Welcome to Kentucky Historic Institutions!

Before you get started, please check this post for updated information, quick tips, and information on how to obtain historical records. Are you interested in using any of our information? We are happy to accommodate requests. Common requests often include: use for blogs and/or websites, media use, as well as school and non-profit use. Secondary…

Insanity: Causes, Types, and Treatments

This is a three-part series regarding the historical causes, types, and treatments of insanity in the 19th and 20th centuries. Though focus is primarily on Kentucky institutions, these apply to other institutions throughout the United States. You can visit this page to read Kentucky’s historical lunacy laws. You can also check our glossary of anachronistic…

Kentucky’s Historical Lunacy Laws

Lunacy Laws The following is a compilation of lunacy laws that were established in the Commonwealth of Kentucky up to the year 1883. Please remember to keep these laws in a historical context when reading them. The book, in its entirety, is in the public domain and can be viewed freely online. To view the…

Louisville’s 1902 Morgue Scandal

In 1894 the Board of Public Safety and Kentucky legislature passed sweeping changes to Kentucky’s laws regarding the morgue in Louisville, Kentucky and unclaimed bodies. The former held that the morgue shall be in charge of the janitor at the University of Louisville and shall be open at all hours of the day and night…

Medicine Between 1851-1951

1851 marked a formative year for Kentucky medicine when the Kentucky Medical Association was established. Within this period, rapid changes and developments occurred which advanced the field of medicine to a level never seen, or thought of, before. Rudolf Virchow, a specialist in cellular biology, taught the world that the body was, “a cell-state in…

Kentucky’s Forgotten Private Institutions

This is a very brief visual look at some of Kentucky’s long-forgotten private hospitals, institutions, and sanitariums. Many of these institutions changed ownership and names and therefore some of these are the same buildings just with different names and owners. Note: we will keep this post updated as we continue to find new additions. (The…

The Hill-Burton Act and its Impact on Kentucky

In 1946, the United States Congress passed a new law that afforded hospitals and other healthcare facilities to apply for grants and funding to construct new facilities and/or modernize existing ones. The hospitals would, in return, provide service to the local citizens of which the facility served at little or no cost. Essentially, those who…

Home Care Following Leukotomy

We have a dedicated page to historical treatments for insanity including psychosurgery. Newspaper sources are copyrighted by their respective authors/owners. In 1949, Dr. António Caetano de Abreu Freire Egas Moniz was awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with physiologist Walter Rudolf Hess, for the development of the prefrontal leukotomy. A polarizing…

State Hospital Rules and Regulations

This information pertains to regulations during the middle of the 20th century for state hospitals in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Regulations and laws were subject to change by acts of legislation. Please remember to keep this information in a historical perspective. Patient Care The director will authorize the admission of a legally committed patient so…

CSH: Martin Rollins Gallery

In January 1990, former CSH employees Martin Rollins visited the old campus and took a series of photos of the old CSH buildings. He did not realize at the time that within a few years, all of these buildings would only be a memory. Note: All photographs on this pages are used with explicit permission…