of the hospital to the exclusion of those recent cases of insanity that could be benefited by early treatment. When the overcrowding of the hospital became so excessive that the Board of Trustees was compelled, for the protection of their patients, to decline to receive inmates, it was difficult to make provisions for their care elsewhere. Realizing this condition of affairs, the Legislature in 1891, at the suggestion of the Board of Charities, passed a law authorizing the board to re-transfer, at their discretion, any or all patients from the state hospitals to the county houses. At the same session a bill relegating the chronic insane to the county almshouses and appropriating a large sum for their care and maintenance therein was, very properly, vetoed by Governor Pattison. The unforeseen delays in the finishing of the State Asylum for the Chronic Insane compelled the State Board of Charities to avail themselves of the provisions of the law of 1891 and transfer the overplus in the hospitals to the almshouses. This relief and the closing of the doors to patients (authorized by the trustees) from February 18 to June 2, 1893, reduced the number of patients in the hospital so that they could be cared for properly. In 1894 a number of patients was transferred to the State Asylum for the Chronic Insane, but in 1895, 75 01 these patients were re-transferred from that asylum and from the county almshouses, thus again overcrowding the hospital to a dangerous extent. In 1885 the capacity of the hospital had been increased by 300 beds by the erection of two buildings (for chronic insane), and in 1901 by the completion of a building for 200 feeble patients. In 1902, on account of imperative demand for accommodation, it was decided to crowd 900 beds 1nto the hospital which was designed for the accommodation of only 600. Because of the dangers from overcrowding the trustees had persistently maintained their rights to fix the number of patients who might be safely treated in the hospital, and because they refused at times to admit patients they were severely criticised. It was thought wise therefore to submit to the Attorney General the question of the rights of the trustees in this respect. In the opinion of the Attorney General, handed down May 20, 1903, the trustees were advised that the provisions of the several acts of Assembly which govern the question " undoubtedly confer upon the trustees a right to fix the number of patients whom they may safely treat, and invest the trustees with a general discretion in the matter." Thus advised, the board decided to receive only such commitments thereafter as were ordered by the several courts. In 1906 the erection of temporary buildings for women gave some relief, as their new quarters were not yet built. In 1910, after the completion of all the wards, which provided for 1000 patients, there were 1251 patients being treated. In 1913 1378 were under treatment. Conditions were somewhat improved in this year by the removal of patients to the Hospital for Criminal Insane at Farview and the Hospital for the Insane at Rittersville, both newly opened. The opening of the Schuylkill County Hospital for the Insane caused the transfer of 186 patients in 1914, leaving the number of patients under treatment in June, 1914, 1278.

During its 63 years of existence the hospital has had but three superintendents. Dr. John Curwen was the first superintendent, and served three terms of ten years each, from February 14, 1851, to February 14, 1881. He had held a position as assistant physician in the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane in Philadelphia, from 1844 until 1849. February 14, 1851, he was elected superintendent of this hospital.

In 1881 Dr. J. Z. Gerhard, who had been assistant physician under Dr. Curwen for eleven years, was elected superintendent. At the expiration of his term in 1891 he declined to apply for reelection and entered private practice in Harrisburg. The work done during his administration, in addition to many minor improvements, consisted of the construction of a lake with an ice house 20 x 60 feet at its head; the purchase of 55 acres of land in order properly to locate two new buildings for the chronic patients, which buildings were completed in 1886; the building of a boiler house and laundry; enlargement of the barn and increase in water works. In 1891 the attendants were uniformed.

Dr. Henry L. Orth, of Harrisburg, was elected to the position made vacant by the retirement of Dr. Gerhard, taking up his duties as superintendent November 1, 1891, which position he now holds.

The hospital had opened in 1851, with a superintendent, John Curwen, M. D., and one assistant physician, William R. DeWitt. Jr., M. D. In 1855 tne trustees authorized the appointment of a second assistant physician. On the 8th of July, 1880, under the power conferred by the act of Assembly entitled, " An Act for the Better Regulation and Treatment of the Female Insane in the Asylums and Hospitals of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," approved the 4th of June, 1879, tne trustees elected Margaret A. Cleaves, M. D., of Davenport, Iowa, to have medical control of the female patients, and Jane K. Garver, M. D., to be her assistant. Dr. Cleaves served for a term of three years and declined re-election. Dr. Garver was appointed in her place September, 1883, and served in that position until her death in October, 1902. In August, 1883, because of friction between the superintendent and women physicians, the trustees passed a resolution giving the superintendent the power to employ and discharge all attendants in the hospital, and required the physician in charge of the women's wards to report to the superintendent, as did the first assistant of the men's wards. In 1903 the trustees, convinced that greater efficiency would result in the administration by placing entire direction of the medical staff upon the superintendent, amended the bylaws to effect this change. The by-laws now provide for a superintendent, who shall be a skillful physician, one first assistant male physician and three assistant physicians, two of whom shall be women.

In 1873 a contract was made by the trustees with the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company authorizing said company to construct their road through the hospital grounds, 650 feet from the nearest building. The company failed to avail themselves of the authority therein granted within five years and thus lost their right to enter in and take possession.

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In 1881-83 the original building was examined by experts to consider the advisability of introducing an improved and safe method of heating. They found that this could not be done without a total reconstruction, which would cost about as much as a new building. A joint committee, consisting of two members of the Senate and three of the House, was appointed, with the approval of the Governor, to examine and report to the House the condition of the hospital buildings and the propriety of the erection of new ones. Their report was submitted April 20, 1883, to the effect " that the buildings were defective in many particulars, were originally erected without any cellars, and although subsequent excavations had been made, they were totally without light or ventilation." In consideration of the great expense that would be required to put these buildings in proper order, they recommended that new buildings be erected at a probable cost of $500,000 *nd that the Legislature then appropriate $100,000 for the commencement of said buildings. No appropriation was made for the purpose until 1885, when $80,000 was appropriated for two buildings, one for men and one for women. These buildings were finished in 1886. They each contain accommodations for 152 patients, and are connected with the center of the plant by long corridors. On the first floor of each are two large day rooms and singk and double bed rooms; on the second are two large dormitories with a few smaller bed rooms. One-half of the basement of each building was fitted up temporarily as a dining room, and these dining rooms still continue in use.

In 1887 $45,000 was appropriated for a new boiler house, to be located near the new wards on the south side. This contained on the lower floor boiler room, coal vault, machine shop, etc., on the upper floor the laundry, and on the third floor rooms for the employees. In 1892 a $10,000 electric light plant was installed, the dynamos being placed in the boiler house.

In 1893, through the recommendation of the Board of Public Charities, the Legislature appropriated $100,000 for rebuilding the central portion of the main building. This (the administration building) was the first of a series of buildings arranged on the cottage system, the general plan being drawn up by Addison Hutton, architect, under the direction of Dr. Orth, the superintendent, to replace the buildings erected in 1850. These buildings, a description of which follows, are practically finished (in 1914) and all old buildings removed, but there is still much grading, filling in and planting to be done before the grounds are in order. Money was appropriated for new buildings by the various sessions of the

This, with appropriations for filter plant, sewage disposal plant, increased boiler capacity, tearing down of buildings, grading, furnishing and equipment of new buildings, etc., which amount to $174,500, brings the cost of the new plant to $1,145,500, exclusive of the cost of labor of patients and regular hospital employees.

The plant comprises an administration building 54 x 126 feet; eight wards, each two stories in height, two of these for convalescent patients, two for dangerous patients, two for chronic patients, two psychopathic wards; one ward one story in height for feeble men and women patients; and two buildings for nurses. The buildings are so placed as to form a quadrangle or court 800 by 1000 feet, faced west by south, with the administration building on the western front and the building for feeble and harmless patients on the east; the kitchen, assembly hall and large sun parlor in the center, connected with all the buildings by semi-subways for water, steam and electric piping, and for passage for food cars. All buildings are of fireproof construction and so planned that every room in the plant is supplied with one or more windows; electricity is used for lighting and in many cases for cooking. The food can be delivered to any ward in the house within three minutes from the kitchen. The vacuum system of heating is used and the house is thoroughly warmed by indirect radiation with one pound of steam pressure. The psychopathic wards, constructed with hydrotherapeutic and electrical apparatus and operating rooms, equipped with the latest and best instruments of precision, give facilities for examining and treating patients in accordance with modern scientific methods.

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A slight summary of the work of 24 years, from 1891 to 1914, will give an idea of the reconstruction and changes which have taken place in that time. All old buildings have been demolished, and a new hospital, fully equipped with all modern appliances for the treatment of disease, has arisen. Dysentery and typhoid fever lave been eradicated. There is a bacteriological laboratory with latest appliances, a sand filter that removes habitually 99 per cent oacterial life from the water supply, and a sewage filter with an efficiency of 88 per cent whose effluent is delivered into the Harristwg intercepting sewer. One hundred and thirty acres of land Have been added to the farm, increasing it to 420 acres; a large silo has been erected; a new pig pen built; an electric light plant of 250 kw. has taken the place of gas; new boilers of 1070 horsepower capacity have been installed; the exhaust system of heating has been introduced with satisfactory results. The cow stables have been renovated in order to give partial protection to the cows from tuberculosis. The cows are tested yearly with tuberculin. The patients have increased in numbers from 803 in 1891 to 1372 in 1914, about 70 per cent; the officers and employees from 156 to 247, about 59 per cent. At the same time the annual expenditures for officers and employees have risen from $45,899, or $59.65 per capita, to $90,644, or $71.65 per capita, an increase of but 21 per cent, while the whole per capita cost was increased 25 per cent, namely, expenditures in 1891, $139,995.52; in 1911, $267,274.90. With the increased acreage of arable land from 143 acres in 1891 to 273 acres in 1911, the farm and garden yielded products worth $57,927.34 in 1914, as compared with $12,957.99 m 1891.

Probably the most interesting event of the term was the opening of the newly completed assembly hall on Christmas Day, 1913. This hall is 90 feet in length by 60 feet in width, with a stage 40 feet by 18 feet, with necessary scenery; a gallery 50 feet by 20 feet for organ and moving-picture booth; the roof is arched, leaving the auditorium free from supporting columns. For 20 years the hospital was deprived of opportunities to hold religious services and give entertainments for the pleasure of or profit to its inmates. Occasionally religious services were held in crowded wards by members of the Harrisburg Ministerial Association, who voluntarily gave their services. Now religious services are held weekly by the representatives of the Protestant and Catholic denominations; dances, moving picture exhibitions, accompanied by interpretations of the best music, and other entertainments of various kinds.

Regular employment is furnished for the patients wherever possible. The women work in the wards, in the dining rooms and kitchen, in the laundry and sewing-room, all the clothing for the women patients being made in the hospital. The men work in the dairy, farm and garden, at the stone quarry, in grading and keeping the lawns in order; in shoe shop, butcher shop, bakery, etc.[1]

20th & 21st Century

The early 20th century was a time of great change for Harrisburg State Hospital. The Main Building had become old and was in need of replacement. Between the years 1893 and 1912 the hospital was rebuilt following the "Cottage Plan", which became popular at the beginning of the 20th century. At its peak the hospital consumed over 1,000 acres (4.0 km²) and included more than 70 buildings. Designed and constructed by Pennsylvania architects Addison Hutton and John Dempwolf the campus and buildings were meant to represent an Italianate window. The buildings on the male and female sides of the campus mirrored each other until the addition of new buildings in the 1930s.

In 1921 the name of the hospital was changed to the Harrisburg State Hospital. Also that year, the Board of Public Charities was abolished and the Department of Public Welfare was created to administer all state hospitals. With the completion of the new "Cottage Plan" buildings, the hospital had grown considerably larger. Its patient capacity was 2,019, but at one time it held as many as 2,441 with 437 on parole. The hospital was self-sufficient with its own farm, power plant, and stores; it became known as the "City on the Hill". During war time there was a 50% shortage of attendants, at the lowest level of employment there were as few as one nurse to 166 patients. In June of 1945 only 26 of the 92 authorized positions on the male side were filled. The manpower shortage resulted in widespread curtailment of services to both the public and patients.

Up until 1955 certain administrative responsibilities, such as the selection of the hospital Superintendent and the enactment of rules and regulations governing the hospital were vested in the Board of Trustees of the Harrisburg State Hospital. In 1955 an amendment to the Administrative Code authorized the Department of Public Welfare to assume administrative responsibilities for the Harrisburg State Hospital, relegating its Board of Trustees to specific advisory duties. This act also provided for the appointment of a Commissioner of Mental Health in the Department of Public Welfare who assumed overall responsibility for Pennsylvania's mental health program.

Like other institutions Harrisburg State Hospital’s patient population began to fall in the late 20th century. This was due to new medicines being developed and finally deinstitutionalization. The hospital was finally closed on January 27, 2006. Today (2008) the hospital sits on a two hundred acre campus with stately buildings in a country setting, in Dauphin County, with a majority of its campus in Susquehanna Township. There are over fifty buildings still located on the campus. The former hospital facility now provides office space for many state agencies.[2]

Movies, TV, & Books

Girl, Interrupted
In 1999 Harrisburg State Hospital was used for the hospital setting in the film, Girl, Interrupted. The majority of the film was shot in the Male Convalescent Building and the Administration Building. Other various locations in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania were also used. The Harrisburg State Hospital settings were meant to resemble those of the grounds of McLean Hospital in Massachusetts. The hospital was still an active Pennsylvania state hospital during the filming of the movie. Some of the props created for the movie still remain at the hospital today, like the "Administration" signs that still hang in the carport in front to the Administration Building.

Another Harvest Moon
In 2008 Harrisburg State Hospital was used as the setting for a movie called Another Harvest Moon. The movie was filmed in the Hilltop Building. The story is set in a retirement home where the main character has survived a stroke and is reconciling living in a new way than he's accustomed to living. (As of January 2011 this movie has not been released)

Ghost Lab
In May of 2010 the TV Series Ghost Lab filmed an episode at the hospital. The episode which was name "The Morgue" aired on the Discovery Channel on December 11, 2010.

City on the Hill
A book written by Ernest Morrison detailing the history of the hospital. The book is currently out of print, copies of the book occasionally appear on eBay.

The Physician, the Philanthropist, and the Politician
A book written by Ernest Morrison about the Pennsylvania state hospital system in general. The book has a section on HSH as well a a few photos. The book is currently out of print, copies of the book occasionally appear on eBay.

Images of Harrisburg State Hospital

Main Image Gallery: Harrisburg State Hospital

Cemetery Information

There are three known locations that were used to bury deceased patients of Harrisburg State Hospital. After the hospital opened in 1851 the Harrisburg City Cemetery was used. Later on two cemeteries were established on the hospital grounds. Detailed information can be found here

Museum Information

The Dorothea Dix Library & Museum has been closed. There are no plans to reopen it at this time. Additional information can be found here

Links & Additional Information

City on the Hill: A website dedicated to the Harrisburg State Hospital.