Massillon State Hospital for the insane opened in 1898 in Massillon Ohio, a small town not far from me. The original Hospital complex was designed when the “Cottage” design of mental hospitals dominated. This was a well-known property when I was in high school, rumors of Haunted buildings, scary tunnels and all sorts of tales and urban legends were rumored back then. Over the years many of the old structures were demolished for new buildings, some burnt down by vandals. The new hospital still operating on the grounds is Heartland Behavioral Healthcare, a State-run facility.


Back in 2009 I captured a photo of what I believe is the admin building pictured above, one of the last original hospital structures which is still standing on the grounds, others say it was the lead physicians building. I am not sure of the exact name but this unique beautiful structure is still standing on the grounds. Like I mentioned this was taken back in 2009 in my not so good beginning HDR  days but none the less it shows the beauty of this older structure. I wish I had a wider view but I was limited in gear back then. Today, this place is locked down like a prison and heavily patrolled by state security officers. Should you go anywhere on the grounds you will be greeted within minutes by security, and most likely be charged with trespassing, recently there have been some problems at the facility so I am sure security is at the highest level now.

A few years ago I was lucky enough to have some super top secret sources that worked out a plan that allowed my wife and I a short time inside the admin building. It was a long time coming before it was agreed that we could enter this cool place, only a few hospital admin and security had access. I took the camera with me, I was a bit limited to what I could shoot as it was dark inside, we explored the place for a short time and I did get a few shots to show inside the structure. I have not seen any online images from the inside and was reluctant to post these when I shot them to protect sources that allowed us this opportunity. There are strong ties to once Governor and President William McKinley on the property with several stories involving the President and his wife and this building, whether they are true or not is beyond me. The building is rich with history for sure as these images will show.

Massillon State Hospital

President William McKinley 25th President of the United States, assassinated 9/14/01

Massillon State Hospital II

The Dining Room

Massillon State Hospital III

Massillon State Hospital IIII

The Upper floors included lots of old artifacts from the hospital

Massillon State Hospital IIIII

The most interesting part is the comments and conversations that took place on the photograph of this place on Flickr, people actually commented that lived in this house or who had relatives that lived there. Very interesting to read, clicking on this LINK will take you to the image and comments.

Thanks for looking!

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. How awesome! Great work as usual! Looks like Stephen King would have some serious inspiration at this place! Creepy for sure, but I’ll have to check out the comments on flickr…

  2. This is EPIC Mike!! LOVE those inside shots, they all come together to tell a visual story, yet they still leave a ton to those with inquiring minds, like mine!

  3. That was actually the “Superintendent’s Residence” and thank you for the photos. I worked there from 1974-1978 and never got into that building. There had long been a myth that the building was built for a retirement home for William McKinley as his wife was an epileptic and at that time, it was considered a major mental illness. And yes, she was an epileptic but the myth was not true. Amazingly, after his assassination, she never had another seizure.

    1. In 1956 I spent 3 months as a student nurse there. If we still sheltered and treated the mentaly ill
      today there would less crime and homeless on streets.

  4. My grandfather was a patient for 7 years and died in 1944.I’d like to Know if there are any records from patients. Thank you.

  5. I had an uncle there in the 60s. Eddie Butler. Visited him with my dad. Very upsetting memories. How can I find out whatever happened to him?

  6. I retired from there in 2017. The big pic in the beginning is McKinley hall. was mainly administrative , toward the end. Though i remember transporting pts to concerts there many times. The other interior pics are mostly The McKinley mansion. Which housed the police dept. in its last few years of use. now it mainly houses raccoons…

  7. I spent many days in that house as a guest of the daughter of the Superintendent Frank Puntenny during the late 70’s while they lived there. It ‘s majestic Victorian styling was gorgeous. I have been through all of the house from top to bottom and wish I had pictures to share. My favorite room was the solarium and the 3rd floor servants quarters were always fun!

  8. I lived in that house for several weeks in the Fall of 1981. The President’s upstairs bedroom was spectacular ……just like the rest of the house. It was a large room with a very high ceiling that took up most of the upstairs, and featured a huge map of the entire USA painted onto to the wall so that the President could (lay in bed and) look at that huge map of the entire country.

  9. Pictures are so beautiful my sister spent half her life there. I would love to buy some pictures if possible. Thanks deb

  10. My mother trained to become a registered nurse at Massillon
    State during WWII Cadet Nursing proram.

  11. Fantastic Mike – my maternal Grandmother was a patient here in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. She had schizophrenia and I remember the Sunday visitations and the vibe being a much like the “Girl Interrupted” movie! I believe she resided in a larger resident building, that would be gone now, but it did have a solarium that we spent time in with her.

  12. I toured this home with my ex-husband, Frank Fleischer, who became the Superintendent of the hospital in 1987. The former Supr’t. had lived there with his family of 6 children!! It was a beautiful Victorian home with huge rooms, a butler kitchen and a circular drive in the back used for carriages. We politely declined the offer to live there.

  13. My mother worked there from 73 to 93. I have been on the grounds many times They used to farm this land

  14. Worked at the Hospital 9 years. I could write a book about my experience during those years. I will check out your contact page about the pictures. The work was hard and at the time when I started I made $2.54.

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Massillon State Hospital