A Brief History of Ohio’s Original Mental Health Facility

In Ohio’s early years it lacked a facility to treat those with mental illnesses. Unfortunately, anyone with mental illness who couldn’t be cared for at home were housed in local jails or in the Ohio Penitentiary, probably exacerbating their illness. Thankfully in 1835 the Ohio Lunatic Asylum was established through a bill passed by the Ohio General Assembly. This was the first state-supported hospital in Ohio. And was the first facility west of the Allegheny Mountains established to treat mental illness.

The asylum was built in the state capital of Columbus on a plot of 30 acres on East Broad Street. At the time it cost $61,000 to complete. In 1838 it opened and quickly became home to more than 100 patients.

The asylum was unique in that it did not turn away patients based on their family’s ability to pay for treatment and housing.  As other facilities were built throughout the state the facility renamed itself the Central Ohio Lunatic Asylum and for several years housed and treated more than three-hundred patients.

In November of 1868 the majority of the facility was destroyed by fire. Surviving patients were re-homed at the Ohio School for the Deaf but these patients were quickly sent home or to prisons.

The asylum was rebuilt on West Broad Street on 300 acres of land and was completed in 1877 (after seven years of construction). It cost 1.5 million dollars and was the largest structure in the US until the Pentagon was built in the 1940s.

The renamed Columbus Hospital for the Insane (eventually renamed to the kinder title of Columbus State Hospital in 1894) it followed the teachings of Thomas Kirkbride. By 1935 the hospital would be called home by almost 3,000 patients. The building had troubles with fluctuations in state funding and was demolished in the 1990’s to make space for office buildings.



Famous Female Athletes of Ohio

Ohio has its own special place in sports history–here are some brief highlights of just a few female Ohioans who made their name in sports.

From Loveland, Ohio: Maude Bechdolt Detro competed in the Summer Olympics, 1972, in archery. She came in 28th.

Grove City, Ohio: Ann Grossman was a nationally ranked tennis player at just the age of 9. In 1988, she qualified to play at the US Open (she was just 16) and went pro just two years later in 1988 (at the age of 18). In 1998 after an impressive career she retired.

60 Years before the WNBA would even exist, the girls of Elmore High School (1931) took home the Ottawa County Championship.

Commercial Point, Ohio: Sarah Fisher found herself the 3rd youngest driver and, overall, the youngest woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500 at the turn of the century in 2000. She also became the youngest woman to place, coming in at an impressive 3rd.

Formed in 1971 the Toledo Troopers formed to play in the Women’s Professional Football League. They went on to become one of the most-winning teams in all of professional football history.

These highlights capture just some of Ohio’s famous female athletes.

A Brief History of The Lafayette Hotel, Marietta OH

MSN recently rated the “most haunted” hotel in every state. So, what spooky spot did they pick for Ohio? The beautifully appointed Lafayette Hotel in Marietta, OH.

Those who believe the hotel to be haunted often say it is the old owner and that he likes to play tricks on guests by moving around items in their rooms, overturning their suit cases and emptying shampoo bottles.

Yet the real history of the hotel is far more fascinating. Marietta was established as the first permanent settlement in 1788. The hotel was named for the Marquis de Lafayette who was the French hero of the American Revolution who visited Marietta in 1825. Today locals still like to boast that Lafayette was the first tourist to visit Marietta. A plaque near the hotel marks where he came ashore.

Before the Lafayette Hotel was built stood the Bellevue Hotel, built in 1892. It had fifty-five steam heated rooms and was four stories tall. It also included a bar and call bell system in all rooms. Their marketing promised hot and cold baths and the rate was only about two dollars a night. The Bellevue was taken by fire in 1916, Lafayette guests can view pictures of the fire in Gunroom Restaurant.

A Marietta man rebuilt the hotel in 1918 and named it the Lafayette. Today the rooms still have many artifacts from the hotel’s past bringing together this wonderful story from Ohio history.

Famous Ohioans: Hallie Quinn Brown

Hallie Quinn Brown was born in 1850 in Pittsburgh, PA. Brown’s parents were former slaves. The family moved to Canada first before settling in Wilberforce, OH. Here Brown would attend Wilberforce College. She received a degree in 1873. Brown would go on to teach at Allen University and even serve as Dean for the University. She would become Dean of Women at Tuskegee Institute. Brown eventually comes back to Ohio where she taught in the Dayton public school system.

Brown had a long-time interest in public speaking. In 1895 she would address a large audience at the Women’s Christian Temperance Union Conference in London. Serving as one of the US representatives in 1899 she spoke at the International Congress of Women in London, UK. Brown also had the honor of speaking before Queen Victoria.

Brown became involved in the suffrage campaign for women’s right to vote. Not slowing down, Brown helped organize the Colored Women’s League in Washington, D.C.. This organization would ally with others to become the National Association of Colored Women. Brown would become president of NACW and in the last year of her position spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH.

Hallie Q. Brown wrote and published several notable books. The most well know was her Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction. In which Brown documented the lives of African American women of the time. She died in Wilberforce, Ohio in 1949.

Harriet Taylor Upton, Famous Ohio Suffragette

Harriet Taylor was born in Ravenna, Ohio in 1853, daughter of Judge Ezra Taylor. In 1880, Upton’s father was elected to Congress to succeeding President Garfield as he left the position. In Washington DC where she moved with her father Upton would meet Susan B. Anthony and other members of the suffrage movement.

Once back in Ohio, Upton became an essential organizer and the first president of the Suffrage Association of Warren. Her family had moved to Warren previous to her father’s appointment to Congress.

In 1894 became the treasurer of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. This was the leading national organization for women’s suffrage. Upton brought that organization’s headquarters to Warren for about seven years between 1903-10.

Upton saw the passing of the 19th amendment. Afterwards she was elected Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Republican National Convention. In 1924 she tried running for Congress but did not win the campaign. Upton had some success as a politician by being elected to the Warren Board of Elections.
Upton and her husband lost their wealth during the Great Depression. Unfortunately, Upton spent her final days in poverty in California. Harriet Taylor Upton died in 1945 at 91 years of age.

Today, Upton’s legacy is upheld at the Harriet Taylor Upton House in Warren, OH. It is registered as a National Historical Landmark and was saved from destruction by local activists who also worked with a lawyer from California to have her cremains moved to her Warren home instead of a pauper’s grave.