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Peoria State Hospital
Description of Peoria State Hospital
Location: Ricketts Ave and US 24, Bartonville, IL
Peoria State Hospital also known as Illinois Asylum for the Incurable
Insane or Bartonville State Hospital is situated in Bartonville,
Illinois. Peoria State Hospital was constructed in
1895-1910. It was closed in 1972 and have been abandoned since then.
Peoria State Hospital was founded as a result of the Illinois
General Assembly's orders for the establishment of the Illinois
Asylum for the Incurable Insane in 1895. At the time it was a
revolutionary and humane way to approach patients with mental
conditions. In response to the legislation, then Governor John
Altgeld appointed a three-person commission charged with site
selection. The commission president was John Finely, a Peorian, and
one of the members was J.J. McAndrews of Chicago who later served in
the U.S. House of Representatives as a Congressman. The commission
selected the site near Peoria, in Bartonville.
of Peoria State Hospital started in 1895 with the main building
finished in 1897. This building was never used, however, as its
structural integrity was compromised by abandoned mine shafts on the
property. Other theory stated that the views on mental facilities
have changed and the main building of the Peoria State Hospital was
simply unsuitable for the purpose of curing patients.
1902, reconstruction was completed under the direction of Dr. George
Zeller as a cottage system plan of 33 buildings. Among the buildings
were patient and caretaker housing, a store, a power station, and a
communal utility building. In a sense, it was an autonomous city
within a city.
The Illinois Hospital for the Incurable Insane
began operations on February 10, 1902 and patients characterized as
"incurable" were transferred to Bartonville from other Illinois
facilities. In 1906 the hospital opened a training school for
nurses. From 1907 to 1909 the complex was known as an Illinois
General Hospital for the Insane and, in 1909 it changed its name to
Peoria State Hospital. This same year, the offices of Board of
Commissioners and Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities
were abolished and all state-run charitable institutions were
administered by the Board of Administration.
At its peak in
the 1950s Peoria State Hospital housed 2800 patients. But in 1972
its doors were finally closed.