History & Heritage
Brook Lane was established by the Mennonite Central Committee in response
to their awareness of a lack of compassion for the mentally ill. The Mennonite
Central Committee was originally developed to be (and is to this day) the relief,
development and peace committee of the Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches
in Canada and the United States.
It took two years to transform a 115 acre Civilian Public Service Camp into
a 23 bed psychiatric hospital, converting previous barracks into office space,
and renovating a farm house into a kitchen, dining room and staff dormitory.
This “new” establishment opened its doors in January, 1949, amongst
the rolling hills and farmland of the Leitersburg area.
In the early years staff was almost exclusively volunteers and conscientious
objectors. They worked side by side with the patients, sharing the gardening,
cooking, baking, and laundry as well as farming and maintenance. Staff and
patients joined together for meals and recreational activities to enhance a
therapeutic environment. The hospital maintained a full census and in 1954
an additional wing increased the bed capacity to 38.
Brook Lane Farm Hospital incorporated in 1959 and became a free standing,
not-for-profit organization, continuing its affiliation with the Mennonite
Church to include representatives of the local churches serving on the Board
of Directors. Outpatient treatment was added to the program to continue meeting
the needs of the community and in 1965 the name was changed to Brook Lane Psychiatric
While primarily serving an adult population, Brook Lane recognized the importance
of broadening services to include a younger population and in 1980 added an
adolescent unit to the hospital. The demand grew and in 1987 a separate 30
bed hospital building was constructed to serve children and adolescents. In
the early 1990’s Brook Lane began offering outpatient treatment at a
satellite office, and at the same time created a special education program,
Laurel Hall School, that eventually provided services to students of all ages.
In 1997 Brook Lane Psychiatric Center became Brook Lane Health Services as
it continued to broaden the scope of its programs. The adult hospital was consolidated
with the newer child and adolescent hospital in December of 1996. What was
previously the adult hospital became a group home, Stone Bridge, in 1998, serving initially adolescents and then growing to include
children. In 2004, that building was remodeled and expanded to once again house
the inpatient unit, offering the privacy of individual patient rooms to enhance
the healing process. The group home was then moved to the other building, sharing
that space with the Laurel Hall School.
Brook Lane continues to follow the mission and vision of the Mennonite Central
Committee’s initial petition to provide quality mental health services
to those in the immediate community and beyond. The Board of Directors and
the staff work together to meet the goal of maintaining a safe and healthy
environment for all patients, students and residents in their care.