TCPS Celebrates Preservation at Annual Awards Banquet The Preservationist, Fall 2010

Sometimes we forget our history. It is easy to get wrapped up in our own daily lives, and forget how far the psychiatric movement has come. That is what the Bryce Hospital Historical Preservation Committee is trying to help us remember. It has been only in the last 150 years that Alabama has had an institution for the housing and treatment of people with mental illnesses, and even though many of us may have had bad experiences at such institutions, before this time people were locked in basements, attics, and closets. They had little, if any, interaction with others, and were often beaten or abused. Dr. Peter Bryce's innovative approach to address the needs of people with mental illnesses with moral treatment was ground breaking 150 years ago, and that is what this committee is trying to help us understand today — the significance of Bryce Hospital's history.

However, equally important is the fact that many consumers spent their entire adult lives at Bryce Hospital, and some are buried in the four cemeteries located on the hospital's grounds. The committee wants to memorialize these individuals by placing historical markers, one for each cemetery, so people will realize that these people's legacy lives on today. In addition, the committee has accepted proposals from consumers for a monument that will symbolize the countless individuals who are buried in unmarked graves in these four cemeteries.

"We feel it is imperative to erect a monument to these brave souls, so generations to come will understand the significance of their lives," said Dr. Tom Hobbs, chair of the Bryce Hospital Historic Preservation Committee.