State Hospital Rock Barn

stinson_creek_trail_logoIn February 1847, the Missouri General Assembly enacted legislation to “establish an Asylum for the Insane” in the state. Callaway County donated 500 acres of land and approximately $12,000 to attract the facility to Fulton. Known as the State Lunatic Asylum until 1903 when the name was changed to State Hospital Number 1, it was the first state funded mental health institution west of the Mississippi.

fsh1The original three story building opened in 1851 with 72 beds. By December of that year, the hospital housed 67 patients. The hospital closed its doors in 1861 because of the Civil War and served briefly as barracks for Federal troops. It reopened in 1863 with about 125 patients. At its peak population during the 1950s, approximately 2800 patients lived at the State Hospital, as compared to the current population of slightly more than 450 residents.

The legislature anticipated that the hospital would be self-sufficient, producing its own food and dairy goods. Originally, hospital staff were required to live on the premises and they worked together with patients to maintain vegetable gardens, raise livestock and operate a dairy farm. These ventures were so successful that by the early 20th century, the hospital provided food not only for its own residents, but for other Missouri institutions as well.

RockBarnThe 1882 Report of the Board of Managers documents the need for “a large stone stable, suitable for housing 80 to 100 cows and storing sufficient provender in the fall to supply them with food during the winter.” This edifice, know today as the Rock Barn, was completed at a cost of $4,837 and continued to be used until the dairy operation ended.

For additional information on Callaway County historical sites, visit the Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society and Museum located at 513 Court St. or at


Chicago & Alton Railroad Bridge | Kings Row-Henry Belleman | Westminster Gymnasium | Memorial Park | Hockaday House | Lovers Leap-Star Park | State Hospital Rock Barn | CCC Camp 3731 | Fulton Country Club

The City of Fulton