The "Cottage for Colored Women" -- c. 1906

Maryland Hospital for the Insane (at Spring Grove)

This cement-block building was originally known as the "Cottage for Colored Women." It opened in March of 1906 and is believed to have been the first hospital building for African-American psychiatric patients in the State of Maryland. Annual reports from the period indicate that the original plan had been to build a woman's industrial shop at the site. However, the hospital's administration evidently changed its mind and decided that there was an even greater need for a separate facility for African-American women. Early records reveal that the cottage held 25 African-American female patients, something that's hard to imagine given its modest size. The second floor contained sleeping quarters (and, probably, a bathroom) and the first floor included a dining room, as well as a parlor. The frame building, part of which is visible to the right of the cottage (above), was the Male Industrial Shop. After the African-American women patients were transferred to Crownsville State Hospital in 1913 the building that had served as the "Cottage for Colored Women" was renamed the "TB Cottage" and was used to isolate patients with tuberculosis. It is not entirely clear to the author of this web site when the cottage was demolished. It clearly appears on an aerial view of Spring Grove State Hospital from 1927. Updated notations on a 1930 map, apparently entered in the early 1940s,* cross out the words "TB Cottage" and label the site as the location of a carpenter's shop -- almost certainly today's lawn shop. It is clear that the lawn shop stands in the exact same location as the footprint of the old cottage, and although it had not yet been confirmed it seems reasonable to assume that it was built on the foundation of the building that had originally been the "Cottage for Colored Women."

* Of note is the fact that the Foster-Wade building was completed in 1927, and was set up to provide the full spectrum of somatic medical care. Therefore, it may be that after 1927 a separate "TB Building" was no longer required.