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Philhaven Hospital grew out of the experiences of many Mennonite conscientious objectors during World War II who served as attendants in mental hospitals. The Lancaster Conference (Mennonite Church) appoint­ed a board of 12 trustees in 1948 to establish such a hospital. In 1949 Graybill and Mary Landis do­nated a farm of 167 acres near Lebanon, Pennsylvania, for this purpose; Abram Horst of New Holland was appointed contractor. On 7 May 1952, the building was dedicated. It is on a hilltop overlooking the beautiful Lebanon Valley.

The purpose of this hospital was "to provide in­stitutional facilities for the mentally unfortunate of Lancaster Conference and others . . . regardless of race or nationality." In the late 1950s it was a 37-bed active treatment mental hospital. Treatments included psychotherapy, electro-shock, occupational and recreational therapy, and the use of tranquilizing drugs. Since its dedica­tion there had been a total of 1,634 admissions (to 1 February 1958), not including the many outpatients treated. Dr. S. Philip Loucks was the psychiatrist and was succeeded 1 August 1955, by Dr. Henry A. Weitz; on 25 February, 1957, a second psychiatrist, Dr. Marjorie Morrison, was added to the staff. Elvin G. Lefever was administrator until November 1953; he was succeeded by J. Horace Martin.

The work grew so rapidly that it became neces­sary to build (in addition to the original plant): (1) a dormitory 100 x 30 ft. for staff members—the staff having increased from 8 to 33; (2) an annex to the hospital, 31 x 38 ft., to care for acutely disturbed patients. The hospital has served as an outlet for Christian service on a voluntary basis, and as alternative service for conscientious objectors.

Additional Information

Address: 283 South Butler Road, P.O. Box 550, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064; Phone: 717-273-8871.

Web site:

Author(s) Harry C Swarr
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Swarr, Harry C. "Philhaven Hospital (Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 31 May 2016.,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=67044.

APA style

Swarr, Harry C. (1959). Philhaven Hospital (Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 31 May 2016, from,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=67044.

Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 163. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.

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