Created by an act of the West Virginia Legislature in 1919, Lakin State Hospital was established as an institution ‘‘for the care and cure of the mentally ill colored persons of this state.’’ The hospital began operations on February 1, 1926, when 162 patients were transferred from Weston State Hospital. In 1954, the year the U.S. Supreme Court held that segregated public schools were unconstitutional, Lakin staff and patients were integrated. An act of the legislature in 1974 changed the name to Lakin Hospital.
Located on the Ohio River about eight miles from Point Pleasant in Mason County, Lakin for many years provided mental health services to adults and children. Its facilities included brick dormitories for adult patients, a center for emotionally disturbed children, and a rehabilitation center which provided job training and other services. By the end of the 1970s, Lakin’s mission shifted. Adult psychiatric services were discontinued and care of the elderly and physically handicapped adults was expanded, while the children’s program remained. Lakin in recent years has provided long-term, intermediate care services for geriatric patients in a building constructed in the mid-1970s. Most of the older building have been demolished. Lakin Correction Center, the state’s only all-female prison, is adjacent to Lakin Hospital.
This Article was written by Larry Sonis
Last Revised on May 17, 2013