McLean Asylum

Title

McLean Asylum

Description

In 1811, the trustees of Massachusetts General Hospital founded the McLean Asylum, located on Asylum Ave. It was the first hospital in New England to treat mental illness, and was sometimes referred to as the “Asylum for the insane.” After Joseph Barrell’s death in 1816, the MGH trustees bought his estate that sat on top of Cobble Hill in Charlestown, now Somerville. It opened in 1818 and was named after John McLean because he donated $25,000 and left more than $90,000 to the asylum after his death. The area surrounding the asylum possessed a great deal of open space, and it overlooked the Mystic and Charles Rivers. Asylums began in Europe, and they started to treat people by making a connection between mind and body. They strengthened treatment methods by utilizing open and natural settings, which perfectly matched the setting of Cobble Hill. Later, the MGH trustees obtained Pleasant Hill from the Barrell’s estate to enlarge the asylum. Charles Bulfinch, a prominent architect, was commissioned to add wings on either side, and he later added a third story to the main building. The McLean Asylum became the first psychiatric hospital in the country to have basic and clinical laboratories to examine the biological factors in mental illness. The name changed to the McLean Hospital in 1892. In 1872, the railroads began to be built near the asylum. As a result, in 1895, they sold the property to the Boston & Maine Railroad and relocated to Belmont, Massachusetts. The railroad demolished the asylum and leveled the hill in 1929.

Source

http://bostonmaps.neu.edu/omeka/admin/items/show/252

Date

1811

Contributor

Alex Noonan

Relation

Willard, Ashton Rollins. “Charles Bulfinch, the architect.” New England Magazine, 1890, Vol 3: 292-294.

Haglund, Karl. Inventing the Charles River. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003.

"EDUCATION." McLean Hospital. http://www.mclean.harvard.edu/education/ (accessed April 13, 2014).

Type

annotation

Identifier

-71.08219, 42.37674

Description

In 1811, the trustees of Massachusetts General Hospital founded the McLean Asylum, located on Asylum Ave. It was the first hospital in New England to treat mental illness, and was sometimes referred to as the “Asylum for the insane.” After Joseph Barrell’s death in 1816, the MGH trustees bought his estate that sat on top of Cobble Hill in Charlestown, now Somerville. It opened in 1818 and was named after John McLean because he donated $25,000 and left more than $90,000 to the asylum after his death. The area surrounding the asylum possessed a great deal of open space, and it overlooked the Mystic and Charles Rivers. Asylums began in Europe, and they started to treat people by making a connection between mind and body. They strengthened treatment methods by utilizing open and natural settings, which perfectly matched the setting of Cobble Hill. Later, the MGH trustees obtained Pleasant Hill from the Barrell’s estate to enlarge the asylum. Charles Bulfinch, a prominent architect, was commissioned to add wings on either side, and he later added a third story to the main building. The McLean Asylum became the first psychiatric hospital in the country to have basic and clinical laboratories to examine the biological factors in mental illness. The name changed to the McLean Hospital in 1892. In 1872, the railroads began to be built near the asylum. As a result, in 1895, they sold the property to the Boston & Maine Railroad and relocated to Belmont, Massachusetts. The railroad demolished the asylum and leveled the hill in 1929.

Date

1811

Source

http://bostonmaps.neu.edu/omeka/admin/items/show/252