Seventy-eight Oklahoma residents living at the Oaklawn Retreat in Jacksonville, Illinois, boarded a train one day in 1895.
They were returning to their home state, the young prairie town of Norman, and the new private sanatorium that would take care of them.
The first patient, a woman from Woodward County was admitted on June 15, 1895. That was the beginning of what is now known as Griffin Memorial Hospital on the nearby east side of the city.
Prior to 1895, the Oklahoma Territory entrusted its mental patients to the state of Illinois.
When the failed High Gate Academy buildings at the eastern end of Main Street became available, some Oklahoma doctors formed Oklahoma Sanitarium Co. and bought the campus.
They then entered into a contract with …