Lucia State Hospital was a mental institution in Lucia, California that came under intense attention and scrutiny when it was selected to house and evaluate Edmund Tolleson following his arrest. Run by Dr. Richard Hanover and head nurse Betsy Bucket, the hospital saw the arrival of Mildred Ratched and was shaken by the events that followed in her wake.

History

The building that housed the hospital was originally a rest spa built at the "turn of the century" by Californian architect Paul Williams and furnished by interior designer Dorothy Draper, accounting for the rather opulent nature of the architecture and furnishings, as well as the hot springs that dotted the grounds[1]. Draper also designed the staff uniforms.[2]

A charitable foundation first run by a Mrs. Mayfair, and continued by her daughter Doris Mayfair, helped fund the larger portion of the hospital's finances, with the other portion coming from government funds via the state[3].

Dr. Hanover was appointed head of the hospital a few years before the arrival of Edmund Tolleson, taking the position after falsifying his credentials to avoid prosecution for his involvement in the failed treatment of Henry Osgood[4]. He boasted to Governor Wilburn that the hospital had, as of their conversation, a completely clean record[2]. The head nurse under his management was Betsy Bucket, until the arrival of Mildred Ratched saw Dr. Hanover blackmailed and Mildred appointed to the head nurse position in Bucket's place.

While head of the hospital, Hanover was approached by the office of Governor Wilburn with an opportunity to expand the hospital's funding from the state[1]. He accepted the deal offered, which required him to find Edmund Tolleson fit to stand trial, but the state's funding was ultimately pulled in its entirety after Edmund's escape from the hospital with Dolly, and the Mayfair foundation took over fully funding the hospital.

Dr. Hanover was shortly thereafter removed from his position in the hospital due to the interference of Mildred and Betsy, with Betsy appointed as interim head and Huck Finnigan promoted to head nurse on the recommendation of Mildred. After no suitable candidates were easily found to replace Hanover, Betsy was then promoted to permanent head of the hospital[5].

Features

As a previous rest spa, the hospital boasted expansive grounds dotted with hot springs and a number of hotel-like rooms for patients to live in. A large lobby and solarium area allowed patients to move throughout the hospital and socialize freely in a communal space. The site was gated, with a manned guard post, and the building employed multiple security guards for patient and staff safety.

The main building had a tiered amphitheater-style operating theater in which medical techniques like the lobotomy could be observed being performed by spectators[6]. There was also a smaller operating theater for everyday and emergency procedures, such as the emergency surgery of Gwendolyn Briggs after being shot[7]. The hospital also had a hydrotherapy room containing two continuous bath apparatus and an open shower to administer water therapy to patients[4], a dispensary, and multiple infirmary rooms - some multiple occupancy, some single occupancy. It can be inferred the site housed several wards, given that the hydrotherapy room is stated to be in the "basement below H Ward", implying wards A-G.[4]

After admittance, patients were boarded in personal single-occupancy rooms with an en-suite bathroom. The rooms were each decorated with a flower theme, and given a name based on the wallpaper pattern. Known room names include Vine (Lily Cartwright's room; also the room where Mildred interrupts Amelia Emerson's affair), Trellis (Ingrid Blix's room), Peony (Father Murphy's room), Zinnia, Larkspur, Begonia, Poppy, Ivy, Aster, and Ebony. Dario Salvatore had a flower room but the nameplate is not shown, but is numbered "5"; this room is later occupied by Charlotte Wells. Gwendolyn Briggs only occupied a single occupancy infirmary room.

A kiln-like furnace was also located in the main building, capable of burning a body for disposal, as was the case for the remains of Dario Salvatore and Charles Wainwright[1][8].

During Dr. Hanover's time as head of the hospital, construction began on a barn to be used in patient treatments, but completion of the barn wouldn't occur until the hospital came under the management of Betsy Bucket. The barn housed a number of animals, including chickens, rabbits, goats, a pig, and a horse[5].

Known Staff

Known Patients

Other named patients: (mentioned in passing, names appearing in documents, or characters with minor roles)

  • Giovanni Aurilia
  • Leona Dade
  • Dwayne Grady
  • Alex Guardado
  • Mrs. Helmstetter
  • Jan McMains
  • Father Murphy
  • Kristina Parsons

Behind the Scenes

The design of the hospital was heavily inspired by the Arrowhead Springs Hotel in San Bernardino, California. While the real-life location was unavailable for shooting, the set of the hospital was constructed on a stage, allowing production design to tailor it to the needs of filming[9]. Series producer Ryan Murphy and production designer Judy Becker wanted the look of the hospital to have a glamour that made its occupants seem like hotel guests rather than patients[9]: "The kind of hotel that movie stars used to go to. He wanted the series to take place in Northern California, so he wanted a lot of wood elements. That was my directive. It's supposed to look like you want to live there. It's supposed to hide all the horrors. Because it doesn’t have that creepiness we all expect, it's an even better foil for the events that unfold."[10] The nurse's break room - best known for the peach scene - resembles a "cute little restaurant inside an old department store, like a ladies' tearoom" and was particularly influenced by The Birdcage restaurant in the former Lord & Taylor.[10]

The patient rooms in the hospital are named after flowers (Vine, Trellis, Poppy etc.) as a homage from production designer Judy Becker to series producer Ryan Murphy to the Days Flower Cottages, a group of cottages along the road to Provincetown, Massachusetts, where Murphy owns a house and Becker has frequently visited[9].

The hospital's wine cellar-turned-holding cell was not a set, but was shot on location at a former chocolate factory in downtown Los Angeles, California[9]. The same building that housed the chocolate factory contained a former doctor's office that practiced hydrotherapy. While the office was not used during production, it was used as inspiration for the set of the hospital's hydrotherapy room[9].

Trivia

  • According to the letterhead of papers included in press kits for season one, the hospital's address is 6924 Limekiln Creek, Lucia, California, 93920.
  • Dr. Hanover's note that the hospital was designed by Paul Williams and decorated by Dorothy Draper is true to the history of the Arrowhead Springs Hotel, which served as the direct inspiration for the interior of the hospital.

Gallery

References

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