Lakeshore Mental Asylum


East Tennessee Hospital for the Insane was completed and opened in 1886. It would later become known as the Lakeshore Mental Health Institute, and now, many simply refer to it as the Lakeshore Asylum. Regardless of the chosen moniker, this location is one of the more famous haunts in Knoxville, Tennessee.100_0054

Most of the original buildings have already been demolished, but a couple, including the Administration building, still remain. In fact, the Administration building has been renovated for use by the city parks department.

During the peak of operations in the 1960’s, Lakeshore Asylum housed roughly 2,800 patients. And there were many positive outcomes from these facilities: many pictures show residents smiling, singing, and dancing, neatly dressed and living a comfortable life.

However, dark times also wracked the reputation of the institute. In the 1980’s, newspapers depicted overcrowding, dirty conditions, and lack of attention and activities for many residents. Funding and operations scaled back gradually from this point on until eventually shutting down in 2012.

Rumors of mistreatment and abuse plagued the Asylum for years. Claims of paranormal activity DSCN2559most certainly stem from these rumors. Many visitors have claimed to have seen shadow figures and light anomalies, and even more have heard disembodied voices and screams.

We visited the park in 2014 and took some pictures, but we did not investigate inside the buildings, though we would have loved to. Now, many of those buildings are gone, but the history (and administrative building) remains. Hopefully one day we can return and set up a proper investigation.

For more information on this location, here are a few good places to start:

10 thoughts on “Lakeshore Mental Asylum

  1. The picture of the white building is where the swimming pool..I went into that place grasping a Bible..just like my long lost friend Melissa. Which I hope to know again one day.. she also came in grasping a Bible.


  2. We lived in a house on those grounds for a year or two around 1964, as my father was the “Chief Engineer” and was on 24/7 call. The hospital was referred to as “Eastern State Hospital” at the time, and the house was part of his compensation. I was about 8-9 years old at the time. I see from photos that our house is long-gone, but I recognize the land where it stood and the big tree still standing. We lived across a little gravel road from what was called the “Men’s Annex,” and sometimes you could hear the poor patients yelling. I saw some years ago that our other house that belonged to Eastern State is gone too–it was a wonderful, white two-story house that stood at the crest of the hill directly across Lyons View Pike from the mental hospital grounds, where the Veterans Cemetery is now.

    I’m not surprised if the grounds are haunted. I hope someone smudged the Admin Building and the entire grounds before they started to use it and turned it into a park. I’m coming to Knoxville in late April-early May, and I look forward to driving around and seeing what I can remember, but I’m bracing myself as well for a flood of memories.


    1. Thank you for the insight! It’s a beautiful area. But it’s changed so much even since we visited for these photos a couple years ago. We stopped in again around 6 months ago and the admin building was pretty much all that was left standing from the original compound, from what we could tell. It was mostly a huge mud pit, with all sorts of construction equipment around. Haven’t been back yet to see if they’ve completed the park or not.


      1. I actually work for the city! It’s now beautiful park!! And I am one of the people who take care of the grounds. Trust me you see some stuff lol!


  3. My dad was night shift maintenance man there. I spent many nights during summer break in Every building on site even the vacant ones. but old guy who worked in boiler room swore a guy in flannel shirt checked gauges in control room frequently and would disappear


  4. I was a patient there. And the place had a weird deal to it, but i never heard or saw anything unusual. Randy B.


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