Spring Grove Hospital Center

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Spring Grove Hospital Center
Location55 Wade Ave, Catonsville, Maryland, United States
CoordinatesCoordinates: 39°15′53″N 76°43′21″W / 39.26472°N 76.72250°W / 39.26472; -76.72250
FundingGovernment hospital
Hospital typePsychiatric hospital
Affiliated universityUniversity of Maryland
ListsHospitals in Maryland
The Spring Grove campus as it appears today.
1853 architect's rendering of the proposed new buildings for the Maryland Hospital for the Insane at Spring Grove. Construction was completed in 1872, though the buildings were eventually demolished in 1963.

Spring Grove Hospital Center, formerly known as Spring Grove State Hospital, is a psychiatric hospital located in the Baltimore, Maryland, suburb of Catonsville.

Founded in 1797, Spring Grove Mental Hospital is the second oldest continuously operating psychiatric hospital in the United States. Today, the hospital operates 425 beds [1] and has approximately 800 admissions and discharges a year. Service lines include adult and adolescent acute psychiatric admissions, long term inpatient care, medical-psychiatric hospitalization, forensic evaluation services, inpatient psychiatric research, and assisted living services. The facility is owned and operated by the State of Maryland and is the location of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center which is renowned for its research into the causes of schizophrenia.

Richard Sprigg Steuart, who championed construction of the facility at Spring Grove.


18th Century[edit]

Founded in 1797, Spring Grove is the nation's second-oldest psychiatric hospital. Only the Eastern State Hospital which was founded in 1773 in Williamsburg, Virginia, is older. In its long history it has been variously known as The Baltimore Hospital, The Maryland Hospital, The Maryland Hospital for the Insane, and finally as The Spring Grove Hospital Center. Originally built as a hospital to care for Yellow Fever for the indigent away from the city, as the Maryland Hospital. In 1840 the hospital expanded to exclusively care for the mentally ill. In 1873, the buildings were torn down as the facility relocated to Spring Hill. The original site is now home to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.[2]

19th Century[edit]

The present site was purchased in 1852 by which time the original buildings had become inadequate. Dr. Richard Sprigg Steuart, then President of the Board and Medical Superintendent, managed to obtain authorization and funding from the Maryland General Assembly for the construction of the new facility at Spring Grove. In co-operation with the social reformer Dorothea Dix, who in 1852 gave an impassioned speech to the Maryland legislature, Steuart chaired the committee that selected the Hospital's present site in Catonsville, and he personally contributed $1,000 towards the purchase of the land.[3]

The cost of purchasing 136 acres (55 ha) of land for the hospital was $14,000, of which $12,340 was raised through private contributions, with Steuart himself personally contributing $1,000, a very large sum at the time. The purchase was completed in 1853, but construction of the new buildings was delayed by the Civil War, and the hospital was not finally completed until 1872,[4] when it was described by one contemporary as "one of the largest and best appointed Insane Asylums in the United States".[5]

Steuart's brother, Major General George H. Steuart, had two sons who suffered from mental illness,[6] and it is possible that this was one of the causes of Steuart's particular interest in Spring Grove Hospital and the treatment of mental illness.

Steuart's building (known at various times as "The Main Building", "The Center Building" or "The Administration Building,") remained the main hospital facility for almost 100 years.

20th Century[edit]

Steuart's buildings were demolished in 1963, replaced by more modern construction.[4]


In 2014, Baltimore County plans on subdividing the hospital campus in order to create an 8.8 acre regional park for the Catonsville community.[7] Additional plans include expansion of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County campus south of Wilkens Avenue to the Spring Grove campus, where the university still has the rights to a portion of the property.[8]

See also[edit]


  • Helsel, David S., and Trevor J. Blank. Spring Grove State Hospital (Images of America: Maryland) Arcadia Publishing, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7385-5326-9
  • Nelker, Gladys P., The Clan Steuart, Genealogical publishing, 1970.


  1. ^ "Spring Grove Hospital Center". State of Maryland.
  2. ^ Laura Rice. Maryland History in Prints. p. 122.
  3. ^ Nelker, 140
  4. ^ a b History of Spring Grove Hospital Archived 2010-01-26 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved March 8, 2010
  5. ^ Quinan, John Russell, p.50, Medical Annals of Baltimore from 1608 to 1880 Retrieved March 8, 2010
  6. ^ "James E. Steuart Papers, 1785-1955, MS 758 - Maryland Historical Society". Mdhs.org. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  7. ^ Lauren Loricchio. "Baltimore County takes next step to purchase Spring Grove land". Baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-10-12. Retrieved 2014-07-21.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]