Ohio Hospital for Epileptics

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In 1890, the Ohio government established the Ohio Hospital for Epileptics in Gallipolis, Ohio. The hospital was the first of its kind in the United States and the largest institution dedicated to the care of epileptics. The hospital opened on November 30, 1893. Originally, the hospital was to consist of thirty-six buildings. The administration buildings were to be in the center, with cottages for the patients encircling the other buildings. Each cottage was to hold fifty patients. As of 1901, the hospital consisted of an administration building, thirteen residence cottages, a laundry cottage, a schoolhouse, two vocational buildings, one kitchen, a cold house to store food, two dining rooms, one power plant, and a cottage for insane patients that could house two hundred people. All epileptics in Ohio were eligible for care at the hospital, however, the institution’s maximum capacity was 1,060 patients in 1901.

Prior to the creation of the Ohio Hospital for Epileptics, many epileptics, if their families were unable to care for them, resided in county poorhouses. In the hospital, the patients received medical care, adequate food and clothing, and an education. The Ohio Hospital for Epileptics closed in 1976. The hospitals buildings no longer exist, with the exception of two sandstone water towers, which inmates from the Ohio Penitentiary constructed for the hospital’s use. The towers are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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