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Harrisburg State Hospital

  • N. Cameron St. (U.S. 22/230) at hospital entrance Harrisburg, PA

Harrisburg State Hospital was the first public insane asylum in Pennsylvania. Founded on April 14, 1845 and originally known as The Pennsylvania State Hospital and Union Asylum for the Insane, the hospital served 12 counties at its founding and remained opened until 2006. Harrisburg State Hospital was founded after successful lobbying by nurse and social reformer Dorothea Dix. Dix advocated for the proper care and humane treatment of the indigent mentally ill. After the hospital’s founding, Dix continued to support the hospital at Harrisburg by raising funds for a museum, reading room, and bowling alley as well as purchasing a magic lantern & slides, books, and musical instruments.