Mental Health Milestones - 1900 to 1960

A Timeline

1909 Prohibition law enacted in Tennessee.  No special facilities available for alcoholics, some of whom were cared for at State Psychiatric Hospitals.

1913 State enacted narcotics law which allowed for registration and maintenance of drug addicts.

1916 Dr. Sidney Wilgus, a representative of the National Society for Mental Hygiene, found Tennessee's institutions deficient in meeting minimum requirements for modern treatment of mental disease.

1919 Tennessee Legislature appropriated $10,000 for construction of institution for the feeble-minded.  Additional $100,000 appropriated the next year and site purchased near Nashville.

1919-1921 Federally supported clinics, including ones in Knoxville and Memphis, established for the temporary maintenance of drug addicts.  Experiment abandoned in face of public opposition.

1920 Names of State Institutions changed to Eastern, Central, and Western State Hospitals.  Previously called Hospitals for the insane.

1923 Tennessee Home and Training School for Feeble-Minded Persons (now Clover Bottom Developmental Center) opened and admitted 248 persons during first nine months of operation.

1931 Separate facility for the criminally insane opened on grounds of Central State Hospital.

1931 Separate facility for the criminally insane opened on grounds of Central State Hospital.

1943 Gailor Memorial Psychiatric Hospital opened in Memphis as intensive, short-term treatment facility for mentally ill.

1946 National Mental Health Act marks entry of Federal government into mental health care.  Chattanooga Guidance Clinic established, followed by community clinics in Knoxville and Nashville in 1948.

1953 Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services created as one of the first such departments in the nation. Governor Clement appointed the first Commissioner of the Department on March 25.

1960 Greene Valley Hospital and School (now Greene Valley Developmental Center) opened in Greeneville with 400 beds.  400 more beds were added by 1963.