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This Lexington hospital opened its doors a week before Beethoven's 9th Symphony premiered. And it's still in operation today

University of Kentucky

A Lexington psychiatric hospital is celebrating its 200th anniversary Friday. WUKY’s Josh James has more on how the hospital has achieved such longevity.

Let’s go back a bit.

It’s May 1, 1824. James Monroe is president of the United States, New York City's Fifth Avenue is months away from opening for business, and it’s just days from the premier of Beethoven’s 9th symphony in Vienna.

That’s when the original Eastern State Hospital opened its doors, becoming – at that time – one of only two psychiatric hospitals in the nation.

"And we are the oldest continuously run state psychiatric hospital in the country. Super proud of that. That was innovative in those days," says Mark Woods, chief nursing officer for UK HealthCare at Eastern State

The facility, now located in much newer digs at UK’s Coldstream Research Campus, sees thousands of patients every year. And needless to say, changes to the practice itself have been dramatic and Woods credits the staff who have come through Eastern with continuing to innovate over two centuries.

"It's not lasers and shiny instruments and things you would see in medical settings. Rather, it's approaches, it's people, it's treatment modalities, it's conceptual, but most of all the emphasis is on the staff that's taking care of the patients here," Woods says.

Eastern State houses nearly 200 acute care beds and provides care for adults in a 50-county region of the commonwealth.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.