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McLean Hospital National Register District

  • Also Known As: McLean Asylum

  • Address: 115 Mill St
  • Travel Genus: Sight
  • Sight Category: Historic District



Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
1811/02/25 Rev John Bartlett Advocate Massachusetts General Hospital Corporation is chartered by the Massachusetts Legislature. The Corporation is intended to treat both physical and mental illnesses, with a separate facility for each.
1816/12/00 Joseph Barrell estate in Charlestown, Mass (later Somerville) is bought. The Barrell mansion, originally designed by Charles Bulfinch in 1792, is adapted by Bulfinch and Mathew Parris as the home to the Superintendent and the administration building.
1832/00/00 Mary Elizabeth Sawyer Tyler Work Mary Sawyer joins the McLean Asylum of Somerville staff as an attendant. She worked for many years as the matron at the McLean Asylum and her husband, Columbus Tyler, was steward for about 40 years.
1837/00/00 Dr Luther V Bell Superintendent Dr Luther V Bell serves as superintendent to the McLean Asylum from 1837 to 1856 and 1857 to 1858.
1844/00/00 Dr Luther V Bell Vocation 13 Asylum superintendents from the Eastern Seaboard, including McLean's Luther V Bell establish the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane, now known as the American Psychiatric Association.
1875/00/00 Frederick Law Olmsted Sr Work From 1872 to 1874, the Asylum commissions Frederick Olmsted and a civil engineer Joseph Curtis to conduct site surveys on a new location for the hospital. In 1875, the Trustees buy 107 acres on Wellington Hill in Belmont from the Waverley Land Company.
1880/08/28 Charles T Jackson Died Charles Thomas Jackson dies at the McLean Asylum. He is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA.
1895/10/01 The new McLean Hospital opens at its current location. The Trustees and Superintendent Edward Cowles (1879-1904) developed the campus with a number of cottages where individual patients received care, surrounding a large administration building.
1898/00/00 Frederick Law Olmsted Sr Health Due to increasing senility, Frederick Law Olmsted is admitted to McLean Hospital in Massachusetts.
1903/08/28 Frederick Law Olmsted Sr Died Frederick Law Olmsted passes away at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts.
1944/00/00 As late as 1944, McLean is a self-sustaining community, operating a farm, an upholstery shop and a blacksmith shop. Beyond fish and some meat and dairy products bought during two weekly tips to Quincy Market, all food was produced on the McLean grounds.
1953/09/14 Silvia Plath Health Sylvia Plath enters McLean Hospital for six months of treatment, which she will write about in "The Bell Jar". She stays at the Women's (South) Belknap House. The Bell Jar
1959/04/00 John Forbes Nash Patient John Nash is admitted to the McLean Hospital where he will be diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Nash stays in Bowditch Hall from April to May 1959.
1963/00/00 Ray Charles Criminal After his arrest for possession of pot and heroin, Ray Charles is sentenced to McLean for observation. Ray wrote, "The nicest part was meeting one of the nurses who I got next to a little later on". While there, Ray entertained his fellow patients.
1964/00/00 Louis Agassiz Shaw II Health After confessing to strangling his maid in 1964, Louis Agassiz Shaw II is committed to McLean Hospital, where he will live for 23 years.
1967/00/00 James Taylor Health Sleeping 20 hours a day, James Taylor succumbs to depression and is sent to McLean Hospital. Although grateful, after 10 months, he checks himself out against medical advice. He later wrote a song about it: Knocking Round the Zoo.
1967/04/00 Susanna Kaysen's parents send her to McLean Hospital for treatment for depression. Diagnosed her with borderline personality disorder, she will leave after 18 months. In 1993 she wrote a memoir about experience "Girl, Interrupted" which was made into a mo
1970/00/00 Robert Lowell Health Suffering from manic depression, Robert Lowell stays at McLean Hospital four times in eight years. In his poem "Waking in the Blue" in 1976, Lowell describes the Mayflower screwballs at McLean.
1985/00/00 Aerosmith Health After his Aerosmith bandmates confront him about his drug use, Steven Tyler checks himself into the rehabilitation wing of McLean Hospital.
1985/00/00 Marianne Faithfull Health Addicted to drugs and alcohol, Marianne Faithfull attempts to dry out in Minnesota and then checks into McLean in 1985.
1990/00/00 David Foster Wallace Health The Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House in "Infinite Jest" is based on Granada House in Brighton, Conn. David Foster Wallace spent time there after a four-week stay at McLean Hospital for help with alcoholism, drug addiction and depression. Infinite Jest (book)

Data »

Particulars for McLean Hospital National Register District:
Historic Use Agricultural fields
Architectural Style American Colonial Revival
Historic Use Animal facility
Area of Significance Architecture
Criteria Architecture-Engineering
Higher Learning College
Area of Significance Community Planning and Development
Area of Significance Education
Area of Significance Health-medicine
Sight Category Historic District
Criteria Historic Event
Historic Use Hospital
Area of Significance Landscape Architecture
Owner Local
Disease Mental Illness
Level of Significance National
Owner Private
Historic Use Sanatorium
Area of Significance Social History
Level of Significance State
Affliction Struggles with Addiction
Architectural Style Tudor Revival

US National Registry of Historic Places Data »

Accurate at time of registration: 23rd January 2003

Registry Name: McLean Hospital National Register District
Registry Address: 115 Mill St.
Registry Number: 02001733
Resource Type: District
Owner: Private, Local
Architect: Multiple
Architectural Style: Colonial revival, Tudor revival
Attribute: et al.
Area in Acres: 308
Contributing Buildings: 38
Non-Contributing Buildings: 10
Contributing Sites: 13
Contributing Structures: 17
Non-Contributing Structures: 10
Other Certification: Date received-pending nomination
Certification: Listed in the National Register
Level of Significance: National; State; Local
Area of Significance: Architecture, Community Planning and Development, Education, Health-medicine, Landscape architecture, Social history
Applicable Criteria: Event, Architecture-Engineering
Historic Function: Landscape, Education, Health care, Agriculture, subsistence
Historic Sub-Function: Hospital, Sanatorium, Agricultural fields, Animal facility, College
Current Function: Landscape, Health care, Recreation and Culture, Education
Current Sub-Function: Hospital Sanatorium Conservation area Park Plaza Outdoor recreation School

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