Bartonville State Asylum

Download this issue!  Bartonville State Asylum (Peoria State Mental Hospital) – Peoria, IL
By Michael Kleen

Read about this location and more in Legends and Lore of Illinois: The Definitive Collection

Read about this location and more in Legends and Lore of Illinois: The Definitive Collection

The ruins of Bartonville Asylum, or as it is more commonly known, Peoria State Hospital, are located west of Peoria in the small town of Bartonville, which lies directly across the Illinois River.  Troy Taylor popularized this location via several books including Haunted Illinois (1999, 2004) and Haunted Decatur Revisited (2000), although it had long been an object of local curiosity.  The property owners have not been amused by the asylum’s growing notoriety, and police regularly patrol the premises looking for trespassers.

According to Taylor, Bartonville State Hospital began its life in 1885 as an empty shell and faux medieval castle.  No patients were ever housed or treated in the building and it was torn down in 1897.  The institution was rebuilt and reopened in 1902 with a new name and a new superintendent.  Now called Peoria State Hospital, a progressive physician named Dr. George A. Zeller took over the facility and instituted new, more humane treatments for mental illness.  Small cottages were built to house the patients and a dorm housed the full-time staff.  Essentially a self-contained community, the grounds also contained a store, a bakery, and a kitchen (Haunted Illinois, Pg. 216).

What happens next? Click here to download the entire issue (.pdf) and find out!


Legends and Lore of Illinois Vol. 2 Digital Edition

Order all 12 issues of the Legends and Lore of Illinois from 2008 in a special digital edition for your favorite e-readers. Places covered in Vol. 2: Archer Cemetery, Sunset Haven, Peoria State Hospital (Bartonville Asylum), Airtight Bridge, University of Illinois, Calvary Cemetery and ‘Seaweed Charlie,’ Lakey’s Creek, Peck Cemetery, Blood’s Point Road, Old Union Cemetery, Hartford Castle, and more! Plus, read letters from our readers, book reviews, ghostly games, and put your knowledge of these locations to the test with challenging trivia questions. Don’t miss these classic issues from the archives of the Legends and Lore of Illinois.

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  1. My Assistant director, and myself help out the owners of the Asylum. If you have any questions about the place just drop me a line and I would be more than happy to help you out.
    Toby, Director / Case mgr. K.B.L.P.R. Illinois


    • Hi,
      I was wondering, I’m heading to Missouri the end of this month to do a Paranormal Investigation with Greg Myers (Children of the Grave/Sci-Fi channel) and would love to get an up close look at Bartonville State Asylum; do you think the owners would allow this?
      Thank you for your time,
      Lori (Lead Investigator for Paranormal Group: CPR)


      • JEB BUCKINGHAM-Washington state says:

        I saw “Children of the Grave” on the Sc Fi Channel, with Greg Myers and Steven LaChance, and a few others. Supposedly, Lawler-Ford Road south of St. Louis, MO is haunted by all these children on what is now called “Zombie Road”. What a horrifying place to be at night, especially when they heard the little children laughing and playing in the woods. Ughhhh……


      • Heaven Shelton says:

        I have an paranormal group. how would I go about Investigation at Bartonville?


    • deena rothermel says:

      are they doing tours at this time I’m unable to find any infor about any tours


    • Melissa says:

      Hi I am interested in visiting the place can i get an exact address? Also how do I get permission to visit inside???


    • Vohney Witt says:

      Do patient records still exist, looking for my grandfather’s records. He was committed in the 1950s and was there until it closed. Any idea of where to start?


  2. Janice says:

    How do you contact the owners to do a overnight investigation? I belong to Southwest Ghost Finders in Springfield, Mo.


  3. Did the crew from Paranormal State really do an investigation at the Hospital?


  4. russick says:

    i have a group of people possibly interested in coming in and helping clean up the building like limestone key club has done in the past years. the leader of my program wants me to find out if we could help in any way and how structurally sound the building is because he refuses to consider if there is a high chance of any of the members of our group getting hurt. Please contact me at the given email address with any information or if there was someone else to contact concerning volunteering if you could please forward my request to them i would appreciate that very much. Thanks! -Frankie Russick


  5. Cheryl Barnett says:

    Is there a listing of patients available? Looking for Robert Craig Waters, 1886 – 1970. Thank you!


  6. Jessica Rice says:

    I am only a student, but I’m working on a project because I’m interested in the field of psychology. I was hoping I could be able to take pictures of how the Asylum looks now, and take notes of the structure. It would be a great help to my project and my studies for the future. Thanks so much! – Jessica Rice


  7. I was wondering if they are going to do a sleep in, or a tour of the place on halloween of 2010? If so do you know the price, time and day?


  8. I am looking to take pictures for a photography project for school and would be interested in doing an overnight stay with a group at the same time if someone wants to contact me about that I would appreciate it.


  9. Dawn Davis says:

    My mother worked there for many years, till it closed. She was a patient aide.


  10. Cynthia Nall says:

    I too am looking for any information on my grandmother, Grace Klick, who was there in the 1940’s is there any records of were she might be buried? Why so much secrecy?


    • From what I understand a lot of documentation was lost. But, try the Peoria Historical Society to see if they can guide you in the right direction. Good luck. My grandmother worked there and now has alzheimers. I really wish I knew more about the facility and also what she did as an employee.

      Also, the owners may also be able to guide you. They’re now open for historical tours! Check it out!


  11. Tiffany says:

    I know these are old posts, but I am thinking of working in a asylum. I am fairly young and not trying to make profit or anything off my visit, I would like to visit to get the feel of how a ward is/was and would like to take notes for myself. This is for not writing documents only for my own personal carrer choices in my future. Please feel free to help me do so? my Email is Thank you so much


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