St Elizabeths Hospital
Established in 1855 as the Government Hospital for the Insane, St. Elizabeths Hospital has had a distinguished history in the treatment of the mentally ill. During the Civil War, wounded soldiers treated here were reluctant to admit that they were in an insane asylum, and said they were at St. Elizabeths, the colonial name of the land where the Hospital is located. Congress officially changed the Hospital's name to St. Elizabeths in 1916. By the 1940s, the Hospital complex covering an area of over 300 acres housed 7,000 patients. It was the first and only federal mental facility with a national scope.
In 1987, the federal government transferred the hospital operations to the District of Columbia, while retaining ownership of the western campus. The patient population has steadily declined, and the Hospital now houses 600 patients. The Hospital complex is located on a hill in southeast Washington, however, it is closed to the public.