Stockton State Hospital


 

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Former Stockton State Hospital - Now University Park Housing Stanislaus State University

It was in Woodbridge that the Nevada Asylum for the Insane was established by Drs. Clark and Langdon in 1871; it was moved to Stockton in 1877.

The Stockton Developmental Center began in 1853 as the Insane Asylum of California at Stockton. It was founded on 100 acres with ready access to the goldfields on land donated by Captain Charles Weber, founder of Stockton. California's Legislature was convinced that the turbulence of the Gold Rush had caused many to suffer from mental problems, and that the existing hospitals were inadequate to cope with large numbers of people with mental and emotional conditions. Consequently it authorized the establishment of the Stockton Hospital, the first public hospital in California to serve the mentally ill. California's mental hospital is one of the oldest in the west, and early on was recognized for its progressive forms of treatment.

The first receiving hospital was built in 1908 between Grant and American streets. The main entrance faced Acacia Street. The west side of the building was the female unit and the east side was the male unit. Each unit had its own octagonal dayroom.

A psychopathic hospital was added to the back of this building in 1923 and opened the following year. The original receiving hospital also had its own surgical department until the surgical or "hospital building" was completed In 1932. While the structure was demolished, the psychopathic hospital and surgical buildings were remodeled. The new receiving and treatment units were built in place of the old receiving hospital

Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge Magnolia Street Administration Building - University Park (Former Stockton State Hospital). The first build one sees as they drive into the complex from California Street

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American Street - Female Department - In 1865 the first section of new facilities for the female patients was completed. The entire structure was not completed, however, until 1874. Total cost was $249,500. It was constructed on the east side of North American Street (the later site of Cottage C), between East Vine and East Magnolia streets. The story has persisted down through the years that at that time a branch of the Stockton Channel terminated near California and Flora streets and that the bricks for this first section of the building were unloaded onto the asylum grounds from barges.

This three and four-story structure had a capacity of 325 patients. As overcrowding became a problem. chairs and beds were placed in the narrow hallways. Patients were often strapped into these chairs and they sat in semi-darkness. The entire building contained only two chimneys. On each floor marble fireplaces served the visiting rooms, the employee sickroom, and the wards located in both wings of the building. The central section of the structure was topped by a tower rising over 200 feet from ground level. This tower was used as a navigation checkpoint by river pilots on vessels in Stockton Channel. Beneath this tower were the first floor main entrance, doctors' quarters on the second floor, matrons' quarters on the third floor, and a large dayroom on the fourth floor.

Notable features at the entrance area included frosted handcut glass in the door, and on each side the antique, Victorian furniture of the sitting room. A cherrywood spiral stairway ascended to the floors above. The north and south wings were three stories in height and housed the institution's female patients. - Demolished in 1949 and replaced by Cottage C which was completed in 1959 at a cost of $742,000.

Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge The original State Hospital/Asylum cemetery was located behind the Women's Facility, at what is now 510 E. Magnolia St, The lake and fountain are where the cemetery was located.   Nothing of this site remains. There were 4,467 known burials at this location, with, according to sources, only 1,619 being removed to the new site located on N. California Street before March 1875. The cemetery behind the Women's Facility was used from about 1854 until January 1875, when the site on California Street was purchased.

There was another cemetery that is noted on the property of the State Hospital Grounds (now University of Stanislaus at Stockton) located at the end of Acacia Street behind the maintaintence building. This location is from a city of Stockton Map viewed at the Assessors office.

Click to Enlarge Water Tower
Click to Enlarge Magnolia St
Click to Enlarge Magnolia St. Building on the Former Stockton State Hospital - Cottage A
Click to Enlarge 805 E. Magnolia St. - Former Canteen
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Click to Enlarge The first receiving hospital was built in 1908 between Grant and American streets. The main entrance faced Acacia Street. The west side of the building was the female unit and the east side was the male unit. Each unit had its own octagonal dayroom. I believe the building shown is the Male Unit facing Acacia Street sometime in the teens
Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge Acacia Street Buildings
Click to Enlarge Acacia and California Street Gate
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Superintendent's Residence - 521 E. Acacia St. - Built in 1900 for the Stockton state hospital at a cost of $5,800. This 16 room home is an excellent example of a southern mansion. The state hospital was established in 1853 as the first publicly supported facility for the mentally ill in the west. Located in the Magnolia Historic Preservation District. National Register of Historic Places The home was added to the city register by resolution number 29,086 on June 1, 1971

For more than a century, some doctors and staff who treated the mentally ill lived on the sprawling grounds in Stockton that held the former state mental hospital. Today, the historic homes on Doctors Row are the most telltale reminders of California's first mental hospital.

The four homes -- three built in the Gothic Revival style and one in Tudor Revival -- are being renovated as part of the mixed-use University Park development on the 103-acre central Stockton campus of California State University, Stanislaus. The homes are designated as California Historical Landmarks.

Dorothy Bramwell's father-in-law was a psychiatrist at the institution who lived in a Doctors Row home, and she recalled life there in the early 1940s. "It was great," Bramwell said. "The house had seven fireplaces."

Raymond Holt lives at 504 E. Acacia St. in one of the Doctors Row homes. He is one of the workers painting and fixing the walls in the house. On a recent afternoon, he was mowing grass across the street, not far from the Magnolia Mansion, where superintendents of the mental hospital once lived. "It's cool living in an old building," he said.

Recently, a fifth house was moved to the end of Doctors Row in an effort to preserve the home's historic value and to make way for a new school, said Dan Keyser, senior vice president of Grupe Commercial Co., which is developing the University Park project. The Queen Anne-style cottage, originally from the area of nearby Grant Street, remains on wooden stilts.

After the state institution, which had several different names, closed its doors in 1996, the university took over the property. Planned at University Park are classrooms, offices, retail outlets, apartments and a community center. The historic houses could be used for retail, educational or office space, Keyser said.

"We just don't know yet," he said. "Realistically, this is a 10- to 15-year project."

A Nov. 22, 1928, editorial in The Stockton Record described Doctors Row in detail:

"Yet the street is a miniature Chester Place or St. James Park (in London) with its brownstone gates leading into leafy vistas, bordered on one side by vine-clad brick houses, and on the other by the superintendent's home in its palm garden, a veritable Georgia or Louisiana plantation house transferred to a Western setting."

In the 1870s, Doctors Row was created when the original three brick homes were constructed on East Acacia Street. The hospital, known as The Insane Asylum of the State of California at Stockton, was founded in 1853 and served as the state mental institution.

Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge Acacia Street - Doctors Row
Click to Enlarge 506 E. Acacia - Doctor's Row
Click to Enlarge 520 E. Acacia - Doctor's Row
Click to Enlarge 540 E. Acacia - Doctor's Row
Click to Enlarge 520-540 E. Acacia - Doctor's Row
Click to Enlarge 604 E. Acacia - Doctor's Row
Click to Enlarge 710 E. Acacia - Doctor's Row
Click to Enlarge 604-710 E. Acacia - Doctor's Row
Click to Enlarge Acacia St. Looking SE at the back side of the Richard Pittman Magnet School located at 701 E. Park St
Acacia Street - Central Kitchen Demolished
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Male Department The men's brick building on Grant Street between Acacia and Flora streets was the second men's building on the hospital grounds. What later became the principal asylum was erected in 1883-1885, the south wing in the former year, the total cost of the whole structure was $224,000. It was made of brick, with sandstone facings; and while it was unpretentious in design and free from superfluous ornamentation, there was nothing prison-like in its appearance as it was beautiful and attractive. it had a capacity, without crowding, of 530 inmates which placed the per capita cost at $425 -- a figure so remarkably low that very few asylums in the country approached it. The several divisions were so arranged, that the unity of design is preserved, an abundance of light and air is secured to every portion.

Originally "maniacs" were locked in dungeons in the basement. At mealtime, patients were issued only spoons to eat with for fear they would stab someone with a knife or fork. Up until 1950 there was no heat in the dining room and patients used to shiver while they ate. The first advance in patient recreation at the hospital came when a clubroom was set up in this building about 1954. The building originally had three steeples.

On November 30, 1938, a patient set fire to some oily rags in a closet. The resultant fire wiped out all of Ward 6, plus the steeple above it and allowed many patients to escape. The other steeples were removed later because of weakness and leakage. The structure was deactivated bit by bit, starting in February, 1958 and ending in August of that year. Most of the administrative offices had been located here but had moved into the new administration building in 1953. Several offices remained, however, until the Professional Building was completed in 1962. Demolition was completed in 1964, and it is estimated that 3,250,000 bricks were removed.

Click to Enlarge Grant St. Building on the Former Stockton State Hospital - West side of Grant St.
Click to Enlarge 1203 Grant Street
Click to Enlarge Ground Squirrels playing on Grant St
Click to Enlarge Grant Street - Cottages F3 and F4
Click to Enlarge Grant & Rose
Grant Street - 8 Buildings
Aurora Street - G1, G2, G3, G4, G5, G6 Standing
Rose Street - Cottage 'E' a female ward Demolished
Sacramento Street - All Demolished
Vine Street - All Demolished
Willow Street - All Demolished
We are looking for more old Stockton State Hospital photos - Please post them on our Memories of Stockton Facebook Group

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