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- Development of New York State Institutions 1851 - 1899
New York State has a long history of attempting to care for individuals with disabilities. As New York emerged from the colonial era it needed to provide for the mental health needs of its citizens. In the early 1800s, the New York Hospital was the only option for state care for the "insane." In 1824 the legislature enacted a law requiring counties to establish almshouses that would provide the care for a "dependent population" that included "paupers, lunatics and idiots." The State erected asylums for the blind, the deaf and the insane. Individuals with intellectual disabilities were often mixed in with these populations, housed with the poor, in jails or found themselves without any support or services. Science, medicine, government and social thought converged as New York sought a "cure" for the "idiots and imbeciles" and established the first institution for individuals with developmental disabilities in North America.
As the perception and understanding of "disability" changed over time, different institutions arose to provide care and to mitigate the "burden" these individuals placed on society. As "progressive" treatment and training emerged, individuals with disabilities traveled the road from institutional care to community care. This map shows some of these institutions, their history and development, and the people who lived and worked within them.
- Onondaga County, New York
1854: cornerstone for the Idiot Asylum is laid at Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York
- August 10th
1855: First pupils arrive at the Idiot Asylum, August 10th.
- Randall's Island is Constructed
1860: Idiot Asylum at Randall's Island is constructed. An Idiot school is opened there in 1866. New York County, Manhattan Borough.
1878 The New York State Asylum for Feeble-minded women of Childbearing Age is opened in Newark, New York. Wayne County
- The House of Refuge for Women at Hudson
1887: The House of Refuge for Women at Hudson, NY opens , it will be an institution for women aged 15 to 30 years of age
1891: Syracuse changes its name to the New York State Institution for Feeble Minded Children
- Oneida Custodial Asylum
1893 The Oneida Custodial Asylum opened in Rome New York, Oneida County. One Year later it is known as the State Custodial Asylum for Unteachable Idiots.
- Craig Colony
1894 Dr. William P. Spratling was appointed the first superintendent of Craig Colony
- Patients arrive at Craig Colony
1896 The first Patients arrive at Craig Colony for Epileptics in Sonyea, New York, Livingston County
- Asylum for Idiots in Albany
1851 Hervey B. Wilbur opens the Asylum for Idiots in Albany, an experimental school for the treatment training and cure of New York's' idiotic population, at the request of the New York State