Central State Hospital is a 192-bed adult psychiatric hospital located in eastern Louisville-Jefferson County, Kentucky. In 1869, land was bought from the Hite family, from the same original grant that would become nearby Anchorage, Kentucky. It was built on Lakeland Drive on the outskirts of Anchorage and it initially housed the "Home for Juvenile Delinquents at Lakeland". In 1873, it was converted into the state's fourth lunatic asylum and renamed Central Kentucky Lunatic Asylum. In late 1887, it was given its own post office, known simply as "Asylum", but early the next year the post office name was changed to "Lakeland" and it was commonly referred to as "Lakeland Hospital" or "Lakeland Asylum". By 1900, its official name was changed to Central Kentucky Asylum for the Insane. Later it became known as Central State Hospital. Comparable institutions are Eastern State Hospital at Lexington in Fayette County, Kentucky, and Western State Hospital at Hopkinsville in Christian County, Kentucky.
The secluded, rural setting was typical of such facilities in the late 19th century, as such an environment was thought to be beneficial for recovery from mental illness. However, not all patients had mental disorders - some suffered from brain damage, mental retardation or were simply poor or elderly. The early decades of the 1900s were marked by repeated allegations of abuse and malfeasance. Deaths went unreported and uninvestigated, and records were lost. It is unknown how many deceased patients are buried on the hospital grounds. Though built for 1,600 patients, by 1940 there were 2,400. However, starting in the 1950s, changing community perception of the mentally disturbed, led to fewer patients staying permanently in mental hospitals, and the average stay at the facility was two weeks by the 1990s.
In 1986, a new modern facility was completed on grounds adjacent to Lagrange Road, and the old buildings were abandoned. Though it flirted with privatization in the 1970s, it is publicly operated today.