: Dated ca. 1930-1939, this photograph shows the Athens State Hospital from Reservoir Hill in Athens, Ohio. In 1868, construction began on the Athens Asylum. Levi T. Scofield, a Cleveland architect designed the building and it formally opened on January 9, 1874. Within two years of opening, administrators renamed the Athens Asylum the Athens Hospital for the Insane. Over its history, the hospital underwent several name changes, including the Athens State Hospital, the Southeastern Ohio Mental Health Center, the Athens Mental Health Center, the Athens Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center, and the Athens Mental Health and Developmental Center. The Athens Asylum was one of several hospitals for the mentally ill operated by the State of Ohio. The asylum closed as a mental hospital in 1993. Ohio University eventually purchased the grounds and renamed the site The Ridges. The hospital is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Originally, the hospital's grounds consisted of a park-like setting, with ponds, gardens, and fountains. Doctors hoped that the beautiful surroundings would assist patients in recovering their mental health. Patients worked in the gardens, the greenhouse, the orchards, or the dairy, helped to tend livestock, or found employment in the asylum's carriage shop. The asylum also boasted a physical plant that heated the various buildings with steam heat. Many of the patients were never released from the hospital and were buried in the asylum's cemetery. This photograph is one of the many visual materials collected for use in the Ohio Guide. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Works Progress Administration by executive order to create jobs for the large numbers of unemployed laborers, as well as artists, musicians, actors, and writers. The Federal Arts Program, a sector of the Works Progress Administration, included the Federal Writers’ Project, one of the primary goals of which was to complete the America Guide series, a series of guidebooks for each state which included state history, art, architecture, music, literature, and points of interest to the major cities and tours throughout the state. Work on the Ohio Guide began in 1935 with the publication of several pamphlets and brochures. The Reorganization Act of 1939 consolidated the Works Progress Administration and other agencies into the Federal Works Administration, and the Federal Writers’ Project became the Federal Writers’ Project in Ohio. The final product was published in 1940 and went through several editions. The Ohio Guide Collection consists of 4,769 photographs collected for use in Ohio Guide and other publications of the Federal Writers’ Project in Ohio from 1935-1939. View on Ohio Memory.
: SA1039AV_B01F14_003 Subjects
: Mental health; State Hospitals--History--Ohio; Science and Technology; Medicine; Athens Hospital for the Insane (Athens, Ohio) Places
: Athens (Ohio); Athens County (Ohio)