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The site for the "Eastern Indiana Hospital for the Insane," (now known as Richmond State Hospital), of approximately 307 acres, was purchased in 1878. Construction started in 1884 and was completed in 1890. While the Indiana legislature had authorized the establishment of a "hospital for the insane" as early as 1827, the doors of the Indiana Hospital for the Insane (later re-named Central State Hospital) did not open until 1848. Information on Central State Hospital and the early years of state hospitals in Indiana can be found at Indiana Commission on Public Records State Archives Division's website on Central State Hospital .
At Richmond, between 1887 and 1890, three of the completed buildings were occupied by "The School for Feeble Minded Youth." In 1890, these patients were transferred to what is now known as the "Fort Wayne Developmental Center." The buildings were refurbished and the hospital formally opened on July 29, 1890, with the first patient admitted on August 4, 1890.
The hospital buildings were constructed on the "cottage plan" in order to prevent any "disastrous conflagration," and provide for immediate evacuation of a small number of persons in case of fire. There are many interesting architectural details in the older buildings, including exterior cupolas, interior detailing such as intricate railings and stained glass.
Although the general layout followed the cottage plan, the main administration building with adjacent buildings extending like wings is very similar to the "Kirkbride" plan which was the model for many "asylums" constructed during this era. See http://www.kirkbridebuildings.com/index.html for further information on Dr. Kirkbride and the Kirkbride design. The Hospital has had a number of names through the years, including East Indiana Asylum for the Insane, East Indiana Hospital for the Insane and finally Richmond State Hospital. Although it was never an official name, it was long referred to as "East Haven."
The post card images below all bear inscriptions which include an "East Haven" designation. Apparently post cards of various "asylums" were once common. Click on the images below to see larger post card photos and drawings of the early years of Richmond State Hospital.
In 1911, the "Colony Act" was passed and additional acreage was purchased to allow patients to work the farmlands. Richmond was selected to be the parent institution for this type of treatment. The five farms acquired were christened "Wayne Farms." The local arboretum furnished the names: Cedar, Maple, Pine, etc. Male patients with a agricultural background were placed in the colonies. Their productive efforts were realized in many ways, but specifically through ribbons and prizes received from the exhibits of cattle and farm products at the Wayne County Fair as well as the Indiana State Fair.
On May 16, 1927, the hospital's name was changed from " Eastern Indiana Hospital for the Insane" to " Richmond State Hospital."
Located on the grounds is the Klepfer All Faiths Chapel. Financed entirely by donations from the community, the chapel was named in honor of Dr. Jefferson Klepfer, M.D., who served as superintendent from 1953 to 1976.
Through the years, many changes have occurred. In 1980, Richmond State Hospital was certified for Medicare/Medicaid patients and, in 1986, the Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations accredited the hospital.
To better serve the patients who require continued treatment the hospital has programs geared to the needs of individuals with persistent and severe mental disorders and the older person with mental illness. Richmond State Hospital provides services to patients from the Community Mental Health Centers in East Central and Northeast Indiana. Many patients come from larger urban settings, but many of the patients continue to be from small rural communities.
Two of the newer buildings that comprise Richmond State Hospital are the 192-bed Residential Treatment Center and the food Preparation Center. Both were completed in 1991. all of the hospital building are on a 120-acre campus that has been developed into a park-like setting with beautiful trees, shrubs, copious flower beds and a pond.
In 2001 work was completed on the CTC complex. Nestled in front of the existing RTC building, CTC (Continued Treatment Center) brought together our Lab, Pharmacy and Dental Clinic in one centralized state of the art location. In addition CTC houses our social club, gymnasium, crafts area and classrooms dedicated to Recovery and Rehabilitation curriculums. CTC also serves as a regional training site with our spacious training center.
After more than 100 years of providing mental health services, Richmond State Hospital continues the commitment to meet the needs of our changing population. The primary goal of the hospital continues to be to plan for and, in cooperation with other care providers, develop and deliver a comprehensive and integrated system of mental health services of superior quality.