If you were unfortunate enough to suffer from depression or any form of mental illness in the early 1800's you could look forward to your family hiding you away from the public eye.  For some it meant being watched by family and monitored while in public. For others it was a living hell, restrained in an attic or  basement so  you couldn't harm anyone.  Unlike today there were no drugs or people to talk to, there weren’t even hospitals for mental illness.  That changed in the mid 1800's due in part to people like Dorothea Dix.  She started a campaign for the humane treatment of individuals suffering from mental illness.  Her efforts led to the construction of numerous asylums across the country. The bulk of these asylums were constructed using Dr. Thomas Kirkbride's linear plan. This plan consisted of a large central administration building flanked by two wings comprised of tiered patient wards. One wing housed females and the other housed males. This plan gave the asylums a "bat wing" appearance. These buildings were some of the most lavish hospitals ever built. Their intention was to create a serene, spacious, and peaceful environment for the patients to recover in.  These self-sufficient  asylums were beautifully landscaped and covered hundreds of acres.



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