Eastern State Hospital

203
City/Town: Vinita
Location Class: Hospital
Year Built: 1912
Year Abandoned: 1990's
Status: AbandonedNational Register of Historic Places
Photojournalist: David LindeJohnny Fletcher

History:
“Eastern State Hospital has been a major factor in the economy of Craig County since 1913, and its influence in mental health matters has extended well beyond its service area. When Oklahoma became a state in 1907, the mentally ill first were cared for through contract with private sanitariums. In Indian Territory, Cherokee Nation had maintained an asylum at Park Hill.

Eastern Oklahoma Hospital for the Insane was established by the Oklahoma State Legislature in 1909, to be located at Vinita, Craig County; on a 160 acre tract of land given to the State by the City of Vinita for this purpose. The land on which the hospital was established originally was owned by S.S. Cobb.

An appropriation was made to erect buildings, which were completed late in 1912. Dr. F.M. Adams was appointed August 12, 1912, by Governor Lee Croce as the hospital superintendent. His original four-year appointment stretched into a lifetime job. Dr. Adams served until his death in December 1955.

The first patients were received on January 28, 1913, when 300 people were transferred by special train from the Oklahoma Sanatorium at Norman. The special train was unloaded at a siding designated “Asylum Spur,” a little more than a mile south of the hospital. Wagons were sent to carry the women and a few older men, and the others walked to the new hospital.

During 1914 Building No. 3 was completed, and immediately 300 more patients were moved here from Norman. By 1954, the institution had a capacity of 2,600 patients and a capital investment of $6,541,050.

The hospital opened with two doctors, Dr. Adams and Dr. Edwin Williams, a physician from Philadelphia who had some experience with the mentally ill. He returned to the east about two years later, and Dr. P.I. Hays became assistant superintendent. Dr. Hays remained on the staff, succeeding Dr. Adams as superintendent and serving until October 1961. Both doctors were widely recognized for pioneering efforts in treatment of the mentally ill. The gradual expansion over the years, to the peak population of the mid-1950’s, saw buildings steadily added, and more land acquired.

Facilities which were added included hospital wards for male and female patient, 1916; administration building, 1922; barn, implement sheds, greenhouse, new power house equipment in 1924; a fire station and sewage plant, 19,30; a canning plant in 1938; central dining room, kitchen, a maximum restraint building for men, 1939; administration building, 1949; an employees’ dormitory in 1953, named Adams Hall in honor of the long-time superintendent.

After Adams Hall was completed, a two-story house known as the “Farm House” was torn down. The house had been the home of Mr. and Mrs. S. S. Cobb before the hospital was established. For many years, most of the hospital employees were required to live on the grounds. Meals were provided as part of the salary. Some roomed in basements of ward buildings and others lived in two old barracks buildings, according to long-time employees. These buildings were moved in after World War Two.

During the years of peak patient population, the farm was an important economic factor. Swine, poultry, and dairy operations provided meat and milk, while garden produce was used fresh and also was canned for later use. Many farm-oriented patients worked alongside employees, and this provided valuable therapy.

The hospital’s Holstein dairy herd was considered one of the best in the state, with some of the cattle setting production records and winning prizes at state fairs. The dairy was closed in 1968. Other farming operations were gradually phased out in the early 1970’s. Through the first 40 years of the hospital’s history, much of the patient care was custodial in nature. Staff was limited, but treatments, which were innovative at the time, were introduced.

Dr. Hays pioneered in many types of treatment, including luminal, sodium amy-tal, and various types of shock treatment. He was among the first to use malaria in treatment of syphilis. He was the first in the nation to use atropine sulphate as a treatment for Parkinsonian syndrome. In 1956, the ESH staff under Dr. Hays’ direction took part in a research program to test the tranquilizing drugs Thorazine and serpasil.

Dr. Adams became recognized as one of the nation’s foremost hospital administrators. Even with limited funds and staff, he pioneered in new types of treatment and psychotherapy. For his service in the field of mental illness, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in November 1954.

In 1947, the Hospital was renamed Eastern State. From that time forward, the state saw increased awareness of the needs of the mentally ill and increased funding which made possible more intensive, specialized treatment.

The dining room burned in 1951; a new central kitchen with men and women’s dining rooms was built about five years later. Dr. W.C. Reed, Vinita dentist who had served the hospital part-time for 20 years, closed his private practice and became full-time dentist at ESH.

In 1951, Sam Seabolt became director of the Recreation Department. He remained on the staff 33 years, serving as Director of Activity Services, comprising occupational, recreational, music, work therapies, and volunteer services. Until 1983 he also supervised the chaplain and adult education services. A new medical service building was opened in 1952; in 1960 the building was named Hays Treatment Center in honor of Dr. P.L. Hays.

During the 1950’s, the Rev. Moody Nicholson, who had been pastor of Vinita’s Pilgrim Presbyterian Church, became full-time chaplain at the hospital. Later, an All Faiths Chapel was provided. Dr. A.D. Barrett is head chaplain.

In 1956 the first Department of Nursing was established, with Dorothy Hall, RN, a professional nurse administrator, as director.

When she took the post, ESH had six professional nurses and nearly 400 non-professional workers in psychiatric nursing, responsible for 72 ward units. By contrast, at the end of February 1984, the nursing department had 460 employees of whom 64 were Registered Nurses and 58 Licensed Practical Nurses. In 1984 the hospital was operating 18 ward units with a daily census of less than 400. Although more than 3,500 admissions were recorded in 1983, average length of stay was 39.6 days.

Volunteers have played a vital role in the hospital. Red Cross volunteers from Miami, Vinita, Claremore, Nowata devoted much time to work with patients. The Bartlesville Gray Ladies, who began weekly trips to ESH in 1955 and Gray Men, continue to serve, as have some Vinitans.

After the resignation of Dr. Hays, Dr. Wayne J. Boyd was superintendent until 1963. He was succeeded by Dr. Ruth V. Annadown, 1963-64. Dr. B.F. Peterson then came from Tennessee in July 1964 and headed the hospital until his death in 1972. Dr. A. Lawrence White served 1972-73; Dr. D.W. Shupe 1973-74; Dr. Joe Tyler 1974-78. Dr. Robert O’Toole became superintendent from October 1979 until February 1983, then Dr. Mason W. Robison assumed administrative duties.

In 1964, state mental hospitals were desegregated and patients at Taft were moved to the state hospitals in Vinita and Norman. In 1971 the first floor of Adams Hall was remodeled for administrative offices.

A dining room was located in the east wing of the Food Services Building. The changes in Food Service were especially evident. Dr. Peterson had believed that food was a factor in therapy. When men and women started having meals together, a noticeable improvement in personal appearance took place.

Outpatient services were begun in the 1960’s to provide aftercare for discharged patients.

As the patient population declined, patients needing surgery have been transported elsewhere for care. The Medical Services do include a medical clinic, laboratory, X-ray, dental clinic, and pharmacy. During Dr. O’Toole’s administration, ESH was designated as the treatment center for all inmates of the Department of Corrections requiring mental health services, and the hospital also handles all Oklahoma court-ordered observation-evaluation. Building 12 was completely renovated as a maximum security facility in 1983.

In 2006 a new facility was opened to replace the original buildings.”                                                      -Ref. asylumprojects.org

Since 2003, Oklahoma Department of Corrections facility has occupied part of state hospital’s land.




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Adam
Guest
Adam

Does anyone know of any of the information pertaining to supposed paranormal activity or apparitions at old state?

E. J.
Guest
E. J.

I worked there for 9 years and know where you will find activity because we heard it all the time. Go to #9 building on 2nd floor hospital #2. We would hear footsteps and beds being moved. Next place is the PAC that's where everyone went it had the canteen gym and everyone went to congregate. If you need any more info I would be happy to tell you. while I was there we had many deaths and suicides. You can reach me @ madjack710@ yahoo.com

Melissa
Guest
Melissa

E.J.,
Do you happen to know about how I can obtain medical records from there? My father died there. He committed suicide in 1988, and I want to know what happened. It's been 23 years now, and I have no idea on how to go about getting the answers since the place is now abandoned. 🙁

Angelia Boshuizen
Guest
Angelia Boshuizen

My mother, Carolyn Wirth, was court ordered for a 30-day stay at Eastern State Hospital in August 1986 after being diagnosed as Manic Depressive. Visiting her on a regular basis in an effort to get her discharged was an experience I'll never forget. The images are as clear today as they were when I first set foot on the facility's grounds. Looking at the photos on this website is a clear indication of the dismay that took place on a daily basis dispite the faculty's efforts to provide care for the patients. Although I am thankful there was such a… Read more »

Melissa
Guest
Melissa

My dad was there, and that's where he died 23 years ago. I never got to know him because I was only 2 years old. The hospital did not keep a good eye on him.

Elizabeth
Guest
Elizabeth

Did they bury people on site at Eastern State? Is there a cemetary? I saw a video about a hospital in Danvers where ex patients restored the cemetary at Danvers State Hospital. Its a pretty cool story. http://asylumprojects.org/index.php?title=Main_Pa

Paul
Guest
Paul

Yes there is a cemetery down the road to the East. There are only a few tombstones and the rest are only generic markers to the unclaimed. You cannot enter the cemetery.

joni
Guest
joni

My mother was committed to this hospital in 1976-1977. I can remember spending Sunday's here visiting her and walking around the grounds. She was severely mentally ill and received electric shock treatments. She was never the same once released and ended up committing suicide in 1978. I was committed to this hospital when i was 15 ( 1981) for a drug addiction. i received minimal counseling and was basically locked up 24/7. i was there, i believe, for 24 days. I would love to obtain access to the old records as well as visit the site and put to bed… Read more »

Melissa
Guest
Melissa

If you find out how to obtain the records please let me know. I need to find out about what happened to my father there.

Angela
Guest
Angela

My grandmother was first at Taft State Hospital and then it closed and was transferred here I believe. I am trying to get records as well. I don't know where to start. I've made a few calls but so far no luck. Taft was a mental facility for African Americans and closed in the 70's. Then patients were sent either to this hospital or Norman. She remained in NE Oklahoma. When I was a little girl she lived with a pastor and his wife. I'm assuming they took care of her when Eastern State Hospital closed along with three other… Read more »

christy
Guest
christy

My Great Grandfather died in this place. They said he had dementia. He had worked building roads in Tulsa and to me a heat stroke could cause dementia. He died in Vinita. They had put him on an excerciser and he died on it! My mother did find old records somewhere this is probably the 20's.

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

My great aunt was committed back in the 50's. I called the new facility and asked about her records. They sent me paper work to complete and I had to prove that I was related. They charge a fee for records, IF they can find them. I received only what they could legally send me. Good luck on your search!

Angela
Guest
Angela

What's the new facilities information? What's it named? I need to see if I can get my grandmothers records.

Hailet
Guest
Hailet

I'm sorry that you went through that

macfurdith
Guest
macfurdith

Went to ESH once to twice a week to pick up or drop off Emergency Order of Detention patients. If picking up I would stop at the Admin building, pick up property, then usually go to #8 or #9 building. #12 building was for the criminally insane, which I believe is now where DOC operates at the site. Brings back memories. Bad memories… I hated that part of my job. 🙂

AsylumBunny
Guest
AsylumBunny

Hi. 🙂 If you're not open to what I'm about to ask, I totally understand… But would you ever want to take part in an interview about your ESH experiences? If so, please contact me at asylum_bunny@yahoo.com

nikki
Guest
nikki

Are there any places like this in OK that can be visited? Abondonded ones? camey1201@yahoo.com is my email address

Fiend
Guest
Fiend

Yeah… I'm just gonna point out again that the property is used as a PRISON! Guards monitor the grounds! Going there without permission is foolish, unless you possess a cloaking device.

prison guard
Guest
prison guard

The grounds are not used as a prison(or anything else) and the only guards that monitor the grounds are the security guards at the Oklahoma Forensic Center which is now located down the road. The Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections minimum security prison which is the Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center is located next to the old hospital and utilizes some of the old hospital buildings.

Alice Griffin
Guest
Alice Griffin

How do you found out if someone you know was there? I have been trying to located my Mother. My father told me
he last heard she was in mental hospital in Okla. Year was 1966-1970. He will not give any more information.
Thanks for any help.

Marie
Guest
Marie

I know at that time there was Eastern State Hospital in Vinita and Central State Hospital in Norman — there could have been other hospital locations other than these two of which I am not aware. Google "state hospitals."

Elizabeth
Guest
Elizabeth

There is also Fort Supply State Hospital in Oklahoma. The below website will give you more info.
As for Eastern State, i am not sure how you would get records of former patients.
http://asylumprojects.org/index.php?title=Fort_Suhttp://asylumprojects.org/index.php?title=Oklahom

Jeannie Baker
Guest
Jeannie Baker

There was one in Lawton. I believe it was predominately for children. Also a childrens facility used to be in Sand Springs.

A. Bienvenu
Guest
A. Bienvenu

I am trying to see if an ancestor was there also. I talked to the lady in the medical records and she said you have to fill out a medical records release and be next of kin, otherwise you have to go to a judge and get him to rule you can get the records and then she will look them up and you can get copies. the # to the Eastern State Mental Hos. now called The Forensic Center…is 918- 256- 7841. The # for the mental institution in Norman Ok. is 405-360-5100. They are very helpful and much… Read more »

Dalene
Guest
Dalene

What is your mother's name?

Ashley
Guest
Ashley

My Team and I went out to look recently and its state property and highly guarded by their own facility security and the Vinita police…nice people but you will have to get permission in order to check out the buildings we found out the hard way. They were nice enough to tell us a few of their experiences before they kindly asked us to leave 🙂

Heather Anderson
Guest
Heather Anderson

Who do I get permission to check out the facilities? Do I call the Vinita Police department or the facility security? I live about an hour away and my partner and I would love to take some pictures and capture any paranormal activity of any kind. Thanks justtubin@yahoo.com if you have any information

shine
Guest
shine

isnt this a correction facility for the insane now ?? last time i went could not even get thru the front gate

BDH
Guest
BDH

No the correctional facility is a DOC prison located to the north of the old hospital.

sherry
Guest
sherry

i worked at VADTC and it is definitely haunted in the building i worked in!!!!

Ashley
Guest
Ashley

My newly put together Paranormal team would love to spend a night or two checking out these buildings…If this is at all possible please contact me at xxashleyxx2006@aol.com thank you.

BDH
Guest
BDH

I can tell you you wouldn't be disappointed. Get down in the old under ground tunnels that were used to move patients in bad weather and you'll hav a field day.

Jeannie Baker
Guest
Jeannie Baker

I was there in 1970 and we had to use one of those tunnels to go to the cafeteria. They were really spooky. I was also there in 1978. Both times I was in hospital care for 2 months. It was not a bad place, but it could be scary at times. While there I encountered people I knew from home, school mates , and neighbors.

Lll
Guest
Lll

I stayed at the VADTC building, (a drug and alcohol treatment program} I think it is haunted

Counselor
Guest
Counselor

the VADTC building is definitely full of spirts…I was a therapist at VADTC and I witnessed several things and also heard all the stories. I think a para normal team should go there and I would love to be part of the adventure!!!

Heather Anderson
Guest
Heather Anderson

We are not a para normal team professionally but have some experience and we would love to visit the facility with someone that has worked there in the past. I am also curious about the types of therapy that were used since Psychology is my long life study. I plan on calling around to get permission if your interested in going with us. We currently live in Spfd Mo! Thanks Counselor!!!

Sherry Miller
Guest
Sherry Miller

Hi there. This is Sherry Miller…the counselor :). I decided to look up this site again and found your response. Have you had any luck getting into Eastern State? The energy in that place is unbelievable. Definitely lots to explore in there. If you ever have the opportunity to go there you can contact me at 918-915-0084 or horsesrgreat@liverworks.com You definitely would not be disapointed in this place….smile. Take care Sherry.

shawn harlan
Guest
shawn harlan

hey Fiend and psychosaw13, can you please contact me at (580)231-2753 or at shawnharlan72@yahoo.com, my name is shawn! I have a couple questions for you if you dont mind,please!

josh
Guest
josh

its not even haunted.

sirluckylime
Guest
sirluckylime

Has anyone else tried to go here lately? I was wondering how safe it might be?

Tery
Guest
Tery

Great job on this one guys!!! The porch in shot#77 looks like a nice place to kick back!! I also like the building shots numbered 98,103,129….Were these buildings in good structural shape? They look like they should be put back to use somehow.Take care–Tery

Guest
Guest
Guest

They were not in good shape in 1983. I'm sure they are even worse now.

Alexander Powell Hay
Guest
Alexander Powell Hay

I am P.L. Hays' great grandson and namesake. I am very pleased to have found this site with the detailed history and information regarding "DOC". There is an interesting story regarding a patient escape and P.L. being shot with a .22 in the chest during the chase. Nobody knows how the patient obtained the pistol but he did.

shawn harlan
Guest
shawn harlan

wow, I would like to hear more about this history, do you know anymore about it?

Witness
Guest
Witness

I remember the incident well however do to protect the families privacy that's all I can tell you

Seven
Guest
Seven

Wow strange to see all of that. I visited a patient there and remember shooting some hoops with couple of other patients. I was only like 11 or 12 maybe, but just shoking to see how trashed it is. It could totally be renovated

Steve
Guest
Steve

Once again, there is a lot of stuff in these buildings that could be sold and the state could use the money.

BDH
Guest
BDH

Yes there is! I know at one time when the hospital was still located there we moved truck loads of old hand written records from the third floor of the old admin bldg to some of the old dorm rooms on the top floor of Adams hall. Really interesting stuff that dated back to the early days of the hospital. Rooms full of patient records stacked on pallets. The plan was to archive all these records and preserve them but I don't know if it ever got done. I've wondered if they are still there.

Leslie
Guest
Leslie

Hi! Sadly these buildings are falling down and riddled with asbestos. Nearly every building has a sign saying "contaminated" Very few buildings were salvaged. The ones that were have been turned into the Oklahoma Forensic Hospital and also a Correctional Facility. It is truly amazing to walk around. Sadly, it's in disrepair.

Donna K
Guest
Donna K

everything was auctioned off…buildings emptied.

lee corley
Guest
lee corley

Touching photo's my friend….they really strike a chord.I was in the DOC building in 1995 (not building 13),for the TADD program. These are some amazing buildings,thanks again!

E.A. Butler
Guest
E.A. Butler

I am trying to get information on my grandfather, Emery Taylor, who was a patient and died (Sept 25. 1933)at the hospital in Taft. I have not found an e-mail address or contact person for the archives.
Thank you,
E.A. Butler

stoney
Guest
stoney

you may have already tried but the state dept in OKC should have all files regarding deaths in state ran facilities to include DOC and state hospitals

Stacy Mims
Guest
Stacy Mims

I would like to put a few of the pictures of the hospital on my family website. I have a great aunt that spent almost her entire life at this facility when it was a mental hospital. Could you email me and let me know if I can use a few of the images of the outside of the buildings?
Thanks for your work on saving these great places.
I look foward to hearing from you,
Stacy

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