Institute of the Pennsylvania Hospital

Institute Of The Pennsylvania Hospital

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Institute of the Pennsylvania Hospital

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The Institute of the Pennsylvania Hospital, or Kirkbride's Hospital, was a psychiatric hospital located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that operated from its founding in 1841 until 1997. The building, now called the Kirkbride Center is now part of the Blackwell Human Services Campus.

Two large hospital structures and an elaborate pleasure ground were built on a campus that stretched from 45th to 49th Streets along the north side of Market Street. There, Thomas Story Kirkbride, the hospital's first superintendent and physician-in-chief, developed a more humane method of treatment for the mentally ill that became widely influential.

In the late 1830s, the managers of Pennsylvania Hospital began erecting a large asylum to replace the hospital's crowded insane wards at 8th and Spruce Streets. The site chosen was a former farm in the as-yet unincorporated district of West Philadelphia. The first structure for the Pennsylvania Asylum for the Insane was designed by Isaac Holden and was located near what is now 46th and Market Streets. Completed in 1841, the facility offered comforts and a "humane treatment" philosophy that set a standard for its day. Unlike other asylums where patients were often kept chained in crowded, unsanitary wards with little if any treatment, patients at the Pennsylvania Asylum resided in private rooms, received medical treatment, worked outdoors and enjoyed recreational activities including lectures and a use of the hospital library. The...
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