The Rockhaven Sanitarium is located in the Crescenta Valley in what is now the City of Glendale. It was opened in 1923 by psychiatric nurse Agnes Richards as a private mental health institution for women with mild mental and nervous disorders. At Rockhaven women could be treated with dignity and grace in a beautiful and serene environment.
Rockhaven was inspired by principles of the Cottage Plan of Asylum architecture for mental institutions, first developed in the late nineteenth century. The Cottage Plan placed numerous individual buildings within landscaped gardens in order to create a serene, homelike environment for residents. Rockhaven is one of the best examples of an early twentieth century woman-owned, women-serving private sanitarium in California, and was one of the first of its type in the nation.
Rockhaven Sanitarium occupies a 3.4-acre site on beautiful oak-treed grounds with several vintage hospital wards and guest cottages. There are a total of fifteen buildings on the property which were erected between 1920 and 1972. Agnes Richards had some buildings relocated to the Rockhaven Sanitarium and others lifted and turned on their foundation to invite sunlight into the rooms. Richards acquired the five Craftsman style buildings over time and she hired Prescott and Brothers to design the Spanish Colonial Revival architecture style structures which were popular in Southern California in the 1920s and 1930s. Patios and courtyards acted as extensions of the residents’ indoor living quarters inviting privacy and serenity.