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Eastern State Hospital is located in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Public Hospital for Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds, as the facility was first known, was established by act of the Virginia colonial legislature on June 4, 1770. The act, which intended to "Make Provision for the Support and Maintenance of Ideots, Lunaticks, and other Persons of unsound Minds," authorized the House of Burgesses to appoint a fifteen-man Court Of Directors to oversee the future hospital's operations and admissions.

In 1841, the hospital was renamed the Eastern Lunatic Asylum and newly-appointed superintendent John Minson Galt II initiated a series of reforms which came to have great effect on the history of mental treatment.

The current name is Eastern State Hospital and it is part of the Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse Services system. It is currently situated over 580 acres and consists of 28 buildings. The 600-bed facility provides treatment to approximately 500 patients with about 1,300 staff.


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A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.