Insane Asylums of the United States, Canada, UK and the rest of the World

As our so-called Messina Earthquake of 1908 demonstrated, there is a high probability that the event did cause some people to go completely insane. Very similar instances were noted during the New Madrid Earthquake events of 1811-1812.

In this thread I wanted to bring up some of the most elaborate Insane Asylum Buildings constructed in the United States, and other countries. Most of these buildings were allegedly produced between 1850 and 1900, with a few built somewhat earlier. Some of them either do not exist any longer, or were remodeled.

Let us see what this discussion can lead us to. Will move the thread to a better fitting sub-forum, once the discussion direction gets established.

My three questions are:
  • Where would a country have to be (the state of civil services and economics) to afford structures like the ones below for the purposes of mental health hospitals?
    • #4 below could fit right in on the Capitol Hill in D.C.
    • #5 would look great next to the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg
  • How many mentally ill individuals did they have, and why?
  • Why the hospitals had to be so insane? Pun intended in this case, for the buildings are (were) impressive indeed.
I will start off with 5 hospitals. Add some of yours if you want. May be we could establish a pattern, and uncover something new.

1. Columbus, Ohio
The original hospital building, known as the Lunatic Asylum of Ohio, was completed in 1838. In 1868, a fire destroyed the asylum, and it was rebuilt in the Kirkbride style in 1877.
  • The hospital was closed in the late 1980s, and demolished between 1991 and 1996.

2. Napa, California
Originally named Napa Insane Asylum, the facility opened on November 15, 1875. It sat on 192 acres (0.8 km2) of property stretching from the Napa River to what is now Skyline Park. The facility was originally built to relieve overcrowding at Stockton Asylum. By the early 1890s the facility had over 1,300 patients which was over double the original capacity it was designed to house. The original main building known as "The Castle" was an ornate and imposing building constructed with bricks. Facilities on the property included a large farm that included dairy and poultry ranches, vegetable garden and fruit orchards that provided a large part of the food supply consumed by the residents.
  • Original building, c. 1900 (destroyed in 1906 earthquake)

3. Danver, Massachusetts
The Danvers State Hospital, also known as the State Lunatic Hospital at Danvers, The Danvers Lunatic Asylum, and The Danvers State Insane Asylum, was a psychiatric hospital located in Danvers, Massachusetts. It was built in 1874, and opened in 1878, under the supervision of prominent Boston architect Nathaniel Jeremiah Bradlee, on an isolated site in rural Massachusetts. It was a multi-acre, self-contained psychiatric hospital designed and built according to the Kirkbride Plan.
  • Despite being included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, the majority of the building was demolished in 2007.

4. Utica, New York
The Utica Psychiatric Center, also known as Utica State Hospital, opened in Utica on January 16, 1843. The Greek Revival structure was designed by Captain William Clarke and its construction was funded by the state and by contributions from Utica residents.
  • In 1852, Old Main's first floor stairway caught fire. Patients and staff were safely evacuated, but a firefighter and doctor were killed while trying to salvage items from the building. The entire center portion of the building was destroyed. Four days after the fire at Old Main, a barn on the asylum grounds caught fire. William Spiers, a convicted arsonist, former patient, and sporadic employee, was arrested after admitting to setting both fires because he was angry with his supervisor.


5. Morris Plains, New Jersey
Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital (also known as Greystone Psychiatric Park, Greystone Psychiatric Hospital, or simply Greystone and formerly known as the State Asylum for the Insane at Morristown, New Jersey State Hospital, Morris Plains, and Morris Plains State Hospital) referred to both the former psychiatric hospital and the historic building that it occupied in Morris Plains, New Jersey. Built in 1876, the facility was built to alleviate overcrowding at the state's only other "lunatic asylum" located in Trenton, New Jersey. Originally built to accommodate 350 people, the facility, having been expanded several times, reached a high of over 7700 patients resulting in unprecedented overcrowding conditions.
  • Despite considerable public opposition and open protest and media attention, the main Kirkbride building was demolished in a process that began in April 2014 and was completed by October 2015. However, some items of the stunning architectural details (manifesting unique Victorian motifs) and other items with symbolic and historic value were rescued from the Greystone main building prior to its controversial demolition.

KD: I think somewhere else some of these buildings would have been designated as palaces. In the US of A these things are/were called hospitals.
I think these structures were old world Tartarian. The buildings are huge with lots of antiqua-tech. Too many arches to count which act like giant horseshoe magnets. Many cupolas are used to encase many energy vortices of red mercury. The large cupolas would house even larger vortex generators. All of the antennas have been removed from the tops of the cupolas and associated gold spheres that were important for the functioning of the extraction of free energy from the electromagnetic spectrum. The palaces are surrounded by vast gardens. These structures may have been healing centers which are easy for the controllers to repurpose to asylums after they ripped off the antennas and mercurial torus. Cymatic gardens that incorporate the vibrational healing energy that this technological wonder generated could only be imagined. Food grown under the influence of positive amplified vibrations would be like eating from the tree of life directly. A giant vibrational healing center for the Tartarian masses. If the Tartarians were the 10 lost tribes of Israel then they would be hated by the rest of fallen creation and this would cause stress and illness. The people that could not heal themselves with prayer would need physical healing, thus a need for large healing centers. Either natural disasters killed the Tartarians or the controllers or both, then the controlling world dark order transformed healing centers into asylums.
Good day, the link to the New Madrid Earthquake events is no longer working. it says page not found.
Good day, the link to the New Madrid Earthquake events is no longer working. it says page not found.
Thank you. I probably did not find that particular article relevant at the time of transferring data from the SH 1.0 version of the website.
Joined the site just to talk on this subject. I used to work in what was formerly known as the Southwest Lunatic Asylum, then later known as Southwestern State Hospital and today as Southwest Virginia Mental Health Institute in Marion, VA. Specifically, I worked at the prison which shared the same grounds and housed mentally ill inmates exclusively, notwithstanding some cooks, maintenance and groundskeeping inmates. I have some first hand knowledge on the building and grounds which are very interesting as well. This building is alleged to have been built in 1886-1887.

The site is massive and I always thought the official history of the building, and town in general were strange and the prison library had some good books talking about the phases of mental-health related treatments that took place on the grounds. Today many of the wings have been knocked down in favor of brutalist styled government buildings. I believe cost of upkeep was one of the main factors quoted in that decision. The prison section was newer, built in 1913, however most doors still used large brass keys on massive rings. It is what you imagine when you imagine a prison... green mile prison.

I digress, The Warden as well as administrators in the non-criminal housing buildings were all housed in the oldest (and most grand) buildings. This hospital is still operational and originally were some of the pioneers in some pretty grotesque treatments such as frontal cortex lobotomies and insulin shock therapy. The building still housed large ice bath vats they would put patients in for testing and treatment.

One of the most intriguing facts about the grounds was an intricate a system of tunnels below the property connecting buildings so they could transport food, supplies and patients without risk of escape. One tunnel connected to the prison, but was filled with concrete soon after, once the prison population grew for obvious reasons.

Despite the atrocities committed in it's earlier years the property also worked at integrating the mentally handicapped into public works projects and seeking private employment. Some entire families lived their lives within the confines of these walls.

During my career at the prison, I was often assigned to perform the nightly check the warden's quarters as well as all of the interior rooms of these old buildings which were then used as HR, training, cadet sleeping quarters etc. Most of the outer buildings weren't part of the prison or owned by the DOC but we checked them too, nonetheless. The woodwork and craftsmanship was amazing and some of the doors to the patient rooms had to be at least 1000lbs on massive iron hinges. The walls of some of the older rooms had tudor styling wood slats for decoration. Handrails were wooden with claw carvings at each end. Some of the walls still had drawings from patients. Brings one to remember that many women gave birth while housed there. Most of the children became residents too.

Anyways, Here are some photos. Enjoy:


Notice the windows. Some appear opened, some closed, some appear busted. Note the large spire in the front.



Some of the original doctors. Note the detail in the railing and right below. Nearly every door was arched and oversized. There was a large glass table on the floor below. Soon after opening a patient plunged to her death onto the glass table believing it to be water. Nobody could convince her otherwise before she leapt.




Patient family, half-buried windows on a newly built building.


Front Photo, The far left building was the warden's quarters.


Rear entrance to building​

Postcard showing the building still had its spire, unknown year, stamp was 1 cent.



And today, with a new façade and missing its spire and many of the original buildings. Even more are missing since I left:

Also, to add to my last post, heres some info on the first superintendent of Southwest Lunatic Asylum.

Harvey Black 1827-1888 (died one year after founding), a native of Blacksburg and grandson of town founder John Black, was the institution’s first superintendent. During the Civil War Harvey Black served as regimental surgeon for the Stonewall Brigade, and he assisted with the amputation of Stonewall Jackson's arm on May 3, 1863. Prior to his arrival in Marion, Black had been Superintendent of the Eastern Lunatic Asylum in Williamsburg and served in the Virginia House of Delegates. The asylum’s facilities were enlarged in 1908, 1930 and 1935, when the name was changed to Southwestern State Hospital.
Last edited:

Built in 1876, the facility was built to alleviate overcrowding at the state's only other "lunatic asylum" located in Trenton, New Jersey.

Here it is! The only other "lunatic asylum" located in Trenton, NJ.

Founded by Dorothea Lynde Dix on May 15, 1848, it was the first public mental hospital in the state of New Jersey, and the first mental hospital designed on the principle of the Kirkbride Plan. The architect was the Scottish-American John Notman. (Wiki)
Don’t forget Western State Hospital in Steilacoom, WA. @KorbenDallas I’d be surprised if you’re not familiar with this one.



Opened in 1871 I believe. Unnecessarily ornate in my opinion. Accompanied by Eastern State near Yakima and Northern State in Sedro Woolley.
Don’t forget Western State Hospital in Steilacoom, WA. @KorbenDallas I’d be surprised if you’re not familiar with this one.
I actually went there trying to find it. Apparently the old one does not exist any longer. There is a cemetery in the vicinity, with very interesting gravestones belonging to the former residents. The new facility (whatever it's purpose is today) has some older, interesting looking buildings in the back, with some questionable design solutions. I did take some photographs, but it was like 5 years ago, so I have no idea where those are at.
My wife’s aunt used to work there, and my wife has childhood memories of the building when it was completely covered in ivy. That was decades ago though.

Similar articles