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1849: A Commodious House

1855: Early Obstacles

1865-1875: A Period of Rebuilding

1880-1925: The Hospital Expands

1925-1940: Continued Growth

1900: A Self-Sufficient Community

1956: From the Ashes

1937: Biggs Center for the Criminally Insane

1984: End of the Farm

1849: A Commodious House

Lacking knowledge about asylum design, the legislators authorized Dr. William J. M'Elheney to travel to Ohio, Indiana, and Maryland to determine the type of building to be constructed. He recommended a linear model used in the Indianapolis, Indiana asylum, but warned the legislature that construction costs would exceed current appropriations by $20,000-$30,000. In April, Solomon Jenkins' winning bid of $47,450 for the construction contract confirmed the need for greater financial support.

". . .the people of the State are willing to be taxed to build a commodious house, comfortable in every respect, to take care of their fellow human beings who are suffering under one of the greatest scourges that can afflict the human race."

Report of the Commissioners to Locate a Lunatic Asylum, January 3, 1849

Front elevation, Missouri State Lunatic Asylum, Solomon Jenkins, Architect, 1849.
Front elevation, Missouri State Lunatic Asylum, Solomon Jenkins, Architect, 1849.
Missouri State Archives

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Online Exhibit Created 2003
Missouri State ArchivesOffice of the Secretary of State, Missouri