Crownsville Hospital Center was founded in 1911 as the Hospital for the Negro Insane, a place to house African-American psychiatric patients separately from white patients in the other state hospitals.The first patients helped build the hospital’s first buildings on land that previously was a farm. Some patients weren’t even mentally ill, and scores who died at the hospital were buried in anonymous graves.
At one time, 30 percent of the patients died at the hospital, now a group of buildings boarded up and crumbling on Generals Highway.
The hospital eventually was integrated and became a modern mental health facility before it was closed in 2004 because of a declining patient population. Since then, the campus sat largely vacant.