San Juan Asylum

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San Juan Asylum
Opened 1854
Closed 1898
Current Status Preserved
Building Style Single Building
Location San Juan, PR
Alternate Names * Colonial Hospital


The San Juan Asylum was built in 1854 on the furthest tip of the San Juan peninsula in Puerto Rico. The signature red dome on the roof and pillared front entrance were constructed to fit the style of the time. The twin courtyards contained sprawling gardens with fountains, contrasting the beaches of the remainder of the land on the peninsula. The asylum was constructed directly across from the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a 16th century fortress built by King Charles V of Spain to protect the city of San Juan.

After the US invasion of San Juan in 1898, the Asylum was converted into the Fort Brooke Military Reservation Army Barracks. This facility operated under the Department of the Army and included several buildings including fort San Filipe del Morro.

By 1949, the site was established as historic by the San Juan National Historic Registry, but the buildings remained property of the army until 1961. In 1965, the historic site was converted into the Puerto Rican Academy of Fine Arts. Many of the structures surrounding the asylum and the fort remained vacant, abandoned, and deteriorating until 1992, when they were restored for the celebration of the Quincentennial of the Discovery of America. [1]

Images of San Juan Asylum[edit]

Main Image Gallery: San Juan Asylum


  1. Orlando Mergal. Puerto Rico by GPS. Accessed November 19th 2013.


The Insane Asylum of Porto Rico, by F. R. Goenaga. Proceedings of the National Conference of Charities and Correction, at the Twenty-Ninth Annual Session held in the city of Detroit, May 28-June 3, 1902. pp. 182-185. Full text in the Internet Archive Full text in HathiTrust Full text in Google Books