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Article-a-Day #101: Atlas Obscura-Crownsville Hospital Center Asylum for Black Americans

THIS UNSETTLING INSTITUTION WAS THE site of many gruesome practices such as lobotomies, pneumoencephalography, and insulin shock therapy. The Hospital for the Negro Insane of Maryland changed its name to Crownsville State Hospital in 1912, just two years after it was built. It stands on 566 acres of old tobacco farmland that the state bought for $19,000, part of a plan to reform the treatment of mental patients in the area.

The hospital was chronically crowded and understaffed―by 1949 there were 1,800 patients in a space intended for 1,100, with fewer than 10 doctors on campus.