Insane Asylum: Boston Psychopathic Hospital


Boston Psychopathic Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Built: 1909
Operation Time: 1912 – 2003
Type: Not Kirkbride Plan
Status: Demolished

History

The Boston Psychopathic Hospital, also known as the “Massachusetts Mental Health Center”, was built on a piece of land near Fenwood Road in November, 1909. The location was only five minutes away from the Harvard Medical School, where the psychiatrists were being tought. Appointed in 1910, Dr. Elmer Ernest Southard was to be the director of the hospital as well as the supervisor of its construction. The asylum opened on June 24th, 1912 as the Boston State Hospital.

On May 1st, 1919, the Massachusetts State Psychiatric Institute split away from the Psychopathic Department of the Boston State Hospital. Now, the asylum was merely for hospital function with no scientific research. The hospital converted to a psychopathic hospital on December 1st, 1920, leaving all other mental ill patients to find other hospitals, a decision made by Dr. C. Macfie Campbell. The hospital was later retitled the Massachusetts Mental Health Center.

Many patients that came to the Massachusetts Mental Health Center were either assigned to stay or to go to another hospital, based on the psychiatrist’s diagnosis Those who suffered from psychopathy at other asylums were oftentimes transferred to the hospital for observation or special treatment.

Children and teens were often sent to the mental hospital for diagnosing. During the mid-1940s, the hospital’s outpatient department was renamed “Southard Clinic” in honor of the first superintendent of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center. By 1943, the hospital was no longer accepting patients, and focused on treating and researching various illnesses.

Treatment became the main concern, and the experimentation on patients is what most likely caused the hospital’s haunting. The facility became more community-based in the 1950s and 60s. The Boston Psychopathic Hospital closed its doors in 2003, and its staff and patients were transferred to the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Research programs were moved to the Landmark Center in Boston. Initially, staff hoped to return to the site by 2012 and reopen it, but it was later demolished.

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