THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE FOR BARTONVILLE STATE HOSPITAL
Want to tour BARTONVILLE STATE HOSPITAL or spend the night legally ?
Check this site out.
Peoria State Hospital Historic District, also known as Bartonville State Hospital or Illinois Hospital for the Incurable Insane, was a mental health hospital operated by the State of Illinois. It was abandoned in 1973. The hospital grounds and its 47 buildings are listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. The hospital is located in Bartonville, Illinois, near the city of Peoria in Peoria County.
Construction at the site started in 1895 with the main building being completed in 1897. The 1897 building was never used as its structural integrity was compromised when the abandoned mine shafts it stood over collapsed. Interestingly enough, the 1927 history of the hospital gives a fully different reason for the abandonment of the first structure:
"The first building erected was a facsimile of a feudal castle, but before it was occupied it was found to be wholly out of harmony with modern ideas for the care of the insane and it was razed and replaced by the present cottage plan, under the direction of Dr. Frederick Howard Wines, the able secretary of the State Board of Charities."
In 1902 the facility was rebuilt under the direction of Dr. George Zeller. The hospital became a complex under Zeller as a cottage system of 33 buildings was employed as opposed to the former enormous castle-like building. Among the buildings at Bartonville State included patient and caretaker housing, a store, a power station, and a communal utility building.
After the hospital finally began operation, under Zeller on February 10, 1902, patients characterized as "incurably insane" were transferred to Bartonville State from other Illinois facilities. In 1906 the hospital opened a training school for nurses. From 1907 to 1909 the Illinois Hospital for the Incurable Insane, as Peoria State Hospital was known, became the Illinois General Hospital for the Insane.
At its peak in the 1950s, Bartonville housed 2,800 patients. When closure was announced in 1972, patient census had dropped to 600.From 1917 until 1961 the hospital was operated by the Illinois Department of Public Welfare. In 1961 the Department of Mental Health was created and assumed responsibility of Peoria State Hospital which closed in 1973. After the hospital closed the buildings stood empty and were auctioned off. The auction buyer was bankrupt and Winsley Duran, Jr. took over ownership with the hope of creating office space in the structures. The buildings, however, remain empty. There is now a new owner who hopes to open the hospital to the public for touring.
The first architects to design buildings on the site of Peoria State Hospital were the firm Reeves and Baillie. The firm notably designed the Peoria City Hall building as well. The grounds consists of 47 buildings, many of which are residential in nature and laid out to the traditional cottage plan, common among mental hospitals during this period. The first main building constructed was on the Kirkbride Plan. It resembled a castle. It was later torn down because it was said to be built over an abandoned mine shaft which cause the foundation to crack and nearly collapse.
Peoria State Hospital maintains a reputation as a haunted spot. Claims are that the area is still inhabited by the ghosts of many former patients. The idea is probably perpetuated by the fact that there are four on-site cemeteries, because Zeller implemented a system for burying the hospital's unidentified deceased. One specific ghost yarn tells of the spirit of "Old Book", a patient who dug graves at the hospital until his own demise. It is said that upon his death he took over the physical form of a tree on the grounds dubbed the "Graveyard Elm". Locally it is known as the "crying tree." Though several attempts have been made at removing the tree it no longer stands at the hospital.
MORE PICTURES OF BARTONVILLE STATE HOSPITAL
Kevin Gray from Peoria Il. rock band the MEGASONICS first solo short music film. Their are a few shots of Bartonville State hospital