For the summer I am down in Southern Utah. Before leaving Provo I took several photos around town so that I can keep up with the blog during the summer. I plan to focus on Provo for most of the summer, with an occasionally cool place from Southern Utah.
I first wanted to highlight the Utah State Hospital. I was amazed at the beautiful architecture that I was finding while researching historic photos of Provo. Most of the really cool architecture came from the Utah State Hospital (also known as the Utah State Mental Hospital). Here is the history of the building from the Utah State Hospital website:
"The Utah State Hospital began as the Territorial Insane Asylum in 1885 at Provo, Utah (which at the time was a days' travel from Salt Lake City). The particular site in Provo was some eight blocks from the nearest residence and was separated from the city by swampland and the city dump. The message this reveals about the prevailing attitudes regarding mental illness is unmistakable.
"The intervening years, however, have brought many changes: the swamp has been drained, the dump converted into a municipal park, and the city has expanded to the point that there is no longer a stark demarcation of where the "Asylum" begins.
"From its origin the purpose of the Hospital was to treat the mentally ill and to return them to a normal level of functioning. In spite of their best efforts, however, in its early days the facility was little more than a human warehouse. In fact, by 1955 the population at the hospital was over 1,500 patients.
"Over the years, tremendous advances in psychiatric medicine have changed the role of the Hospital to one of very active (and successful) treatment and rehabilitation. Today, it is truly a Hospital in every sense of the word.
"Furthermore, the Hospital is no longer the primary deliverer of mental health services in Utah; this role changed with the creation in l969, of community mental health centers. Now residents throughout Utah can receive mental health services in their own community. The Hospital has changed its role from the only mental health treatment facility into a supporting role for the community mental health centers.
"Today the Hospital provides 324 beds for Utah's mentally ill citizens who require treatment in a more structured setting. Treatment is provided to patients ranging from age six years to geriatric age. Specialized programs are offered for children, adolescents, forensic and adult residents.
In addition to the changes in how mental health is approached, there have been dramatic changes to the actual building structures. If you have been to the hospital anytime recently you would see ugly, bland buildings. However, the hospital used to look incredible. I didn't retake any of these photos since it costs $20 to take any photographs on the property. Rather I just wanted to share a little information about this great historic site. All of the photos are the information following (which most are quotes) are taken from the Provo Library's historical photo collection.
This is the original main building. In the following photograph, you can see the road leading up the the building, which is currently Center Street
The Milton Hardy Building. It was constructed in 1908 and was named after Dr. Milton Hardy, who was the Hospital Superintendent at the time of construction. The building was built to provide housing for women but also provide space for those diagnosed as "feebleminded". The building was determined to be unsafe and was demolished in 1967.
This is the dairy building which was located on the campus
The George Hyde Building. This building was constructed in 1921 and was named after George Hyde, who was the hospital superintendent at the time of construction. The building housed a variety of patients until 2004 when it was determined unsafe and demolished.
The Infirmary Building
The Shop Building. The first floor was built to provide various workshops for patients to produce items for use at the hospital. The basement was used for storage. Before the completion, a second floor was added to provide living space for male patients at the hospital who were diagnosed as "feebleminded". The building was demolished in 2006.
This is a picture of the stage of what is known as the castle on the Mental Hospital grounds. It is a beautiful building surrounded by a nice park, pond, and mini golf course. I have always been interested and intrigued by this building. While researching for this post, I found out that this was built during the 1930s as part of the Works Progress Administration (which was intended to get people back to work). They built it as a source recreation and entertainment for patients at the hospital. It is included on the National Register of Historic Places. The castle is also featured in the next couple of photos.
I have never been able to find a historic map of the State Hospital so if anyone knows where to find one, let me know. Because of that, I don't know where exactly on campus any of these buildings were located, with the exception of the main administration building and the castle.
I wanted to add a couple of extra tidbits about the hospital. I was told in my Abnormal Psychology class that they used to have haunted houses during Halloween on the hospital grounds. Patients at the hospital would dress up and participate in the haunted house while people from the community walked through it (yes, I know, it sounds crazy and unethical). Apparently it was a big hit among community members until someone one year was stabbed by a patient from the hospital. Since then it has not been continued.
Also, in regards to the weird, abandoned lodge behind Seven Peaks (on 300 North) that everyone claims is part of the old Mental Hospital. I don't believe that it is or was ever part of the State Hospital (if anyone can support or deny this, I'd love more information since I have only one source). First of all, its design and the lack of a fence around the property makes me think that it was never intended for mental patients. Also, I heard that originally Seven Peaks was supposed to be a ski resort. The idea was to build a lift up over Y Mountain and have people ski on the back side. This makes a lot more sense to me since the building looks like a ski lodge. I was told that funds ran out and rather than a ski lodge a water park was created. Also I was told that some of the wood that was going to be used for the ski lift can be found around Provo (it was sold to individual families). The person who told me this information told me that the they have lots of the wood and used part of it for a retaining wall.