Western State Mental Hospital

The Western Mental Health Institute is a historic insane asylum located in the small town of Bolivar, about 60 miles east of Memphis. The asylum was the last of Tennessee’s three major mental hospitals built in the Victorian era, constructed in 1886-1889, and the only one to remain in operation. The administration building is one of the most significant examples of Gothic Revival institutional architecture remaining in Tennessee. It was the last state mental hospital constructed and habitually the one least funded.

The architects of Western State were Harry Peake McDonald and Kenneth McDonald, brothers who practiced together in Louisville, Kentucky. Harry P. McDonald formed the firm in 1880 with his brothers, Donald and Kenneth. A Confederate veteran from Virginia, Harry graduated with a degree in civil engineering from Washington and Lee University in 1869 before relocating to Louisville in the 1870s. Western State was their first commission in Tennessee. The McDonald Brothers opened a branch office in Memphis in 1887 and won commissions across the state, including the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church (1888) at McKenzie; the Tipton County Courthouse (1890) at Covington; Union Depot (1893) at Memphis; and the Sevier County Courthouse (1895) at Sevierville. The firm had previously designed the Southwestern Lunatic Asylum (1885-1889) in Marion, Virginia. The McDonalds based the design of Western State on the Kirkbride Plan, a standardized method of asylum construction and mental health treatment advocated by Philadelphia psychiatrist Thomas Story Kirkbride.

Mental Asylum
Western State Mental Hospital, circa 1900

Unique architectural elements of the Kirkbride asylums include long wings arranged in a staggered, tiered plan so that each connected building had sufficient sunlight and fresh air as well as privacy for the patients and a view of the grounds. Male and female patients were housed in separate wings, separated by a central administrative core with offices, support facilities, and staff apartments. Each wing was subdivided into wards separated by polygonal stair towers. As part of the treatment method, asylums on the Kirkbride Plan were often placed in secluded sites with expansive grounds, landscaped gardens, and farmland that were largely self-sufficient. At Bolivar, the state’s site commissioners selected a rural hilltop farm west of downtown. Construction of the $250,000 four-story facility included rooms for 300-350 patients. Officially opening on November 22, 1889, the asylum accepted 156 patients from an overcrowded Nashville institution.

In 1892, 319 patients were living at the mental hospital. Tennessee’s segregationist policies were manifest at Bolivar in the separate, two-story “Negro Ward” the state built for African American patients in 1895-1896, later expanded in 1913 with a dormitory for African American staff members. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Negro Ward was enlarged with separate buildings for administration, laundry, and receiving patients. In 1948, the original hospital building from 1895-1913 was demolished and replaced with a three-story, mid-century modern building called Luton Hall.

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Like most other Kirkbride Plan asylums, Western State was built in the Gothic Revival style and characterized by steeply pitched hipped and polygonal roofs, corbelled brick cornices with molded brick eaves, ornamental stone water tables, jerkinhead dormers, arched windows, and a one-story porte-cochere entrance with pointed arch openings. The interior features multi-colored tiled floors, vaulted ceilings, pressed tin ceilings, a turned wood stair, and a marble builder’s plaque. In 1910, the building’s male wing was expanded, and in 1927 a new, two-story dining wing and auditorium were built at the rear.

By 1900, the hospital was overcrowded with 594 patients. The system for securing financing for patient care limited the operating budget. In Tennessee, there were three classes of patients: the state-pay patients, the county-pay patients, and the private-pay patients. State agencies agreed to pay for 1 patient out of a population of 1000. Once this portion of the payment had been satisfied, the county was responsible for additional costs. The county payments were consistently behind, and superintendents had to engage in deficit spending to keep the hospital operating. The two most influential superintendents, Dr. Edwin Cocke and Dr. Edwin Levy often faced political pressure from state officials, but both managed to make some improvements in care offered at Western State.

During the 1920s and 1930s, patient therapy tended to be highly eclectic. Patients at Western State received the treatments available in their period of institutionalization. Dr. Edwin W. Cocke began working at the hospital in 1914 as an assistant doctor, eventually becoming a supervisor in 1918. He was the author of a 1919 Tennessee State Law that dealt with the legal aspects of psychiatric treatment and a co-producer of the first diathermy to produce artificial fever treating syphilis of the brain. These new treatments included fever therapy, prefrontal lobotomies, Metrazol injections, and insulin shock therapy, while still relying on occupational therapy.

During Cocke’s tenure, the facility was renamed Western State Hospital, and the hospital received acceptance from the AMA and American College of Surgeons. As a result of this growth, Cocke was responsible for several new buildings, including one for tuberculosis patients, Winston Hall, the Polk Building, the Doctors Apartment Building, a cottage, and the purchase of 235 acres of land. During his tenure, a telephone system was installed, a modern operating room was opened, x-ray equipment was purchased, and the kitchen was modernized. In addition, a dietitian and a dentist were hired. Dr. Cocke served dual roles as the Commissioner of the Department of Institutions and supervisor of Western State from 1933 to 1936, resigning to enter into private practice. Dr. Edwin Cocke served the longest term of any superintendent at the hospital.

The emphasis on treatment was not on care and custody, but on medical and empirical research and experimentation. Many patients were crowded into large dormitories and had little privacy. With a limited number of doctors and attendants and a large patient population, many patients were simply “warehoused.” With the severe staff limitations, patients were fortunate to receive 10 minutes per week with a psychiatrist. As doctors relied on new therapies, the architectural concerns for mental institutions changed. This change is seen in the Polk Building, originally known as the Psychopathic Hospital which opened in 1932. The classically influenced brick building was designed to hold 400 beds. The architect of the Polk Building is Wyatt C. Hedrick, who designed the Sterick Building in Memphis. Although it is a monumental structure, the building does not follow the Kirkbride Plan.

Western State Mental Hospital
The Polk Building opened in 1932 with eight wards. In 1942, an annex was added to the rear which created another eight wards for women and adolescents.

One of the darkest stories about Western State is the institution’s connection to Georgia Tann, who operated the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. Tann, with her political connections in the Tennessee General Assembly and the local Shelby County political head, Edmond Crump, and Shelby County Family Court Judge, Camille Kelley, operated a black-market baby adoption agency that became a nationally recognized organization that would later become a national scandal. Tann began at the Mississippi Children’s Home Funding Society around 1920 and initially placed orphans for adoption but quickly realized she could charge hefty adoption fees placing children who had been kidnapped from poor women. In 1924, she started working at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society where she turned part-time baby snatching into a highly profitable business. Tann sold babies to adopting parents throughout America, including movie stars in Hollywood. She charged wealthy clients up to today’s equivalent of $100,000. Actresses Lana Turner and Joan Crawford adopted children through the agency. June Allison and her husband, Dick Powell, also adopted a child from Tann. Professional wrestler Ric Flair, in his autobiography, claimed that he had been illegally taken from his natural mother and sold through the agency to his adoptive parents.

Mental Asylum
Beulah “Georgia” Tann 1891-1950

Tann would falsify background records and place children for adoption for as little as $7 in Tennessee. Out-of-state adoptions, which most were, cost upwards of $5000. Tann allegedly made millions from the sale of babies and was chauffeured around in a Packard or Cadillac automobile, dressed in expensive clothes. One of Tann’s sources for children was women at Western State. It is rumored that babies were taken from women in the wards. Young patients were raped and forced to have sex with each other or for money with security guards and local residents. For nearly 30 years, all of the babies that were born at Western State were sent to Georgia Tann’s adoption agency.

Children were sold throughout the United States, Britain, and other countries as underage farmhands. Tann had an established channel for transporting children to England. Reports of the children being enslaved, beaten, or raped by pedophiles were widespread. Unfortunately, Tann’s phony credibility allowed her to be praised in the national press as “the foremost authority on its adoption laws.” Even in 1941, when the Society lost its national endorsement from the Child Welfare League of America because it practiced destroying adoption records, Tann remained in business through her political connections with the Tennessee Legislature.

Children at her Memphis orphanage were starved, beaten, and abused. During four months in 1945, 40-50 children died while in her care, prompting an investigation by authorities. The Tennessee Children’s Home Society was closed in 1950. Georgia Tann died from cancer that same year before the circumstances of the scandal were fully disclosed to the public. An investigation of the Society initiated by Gov. Gordon Browning implicated Judge Camille Kelly and Tann. Kelley was never prosecuted, although she lived a lifestyle well beyond the salary of a Family Court Judicial Officer. However, she did resign shortly after the release of the report. In 1966, Tennessee instituted adoption laws that allowed adopted adults to search any remaining records to locate their parents.

Patients at Western State were free to roam the grounds until the 1980s. It was not uncommon for someone to escape, or simply go missing by walking off the property. Oftentimes, the escapee would be located by security or police and brought back, although, there are instances when people disappeared and were never heard from again. Many of the patients that died at Western State are buried in several cemeteries scattered throughout the campus. Many of the early records of admission and death certificates are said to be long gone. The institution will tell you they destroy records older than 20 years, however, some patient records have been discovered inside the abandoned buildings on the property.

The Gothic Revival administration building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 as part of the Western State Mental Hospital Historic District. The following year, the state demolished the three-story east and west patient wings of the building, leaving only the original four-story central tower and 1927 two-story rear wing. In 2008, the state demolished several other historic buildings, including the 1927 Physicians Apartment Building and two 1920s-era staff houses to construct a modern state-of-the-art $58.5 million psychiatric hospital, which opened in 2010.

The advent of modern psychotropic medications and outlawing unpaid patient labor helped dwindle the overcrowding at Western State. Antidepressants as well as new psychiatric drugs made it more feasible to release people back into the community. Today, Western State serves around 2,500 patients across 24 counties, although only 250-300 of them reside on campus. Many of the historic buildings remain vacant and in disrepair. With a staff of 650 and an annual budget of approximately $35 million, Western State is the largest employer in Hardeman County.

Western State Mental Hospital
All types of patients were housed here, ranging from violent murderers and rapists to individuals suffering from mental disorders.
Western State Mental Hospital
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The most dangerous patients were housed in isolation rooms behind double doors.
Western State Mental Hospital
Western State Mental Hospital
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Western State Mental Hospital
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A child restraint chair left behind inside the adolescent ward of the Polk Building.
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A shattered Freddy Krueger Nightmare on Elm Street pinball machine in a dayroom.
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Many individuals were admitted for legitimate and illegitimate mental conditions.
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Western State Mental Hospital
Some patients were forced to sleep far away from everyone in the attic.
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Another attic room that was once occupied by a patient.
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Shelves of patient luggage remain inside the attic of the institution. Belongings would be confiscated upon arrival.
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Mental Asylum

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69 comments

    1. I wish the article had included that the hospital is now a fully accredited me the health facility that serves over 20 counties in that area.
      Unfortunately what occurred in the facility when it opened was how people suffering with mental illness were treated. Tenn undertook the responsibility to improve care.
      I read one comment to the story where someone was looking for help. I believe our country underserves those in need of psychiatric care and access is not easy. Maybe if the article concluded in a better light, the person who wrote the comment could have realized they could have sought care there.
      Thank you

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      1. So true.had an aunt there in the 60’s that “committed suicide” not sure what happened but my mother never believed she killed herself. Have had several family members and co-worker in recent years that received care there a nvm D I truly bcc believe that is what saved their lives

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    1. I have been to this mental hospital to make a Youtube video on it. I went during the day and I still get chills just thinking about it

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      1. I bet it did give you the creeps. They run the place totally unethic and illegally. They treat you like it 1950 and do nothing to help their patients. It has a bad reputation. I noticed they only house 250 patients but have 600 employees. Talk about a waste of money. Overstaffed and totally illegal pratices. It’s creepy considered it was built for the wrong reasons. Many slaved mixed babies were born there and died there. Considering the connection with the horrible things done to people and their still outdated methods, I can’t believe they are still open. My ex was very abusive and tried to make it my punishment for his affairs. I always felt it needed to be shut down years ago or the staff retrained. I’m not from here but I do know wrong when I see it. I’m educated and never deserved to be abused like I have been. They certainly are behind the times around here. There were mixed slave babies brought there and died there. Nothing was wrong with children. They just weren’t wanted. I hear it was built over a sacrate Indian burial ground. The story just gets creepier. I’m sure it’s haunted. But not all bad spirits just those abanded there to a life of domb. It’s very sad excuse that their doors are still open. It was built for evil reasons and mad scientist kind of methods. Yuck…

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  1. I was housed in the children ward at the time it was Timber Springs. I was placed in and out of this facility from 1992-1995. It is amazing to see what it looks like so many years later. During my stay at one point there was a boy of the age of 4 that was sent there. There are mNy sad stories from the years I was there.
    Thanks for the documentary

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was hospitalized in this hospital in 1979. I was a volunteer patient I was bought there by three family members. While I was there a male patient climbed on the roof across the court yard and committed suicide. Patients in the sitting room could see could see him jump. what was so awful and eerie is that there was a gargoyle figurine very close to where he jumped jumped from,never L was well cared for. That place looked just like the pictures shown, and was as eerie then as it is now.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. May have to visit Mexico for help, as US doens’t seem to have any places remaining for “walk in” admittance anymore.

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  3. My great grandmother died at Western State Hospital in Bolivar, Tennessee in 1935. She died of a heart attack, but suffered from Manic Depression psychosis for at least 25 years (this information was on her death certificate. She resided there for almost 20 years until her death. It makes me so sad to think of her being there for so long, and then dying there. The family took her body and buried her in a different cemetery. She was 82 when she died.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, my great grandmother has nearly the exact same story. Mine lived there about 3 years I think. She had a similar disability, but not sure exactly what it was called. Mine died in 1932. Our great grandmothers could have very well met. I agree, it is saddening to think about our family livin in these types of places. When she died, she was took to Dyersburg, TN, to be buried with her husband, and eventually, her children.

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    2. Karen, It is by chance that I ran across this site and postings. I was looking to see if I could find information about the cemetery associated with the hospital. You see, my maternal great grandmother’s story is exactly like yours. I was attempting to find where she was buried. Could we be 2nd cousins? I have an Ancestry.com family tree using my full name. If you have an account you can contact me in the messages. My mother’s maiden name is Bradley. What do you think?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So…I randomly stumbled upon this story on pinterest. This is very interesting! I don’t even live in this part of the country and now I am wanting to know more info lol. I am from Eastern Washington state. This is just very interesting. I hope you all find what you are looking for. Good luck on finding out your family history. I want to find out more about mine. Happy holidays!

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    3. My fraternal grandmother was a patient at Western State for about 20 years. Same story as yours. She was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic. He had a lobotomy at one point. Never the same. My daughter is a psyc nurse & we are going
      Up there to research my grandmothers records. Whole thing is so sad.

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      1. Hi, I’m interested in your research at Western State Hospital. Have you been able to find any record of your grandmother? I inquired some time ago about records for the period 1930-1960 and was told there are none. Perhaps you have had better luck?

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      2. Sorry was looking for autopsy report
        Contacted someone at state office and was told those records would have been kept by the hospital there and most of them were lost years ago
        I have not actually been to the site

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      3. My great-great grandmother died there in 1935 – general paralysis of the insane, psychosis with syphilitic meningo-encephalitis on June 17, 1935 – I would love to find her records

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    4. My great grandfather died there….spent the last five years of his life there. Death certificate didn’t mention any mental illness, but certainly he must’ve been to have been there. He died in the 1930’s as well.

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    5. Karen, that is a sad story! I was drawn to your story because my great grandmother died at Central State in Nashville. She died from pulmonary tuberculosis in 1945 at the age of 42. She was also listed as also having Manic/Depressive Psychosis for 8 years. It makes me wonder if the staff even took the time to properly do intakes, although I already know the answer to that. It would be interesting to know how many individuals were also diagnosed as having Manic Depression, as it would be easy to use as a “blanket diagnoses”.

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    6. Karen, Thank you for your story. My Great Grandfather died there close to the same time… did you get this information from the facility… or did your family have it already?

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  4. I’m looking for information on J.P. Wooten from Jackson, Madison County, TN, who was admitted to the Nashville Lunatic Asylum in Dec 1886. He might have been transferred to Bolivar when it opened. His wife was poisoned in August 1886 and he participated in the lynching of Eliza Woods who was believed to have been the poisoner. Are there any records available?

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    1. I don’t have any information on this specifically, but I’m extremely interested as my great-grandmother was a Wooten and had a large family. I live in Nashville but am originally from Cannon County.

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      1. I have not been able to find any information on the Wooten family that lived in Jackson, TN, except what I’ve found on the poisoning of Mary Chandler Wooten, J.P. Wooten’s wife. I also found that J.P. Wooten was declared insane about 3 months after the lynching of Eliza Woods, who was accused of poisoning Mary. The City Court records indicate that his father was going to pay for his transportation and his stay at the asylum, but it does not include his name. J.P. Wooten was transported to the insane asylum in Nashville and the records show that the city paid for his transportation there. After that I can’t find any more information about J.P. Wooten. I found the grave sites for Mary Chandler Wooten and her baby, Mary, who died at 18 months in 1885. Interestingly, the last name is misspelled (Wooton instead of Wooten), and the grave stones look too new to have been placed there in 1886. Another mystery to work on!

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      2. My ancestors also had their last name misspelled “Wooten” frequently. That’s an extremely interesting story. I’ll do some more research. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a distant relative.

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      3. Did you say that part of the building is still being used. I had an uncle there for a short period of time in the early 60s!

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    1. I’m looking forward to hearing about anything you discover. The story of Eliza Woods and J.P. Wooten has me mesmerized!

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  5. Cuttinup38261@yahoo.com I would love to know if tours are done visits can be made with love to see the building old and new and the cemetery I’ll even give you my phone number 731-223-1105 I from Union City Tennessee and was adopted would love to know more about this thanks so much for posting all the information and comments Keegan City Tennessee 38261

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  6. My mother was there from around October 1960 to 1967…She had postpartum, but they did not know that back then. So sad she did not get the help, and what she went through at this place was torture for her. I wish someone would have helped her back then. She got out 1 year in 1967, and had a decent year with her family, but died in 1968 with Asthma untreated incorrect by a doctor in Nashville.

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  7. Ms. K. Sutton, I was hoping you ha replied to my comments about our great grandmothers. They sound like the same person. Her name was Avery Bradley. We might share ancestry information. Hope you look back at this site again and see this comment.

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  8. My mother’s mom died here. Family would not tell what happened and I don’t know how to find out. Are there still records from 1940s. I feel I need to know what happened. She died when my mom was only four leaving her oldest daughter of 14 to raise the other five children. Any thoughts on how to locate records would be appreciated. Thank you.

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    1. If your mother died at Western State then there will be a death certicicate with the State of Tennessee and probably filed in Hardin County. My GR GM died there in 1935 and I have a copy of hers. It will give cause of death . Also it may give the condition for why she was there. If she was there at the time of a Census you can search Census records and find her listed. I’m using Ancestry.com for my searches. Good Luck.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I made a mistake….The County name is Hardeman County for Western State in Bolivar, TN. SORRY for the error.

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  10. Great story..I live in the town so I know how creepy it is..I’ve looked in the Windows and felt ill…but I love it…by the way..who is the guy standing at the end of the hall..in the holding cell shot? Creepy man…lol…

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  11. Maybe not a cover up fix like some meds….but they sure didnt need the torture that they were forced 2 endure…..and ive read bout that tann women before,but ib article i read they failed 2 say she,sold kids and babies to pedophiles….that which needed hanging….there was a place like this on staten island n.y.and the horrors that these people had 2 endure were of another world…a mixed couple white women and black man lived their as kids….they married both had been deemed challanged,but werent …..they had a child (very smart one)he taught them 2 read and write….and go around the world speaking out bout things and places like this….it was a great movie….i hope all of u that were at this place r ok and doing well…

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  12. My fraternal grandmother was here for a few years in the early 60’s. She suffered from dementia/altzheimers. she was non violent, just confused. My uncle went to visit her and immediately took her out of the facility. Her final years were tough as she seldom could carry on regular activities but she was no longer housed with truly insane inmates and could enjoy minor comforts not available at Bolivar.

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  13. My grandmother, Ida Mae Sullivan Inman, worked there in the 1920s. After my grandfather died in 1926, my great-grandfather Robert Broadfield Sullivan, a respected Memphis optician, evicted her and her two little girls, saying that “it didn’t look right” for a woman to be living without a man but with two children. (Translation: She had to be a prostitute.) Grandma and her two girls found housing in a rooming house, but she was desperate for a job and had no skills, having been raised in a sheltered lace-curtain Irish setting in Memphis and sent to an exclusive all-girls Catholic school. Her skills were in needlework and other ladylike domestic arts. Ida Mae went to her schoolgirl friend, Laura Baker, aka “Queenie,” to see if she could get a job at the Memphis State Institute for the Criminally Insane, because Queenie was married to a Dr. Baker, who was the director there. Dr. Baker said that he’d be glad to give Ida Mae a job, but all employees were required to live on the grounds, and no children were allowed. So my mother had to be shipped off to live with the Inman relatives in Knoxville. This was so traumatic in so many ways for both my grandmother and my mother. Both were grieving over the death of my grandfather. There is much more to the story but this is all I can bear to report at this point. I would love to verify that a Dr. Baker ever worked there as medical director.

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    1. And now that I’ve read somewhere in this thread that Western State Hospital wasn’t opened until 1931, I see that it’s very unlikely that this is the place my Nanny worked. I’m leaving my OP up so that people can still read it. You never know …

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  14. My grandmother worked there for years as a dietitian. I remember my dad played softball in them ball field behind the building, and I remember some of the patients coming out to sit and watch the games, and sometimes steal food from people. I’ve only been inside the building once, as a child. Scared me so bad!

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  15. Who owns this property now? How can I get in touch with the owner? Is there a way I could tour the building? I would love to be able to explore every room!
    So many questions, I know, but I’ve been looking to buy a place like this to take care of and open to the public for tours, etc…
    Please, anyone with any information, contact me at jeffacre@yahoo.com

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    1. This facility is still owned by the state of Tennessee. I’ve inquired about getting rights to explore the grounds and they never budge. I even work for them now and they won’t let me

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  16. My grand uncle Elmer was placed here by his second wife when he was about 87. He was a kind, intelligent, hard working carpenter / construction contractor who was never out of work. He was my grandfather’s best friend as well as brother. He did not suffer from mental illness. Perhaps he developed dementia by 87 but what a sad end to a well lived life. His death certificate states that he died there from pneumonia in 1961 and lists no other contributing problems. Are past medical records available to family members?

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  17. Hello another family member looking up information about the facility. My maternal great-grandfather spent the last years of his life there after my great-grandmother, great-aunts, and grandmother could no longer manage his care in home. We only know it was following financial setbacks for the ranch our family owned/worked in Weakley County and have speculated it could have been either depression or the early stages of dementia. What a relief to find this site and treating the topic with respect and care instead of the usual of ruin porn and ghost hunting nonsense.

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  18. Were there family housing units here in the 1930’s? My ancestory list shows that my great-grandfather lived here with his wife and their daughter

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  19. hi reading these comments my heart goes out to you all. please keep in mind when considering your family members …… there s no telling if these people were even truly mentally ill at all . its hard to think but one cannot use todays standards in conjunction with any kind of mental illness and help back then . for example having dementia at 87 yrs old would certainly not be considered as lunacy as it was back then .. and who knows what symptoms were considered “depressive” back then . just cuz your family member may have been there doesnt necessarily mean they were mentally ill at all.

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  20. I have been reading all of your comments. SO, is there a way to obtain records for a patient (my grandmother) who was there in the 1960’s.

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  21. for those looking for records, they can be found in the old building. there are tons of folders still on the shelves in there with everything you want to know

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    1. Just a warning. I will tell you, that if caught on the property they will call the police department and have you charged with criminal trespassing. Since it is State property which makes it private property. There is security watching 24/7. The files are being destroyed.

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    2. Would you go look for some info on my birth, my grandmother worked there, admin, and I’ve always had this feeling that my parents strong armed her in a top secret Linda way, I don’t know how to explain it. Then the Tann woman that sold children, any idea who drove the black Cadillac she was chauffeured in? I have a disgusting feeling that was my grandfather. Hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it. I don’t think that my parents are who they say they are, like identity theft and fraud through paperwork. My siblings both have extreme epilepsy, well, the people I thought were my parents, their children. I’ve always felt like I was kidnapped, my family, hard to not identify them as family, repeatedly makes me feel like I’m trash simply thrown away. My step papa was a nurse there, I believe all three of his daughters worked there and my grandmother worked there.
      Please, someone, help me connect the dots to it all.
      601-770-4788

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  22. Hi I’m looking fpr records on mary Louise Payne. She was born on may 18 1918 and died June 28 1978. She was sent there when she was 13 or 15 she also was deaf .I wanted to know why she was sent there and never left till she pass away in june28 1978. The story that my father told us went much but that she was at a public pool and back then they usedto use the pool bathing suits. When she was done swimming she went to change out of her bathing suit her clohes was gone . Now she has no clothes on and they said she r
    Tried to walk home naked the police stop her and back the. They couldn’t understand her because she was deaf .I guess she showed them where she lives and my grandfather told the police he doesn’t want her and to send her away to a metal hospital. Now hearing this breaks my heart I really need to find her records my father and the rest of the family has passed away I have nobody to.find out the whole story on her .I hope somebody can help.me thank u

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    1. [X]

      [X]

      https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/176670163/mary-louise-payne?_gl=1*1dist44*_ga*MTU1MjY2MDAwMS4xNjQ1NzM1NjE3*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTY2MjMzNjc5Ny43NS4xLjE2NjIzMzc5MjUuMC4wLjA. [https://images.findagrave.com/photos250/photos/2017/54/176670163_1487958448.jpg]https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/176670163/mary-louise-payne?_gl=1*1dist44*_ga*MTU1MjY2MDAwMS4xNjQ1NzM1NjE3*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTY2MjMzNjc5Ny43NS4xLjE2NjIzMzc5MjUuMC4wLjA. Mary Louise Payne (1918-1978) – Find a Grave…https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/176670163/mary-louise-payne?_gl=1*1dist44*_ga*MTU1MjY2MDAwMS4xNjQ1NzM1NjE3*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTY2MjMzNjc5Ny43NS4xLjE2NjIzMzc5MjUuMC4wLjA. Born in 18 May 1918 and died in 28 Jun 1978 Memphis, Tennessee Mary Louise Payne http://www.findagrave.com

      Here is your person listed at Western State Hospital in the 1950 and 1940 Census, that I looked up on my Ancestry.com account. I also found a listing of her burial in Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, TN. My maternal great-grandmother spend about 25 yrs. at Western State and died there. I found her death certificate and found she was buried in 1934 at the hospital’s cemetery w/o a marker. My gr-gm was already there when your person arrived. If she died at the hospital, then the death certificate would have been issued by Hardeman County. You might be able to request a copy from the Health Dept. I doubt you are I will ever be able to get any hospital records. They are most likely destroyed by now. Hope this information is useful for you.

      Sent from Outlookhttp://aka.ms/weboutlook

      James T. Hall

      “Only two things are infinite: the universe, and human stupidity. And I’m not sure about the former.” ~ Albert Einstein ________________________________

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  23. I have been researching my family ancestry in Tennessee and I found my great great great great grandfather’s death certificate which documents him dying here in 1924 of senile exhaustion. The death certificate says he was treated here for a year and died here. He was an African American man in an insane asylum that was know for experimental practices. I want to find more information about this place.

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