Re: 1603 W Taylor - UIC/SPH - Old Psych Hospital
Date: February 05, 2009 05:31AM
If I am thinking of the address correctly, that building used to be called the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute, or ISPI for short. It was never the main psychiatric hospital in Chicago -- Chicago Read, Elgin and Madden (1st Ave and Roosevelt) were larger.
ISPI was a research and teaching hospital, in the mold of the general-medicine teaching hospitals such as Northwestern, UIC, etc. This was a very progressive idea at the time, as most psychiatric institutions were more like wards than treatment facilities. My parents both worked (and met) there, and for a time my mother was the Director of Nursing.
In the late 80's, the state closed the building for asbestos removal. They moved the facility to an old hospital on the west side called St. Anne's (I think), which was near Division and Laramie (I am not sure if the building still exists). Although this was only supposed to be a temporary move, the state decided to close ISPI permanently, and sold the campus to UIC for use as a Child and Adolescent facility. I'm not sure what it is called now, but after ISPI closed, it was called UIC Metro C & A.
Many people lost their jobs after the move. My father was able to stay there, having found work for a UIC professor at the building, but he lost his state pension in the process. It was a casualty in the move away from centralized treatment facilities towards an emphasis on community-based, outpatient psychiatric care, which is really just code for funding cuts. Today, this trend still continues -- most likely, either Madden or Chicago Read will close in the near future.
Behind the main building is a smaller one in a similar style. That was built for ISPI's own child and adolescent ward, and it was known as "little ISPI". For its time, it was a ground-breaking and progressive facility. Illinois was a leader in psychiatric care at the time.