Photo: "Operating Room"


The California Hospital for the Chronic Insane at Agnews was constructed following the Kirkbride plan and opened in Santa Clara, California in 1888. It was the third mental health facility in the state of California at the time. Sadly, a short 21 years later, most of the hospital was damaged during the 1906 earthquake, which wound up killing 101 patients and 11 employees. 

Dr. Stocking was superintendent at the time and he helped develop a new plan for the hospital, following the cottage plan. Buildings 3 and 4 were constructed in 1908 and designed as wards for men (Bldg 3) and women (Bldg 4). Both these buildings connect to Building 30, the clock tower building, was also known as the "Treatment" building. The building contained three drug laboratories and 2 dispensaries, an electro-theraputic treatment room, hydrotherapy room, photography lab, large solarium, nurses' rooms, massage room, dental ward and operating room. Naturally, the basement of this building also contained a morgue. 

By the 1940's, Agnews suffered overcrowding, as did many mental health hospitals in the country, and three new wards of a Spanish Colonial Revival style were constructed to accommodate the influx of patients. The hospital began to grow well into the 1960's when much of the campus was repurposed to treat mentally retarded patients and by 1971 that was the primary function of the hospital. 

In 1995, Agnews was scheduled for closure and the hospital now site abandoned and for sale.