Arkansas State Lunatic Asylum

(FH Truth Meter = 100% true story)

The Arkansas State Lunatic Asylum opened in 1883, across from what is now the Taco Bell on Markham street. If you look closely you will notice the different architectural styles of the two buildings .

The Asylum was built in the Kirkbride style, as many were in that century. The architecture itself was thought to have curative properties. This theory has since been abandoned. The structure was demolished in the 1960s and replaced with the mod architecture which you can find there now.

According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, The Lunatic Asylum’s name was considered too insensitive even by 1905 standards when it was changed to the Arkansas State Hospital for Nervous Diseases. Its name was further changed in 1933 to the Arkansas State Hospital, which is what it is called today.

Above photo taken in 1963, shortly before demolition.

The photo below is of the structure which replaced it. Planet of the Apes movies comes to mind or perhaps a zombie apocalypse.

Philo Oliver Hooper was a founder of what is today UAMS, and served as superintendent of the asylum. Incidentally, his own wife was confined there as an inmate. More incidentally, Philo Hooper is direct ancestor of this strange man: Mark Hooper

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Photo credits: Encyclopedia of Arkansas, UAMS Library’s Historical Research Center, Arkansas History Commission, & Mark Hooper’s Facebook page.



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4 comments on “Arkansas State Lunatic Asylum
  1. Sally Graham says:

    My great-grandfather died here. I now work less than two blocks away. And a street over is Cedar Heights Apts. Plantation of the Thompsons in Alabama was Cedar Heights.

  2. My father grew up on the corner of Lee and Ash Street. He said at night with the windows up , many years before airconditioning, he could hear the screaming of the patients. Many times he could not distinguish if the screeching was actually people or the wild cats at the zoo. Eerie.

  3. Remember Peck's? Wasn't it demolished many years ago where a Backyard Burger now sits?

  4. The progression of treating mental health conditions has come a long way, thankfully.