The Peoria Asylum: Breathing life back into the past…

Written By: Andrew Ketterer

The Peoria Asylum and its storied past may be one of the most historic sites left intact in the Peoria Area. In 1902, the first 100 patients arrived by rail and were admitted into the Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane (original name of the Peoria Asylum). In only a couple months, there were 634 patients living in seven cottages at the Asylum.

Coupon Sheet 2014The Asylum was closed in 1973 and the 600 patients were relocated. In its prime, the Peoria Asylum hosted around 3,000 patients. Violent acts from patients and staff, as well as suicide and disease, caused thousands of deaths (rumored to be over 15,000) within the halls of the old Asylum.

For a more detailed history of the Asylum, click here.


Future Hopes for the Site

The current owners are attempting to complete a “historical restoration of the exterior of the building and a complete mixed reuse of the interior” to make the site a tax producing property once again, according to the Peoria Asylum website.

Lofts, commercial space, a bed and breakfast style hotel and a museum are all elements of the current renovation plan. Although the plan isn’t set in stone, the owners believe it is the most effective way to save the historic building.


Ghost Tours

Every Friday and Saturday night, the Asylum hosts Historical and Paranormal tours and ghost hunts through the buildings and cemeteries.

The historical tours begin at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. and are $10 per person. For an extra $10, the visitor can tour the three additional cemeteries.

Hassan1The Paranormal tours and ghost hunts begin at 6:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. and last over two hours. The Paranormal tours are $25 per person.

Lastly, the Peoria Asylum offers overnight ghosts hunts from midnight to 6:00 a.m. for $100 per person.

To schedule your visit, email Trish Weiss at


Ghost Hunters Episode

In January of this year, the new owners of the asylum, Rich Weiss and his daughter Trisha, asked for the help of “Ghost Hunters.” The members of this popular show on Syfy were excited to investigate the reports of paranormal activity. The haunted cemetery, “white lady ghost” (who was captured on film) and spooked construction workers all led to an exciting episode.

The team witnessed a few different events during their visit to the Peoria Asylum. Phantom footsteps, voices and a doll suddenly falling for no reason are evidence that this location is haunted.

But the most impactful moment of the show came when a dark human-like figure moved across the back of the graveyard in full view of the camera. Talk about a spooky thing to see!


Save The Bowen Organization

This organization was established to acquire, stabilize and maintain the historic Bowen Building of the Peoria State Hospital (Peoria Asylum), and they need your help.

The organization is currently accepting small donations for 5-50 dollars. A $25 donation earns you a free historic tour of the building. A $50 donation puts your name in the history books. You will receive a free 2-hour tour of the building, a written tax credit and your name on a brick in the brick path.

Major donations grant donors a large honorary plaque at the entrance of one wing of the building.

For more information on saving this historic building, visit the Save The Bowen website.


Fractured Spirits: Haunting at the Peoria State Hospital

On Wednesday, October 9 at 6:00 p.m. at the Main Library in Washington, author Sylvia Shults of East Peoria will present stories from her book Fractured Spirits. The book chronicles the history of the now abandoned Peoria State Hospital.

Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing. This is a free adult program that is opened to the public. No registration is required.


Kaci’s Places to Play

Check out Kaci’s spooky adventure as she tours the Bowen building in another episode of Kaci’s Places to Play.


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One thought on “The Peoria Asylum: Breathing life back into the past…

  1. Pingback: October DCP family roundup | Dark Continents Publishing

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