PEORIA ASYLUM HISTORY
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Names - Chronological order
Illinois Asylum For The Incurable Insane 1896-1907
Illinois General Hospital For The Insane 1907-1909
Peoria State Hospital 1909-1973
January 20 1886 - Peoria Women’s Club forms and starts lobbying for the construction of a state asylum in the Peoria area for the mentally ill living in jails and almshouses.
June 6 1896 - Cornerstone placed for the “Illinois Asylum For The Incurable Insane.” A parade and thousands in attendance as Governor Altgeld headed ceremonies.
December 22 1897 - Nearly completed facility built according to the “Kirkbride plan” ordered razed by Governor Tanner. The two main reasons:
- “It appears to be in a state of collapse.”
- “It didn’t comply with conditions required in these modern times for buildings for the insane.”
1899 - Construction of new facility begins, built according to the “Cottage Plan.” Over the next 10 years the Bowen Building the hospitals first building, 35 other major structures along with the water tower, several maintenance and industrial buildings would be constructed.
February 10 1902 - First 100 patients arrive by rail. By April there were 634 patients since only seven cottages were available over 120 “insane” women lived in the Bowen or Nurses Residence.
November 2 1902 - Dr. George A. Zeller relieves acting superintendent Dr. H.B. Carriel and takes charge of the facility.
October 13 1903 - Patient beaten to death by two attendants the accused of murder but never tried.
- Color therapy introduced.
Autumn 1904 - Rhoda Derry arrives from Adams county almshouse.
- Light Therapy introduced.
1905 - Dr. Zeller orders all bars and mechanical restraints removed from all buildings.
- M. Bookbinder arrives.
- First child dies at Hospital.
1906 - Dr. Zeller opens the Training School for Nurses.
- Female attendants on all wards.
- Hydrotherapy introduced.
May 4 1906 - First Baby born at hospital.
- Tuberculosis leading cause of death.
- Tent colonies started.
October 14 1906 - Rhoda Derry Dies (Grave 217).
1907 - Dr. Zeller lobbies to have “Incurable” removed, and the legislature adopted new name Illinois General Hospital For The Insane.
1908 - Dr. Zeller approves construction of a zoo on the grounds using bars and doors removed in 1905. The zoo would eventually have 13 Deer, 2 Black Bears, Wolves, Foxes, Coyotes, and many other animals.
August 7 1909 - Pellagra outbreak begins, over the next three years over 500 patients would be afflicted and 150 would die.
- Display of restraints in institution library.
- Industrial Therapy introduced.
1910 - Funds approved for 4 new structures.
December 1, 1913 - Dr. Zeller leaves Peoria State Hospital to be state Alienist replaced by Dr Ralph T. Hinton as Superintendent.
- Illinois Legislature adopts new name “Peoria State Hospital.”
- Phototherapy introduced.
1914 - Dr. Hinton orders bars and restraints placed back on wards and buildings.
October 4 1915 - Housekeeper Anne M. Stuart falls ill while working. Soon after she was moved to her room where she slips into a coma and dies.
1917 - Dr. Ralph Goodner replaces Dr. Hinton as Superintendent at P.S.H.
1920 - Kindergarten classes introduced.
1921 - Dr. Zeller returns to the Peoria State Hospital as Superintendent. He finds overall neglect upon his return and checks himself into P.S.H. as an inmate for three days living on a different ward every night. So profound did he find this experience he ordered all staff to serve an 8 hour shift as an inmate.
- Dr. Zeller becomes superintendent of Alton State Hospital.
1928 - Last known direct descendant of Sir Francis Drake Emily Belsher (who received a draft for 25 pounds sterling every year from the British government) dies at Peoria State Hospital.
1930’s - Reports of patients committing suicide by hanging themselves in the woods.
- Reforms Nursing Academy
- Social Services introduced.
March 18 1935 - Dr. Zeller steps down as Superintendent. Is offered an apartment in the Bowen Building where he lives until his death.
- Syphilis outbreak- treated by injecting Malaria causing a high fever to combat disease. There were untold numbers of deaths.
June 29 1938 - Dr. Zeller dies.
October 1938 - Insulin Shock Therapy introduced. (Patients overdosed with insulin to induce a coma then attempt to revive patient).
1940’s - Lobotomies performed at Peoria State Hospital.
September 1942 - Electro Convulsive Therapy introduced as treatment for Epilepsy.
- Skull Trephening performed at Peoria State Hospital.
1951 - Dairy Farm becomes Abbot Children’s center.
1963 - Day hospital opens.
- Psychology department introduced.
- Occupational Therapy introduced.
1967 - Nurse killed by Z-3 Ward patient. Hit in the head with a steel bar from a garbage can lid.
- Group therapy introduced.
June 20, 1972 - Patient Bernard Roe, 43, Was struck in the head with a chair while in line for lunch, he collapses and dies shortly after.
- Zeller Zone Center opens in Peoria.
June 24, 1972 - Patient Jerome W. Spence, 43, is beaten to death by an inmate with a 3 year old mentality.
August 30, 1972 - James H. Logan, 29, Dies from an untreated ear infection.
December 1973 - Peoria State Hospital closes. At that time the last 600 patient were relocated.