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Manteno State Hospital, Manteno, Illinois

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384689_10150954830117396_1164241826_nIn 1927, the Illinois General Assembly appropriated $1 million to build a new facility in Manteno, Illinois, that would care for the mentally ill.  Manteno State Hospital, spread across 1,220 acres of land, opened in 1930, welcoming 100 male patients from Kankakee State Hospital.

Over the next few years, the hospital expanded in size, including extensive work in the electrical system, a comprehensive tunnel thoroughfare, and a sanitary and sewer system, all run by a central power station.  By 1932, Manteno had 886 patients, and by 1934, 1,193 patients.

Like other mental health facilities, Manteno implanted shock therapy during the 1930s, and its census approached 3,200 by 1937.  In the 1940s, the hospital added a medical library and a medical staff house.
Manteno’s population continued to grow, and by 1950 it was almost 7,000, notwithstanding shortages of employees along the way. The hospital’s budge the following year was more than $11 million.

229095_10150171691797396_5862403_nIn 1953 Manteno became the first state hospital to include a synagogue, complete with Torah and Ark.  By the hospital’s 25th anniversary in 1955, it housed almost 8,100 patients, and Manteno was the largest hospital in the state by 1962.

Manteno’s growth trend, however, started to reverse itself, much like other mental health facilities around the country.  In 1963 the hospital discontinued its farm program. The move away from electric shock therapy and toward other treatments, like medication, added to the decrease in census.

1917370_169675272395_2667001_nIn 1966, the 6,300 patients at Manteno enjoyed  an “open door” policy whereby they could begin integration into the community.  The following year Manteno incorporated other clinical aspects into the entire facility, and it separated certain patient groups (such as alcoholics and geriatric patients, for example).  By 1970, the hospital’s census dropped below 5,000.

During the 1970s, the hospital was embroiled in allegations of experimental surgeries without proper patient consent, as well as charges of sexual assaults on patients. The population dropped to almost 3,000 in 1971, as did its funding.
1625777_104735342395_7706838_n205440_10150155540777396_7444898_nThe hospital soon changed its name to Manteno Mental Health Center, and by 1977 it served about 1,000 patients.  Unfortunately, around that time many of the buildings were condemned or declared unsafe due to deterioration.

As conditions continued to deteriorate in an increasingly unfriendly climate, the hospital finally closed on December 31, 1985. Patients were release or transferred to other facilities. Manteno’s campus was eventually developed into an industrial park.

Photographs from MantenoStateHospital.com.




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Posted: October 15, 2014


Category: All, Illinois, Lost Hospitals


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