Mount Pleasant State Hospital

Originally known as the Iowa Lunatic Asylum, Mount Pleasant State Hospital opened in 1861. It was the first public asylum in the state of Iowa, and was built between 1855 and 1865 at a cost of approximately $400,000.

The Kirkbride building was designed in a relatively modest Elizabethan style by architect Jonathan Preston of Boston, Massachusetts. Apparently, Dr. Kirkbride himself recommended Mr. Preston to the Iowa state commission.

In 1936, a fire devastated most of the administration section, sparing only a kitchen services area at the back. The state built a more modern structure in its place. Some time later in the twentieth-century, the Kirkbride's wings were torn down, and today there isn't really anything left of the original building. After Mount Pleasant was built, Iowa constructed three other Kirkbride asylums in the cities of Cherokee, Clarinda, and Independence, all three of which still stand and are in use today.

Other names for this hospital:

  • Iowa Lunatic Asylum, Mount Pleasant
  • Mount Pleasant Insane Asylum
  • Mount Pleasant Hospital for the Insane
  • Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute


Forum Topics

Read more about Mount Pleasant State Hospital in the forum.

Iowa To Close...?
There have been several articles posted about Iowa closing a state...
Early Accounts Of The Asylum
I always like reading contemporary descriptions of asylums when they were first...

Blog Posts

Iowa to Close a Kirkbride?
One of Iowa's four state psychiatric hospitals will be shut down according to an article in the Sioux City Journal: State May Close Mental Health Facility. This means yet another...
Causes of Insanity
Those familiar with 19th century asylums know all about the sometimes trivial or bizarre reasons people were "adjudged insane". If you do any kind of research into asylums or the...
More Kirkbride Buildings
In case you haven't noticed, I've been adding pages for Kirkbride buildings that no longer exist. If you go to the main buildings page and scroll down to the demolished...