Philhaven Hospital (Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania, USA)

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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. 19 Jun 2018.,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=83870.

APA style

Swarr, Harry C. (1959). Philhaven Hospital (Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2018, from,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=83870.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 163. All rights reserved.

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