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Nov 14

Topeka State Hospital Master Plan 1959

Posted on November 14, 2019 at 8:24 AM by Bill Sowers

Sixty years ago architects George H. Eicholtz and Frank E. Godding presented a plan to the Kansas Office of State Architect and the Kansas State Board of Social Welfare offering a radical change in the physical structure of the Topeka State Hospital. Their purpose for the plan reflected a change in social views on mental institutions that didn't fit the confined walls of the Topeka State Hospital.

In their statement of purpose the authors say:

"Not too many years ago a building program for our state mental institutions was no particular problem. The planning was simple, construction sites were plentiful, and the buildings were arranged primarily for custodial care. Today, this precarious method of providing space for patients would be neither acceptable to the people of Kansas nor compatible with our modern treatment program."

The report is full of photographs, drawings of proposed buildings and architectural plans. A campus setting is proposed allowing time and space for varied indoor and outdoor activities. All in all the plan shows a forward thinking way of providing mental health services for both onsite patients and out-patients. It is also a useful tool for researchers wanting to look into the physical set up of the Topeka State Hospital back in the 1950s.

You can view this booklet at the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library here:

1959 Master Plan for Topeka State Hospital

More material on Topeka State Hospital in the KGI Online Library can be found here:

Topeka State Hospital Collection at the KGI Online Library