The Topeka State Hospital, formerly known as the Topeka State Asylum, opened its doors in 1872 for treatment of the mentally ill. By the early 20th century, rumors of rape and mistreatment in the hospital had already begun. Over the course of decades, the hospital became the subject of investigation for unethically chaining patients and neglect. In 1951 the hospital received damaging criticism when it was revealed that John Crabb, a 59-year-old patient, was mentally sane and wrongfully incarcerated in the institution. After this period, the hospital rapidly underwent reforms to improve treatment and ensure correct diagnosis.

In 1987, a patient named Kenneth Waddell was transferred to the high-risk ward of the facility before the ward was closed and he was moved into the general population. On the night of February 23, 1992, he attacked and murdered music and activity therapist Stephanie Uhlrig, after he and a group of other patients were taken off-site to see a movie. While law enforcement did not find the hospital responsible, the incident was a final and damning blow to the reputation of the institution.  In 1997, the hospital closed its doors and, as of June 2010, many of the old buildings have been demolished.

The first buildings in both Topeka and Osawatomie were designed by John G. Haskell who was among the architects of the Kansas State Capitol, and the hospital was designed in according to the Kirkbride Plan.

As of 2010, the majority of the hospital had been demolished, and in June of that year, the center building was also demolished. Hummer Sports Park now occupies its space.

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Posted by Carrie Dean

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