Massillon History: State Hospital

Massillon State Hospital

written by archives intern Hannah Sues

 

During William McKinley’s first term as the governor of Ohio, the city of Massillon was chosen for the very first state hospital in the United States and Canada in 1892 (the site was authorized in this same year). The construction of the hospital began in 1893 with the groundbreaking for McKinley Hall. This hall was built while William McKinley was governor, and was the first hall used to house mental patients. The hospital opened on September 6, 1898, housing 300 patients from 21 different counties.

Even though it holds the name of a “city” hospital, it was not really owned by Massillon itself. This is because there was no money collected from the city in taxes, and the “hospital supported entirely from the money received from patients for services rendered”. The hospital is both a member of the American and Ohio Hospital Associations and it functions through the Board of Trustees (consisting of nine local men).The hospital was originally the Eastern Ohio Mental Asylum, but was later changed to the Massillon State Hospital.

The McKinley Hall hospital was one of the most popular and “the most beautiful institution in the world”. By 1950, the hospital housed 3,100 patients with approximately 365 full and part time workers and nurses. The expanse of the land was so beautiful that many family picnics took place on the lawn, as well as the Massillon football and baseball games.

Under Dr. Hyde, the most popular superintendent of the hospital was very well liked and Judge John H. Lamneck said that Dr. Hyde “did more than any other single individual in Ohio for the mentally ill”.

The Massillon Museum does not hold any archives pertaining to patients or the function of the hospital. The Museum does, however, have a small collection of postcards and other photographs, documenting the interior and exterior of most state hospital buildings. For more information contact Archivist Mandy Pond over the phone: 330-833-4061, or via email.