The Kirbride buildings founded by Dr Thomas Story Kirkbride from the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane (AMSAII). He wanted better methods and treatments for the mentally ill in the 19th century. He had a special construction designs for these asylums in mind. They were referred as the Kirkbride Plan. He believed that the mentally ill are human beings like everybody else who also have the ability to contribute to the world and integrate with the community..
An excerpt from the history section about Dr. Kirkbride's plans ( I hope I am not committing a plagiarism here): "Dr. Kirkbride envisioned an asylum with a central administration building flanked by two wings comprised of tiered wards. This "linear plan" facilitated a hierarchical segregation of residents according to sex and symptoms of illness. Male patients were housed in one wing, female patients in the other. Each wing was sub-divided by ward with the more "excited" patients placed on the lower floors, farthest from the central administrative structure, and the better-behaved, more rational patients situated in the upper floors and closer to the administrative center. Ideally, this arrangement would make patients' asylum experience more comfortable and productive by isolating them from other patients with illnesses antagonistic to their own while still allowing fresh air, natural light, and views of the asylum grounds from all sides of each ward."
The reading is great. There is more fascinating information to learn about. The text is easy read and fluid. The pictures are good too, but beware, it might be disturbing for some people. They pictures are basically of the exterior and interior of these buildings who are no longer in use. There were a few that were closed in early 21st century. The over population and lack of space, has contributed to the decline of these hospital. The original values and goals were no longer employed. They were no longer part of Dr. Kirkbride vision of the ideal asylum for the mentally ill. Some of these asylum no longer exist. They were either demolished or are neglected. These buildings are good looking. Some of them don't even look like hospitals.
Be sure to click on the small hospital photographs on the "Buildings" page to see more exterior and interior photographs of the hospital.
November 2, 2009