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Huntington State Hospital, today known as the Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital, was established by the legislature as a mental health facility in 1897 and called the Home for Incurables. At the time of its inception, such hospitals were viewed as places where people with mental illnesses could be removed from society and given custodial care. The tall wire fence and iron gates gave the facility in Huntington the appearance of a penal institution rather than a hospital. The gates were taken away in 1950, and the gate house at the hospital entrance was removed in 1961.

The site, consisting of 30 acres of land, was donated to the state by the Huntington Chamber of Commerce. Located on the eastern edge of the city, the hospital fronts on Norway Avenue. In 1901, the name was changed to the West Virginia Asylum, and the patient census was 150. The peak patient population was about 1,460 in 1956. In 1916, the name was changed to Huntington State Hospital.

Tragedy struck the hospital November 26, 1952. A fire on the evening before Thanksgiving killed 14 patients, with three more later dying of injuries.

In July 1958, a vocational rehabilitation center was established, the first in the nation to be located on the same grounds as a state hospital. The center offered vocational, social, psychological, medical, and related services necessary to enable the patient to prepare for a return to community living.

In 1995, the legislature changed the facility’s name to Huntington Hospital. During the October 1999 celebration of the hospital’s centennial, Governor Cecil Underwood announced the renaming of Huntington Hospital as the Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital, a tribute to Dr. Mitchell-Bateman’s lifetime career of helping people with mental illnesses. The 110-bed psychiatric hospital is administered by the Department of Health and Human Resources. Twelve buildings are located on the site. It also provides on-site learning experiences for physicians, nurses, practical nurses, psychologists, counselors, health care administrators, technicians, and supportive services personnel.

Last Revised on July 18, 2023

Cite This Article

e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia "Huntington State Hospital." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 18 July 2023. Web. 28 May 2024.


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