The Harding Hospital

For over 80 years, Worthington was home to one of the country’s most cutting-edge residential psychiatric treatment programs. Celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the founding of Harding Hospital by browsing our August exhibit.

Founded in Worthington in 1916 by Dr. George T. Harding II, the Harding Hospital operated on East Dublin-Granville Road until 1999. As one of the earliest programs in psychiatric medicine in the United States, the hospital trained hundreds of psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, art therapists and more.

In addition to pioneering psychiatric treatments, the hospital served as a bucolic residential retreat for those suffering from mental illness. The rural, 50-acre campus centered on a main building known as the Lodge. The Lodge had originally served as a summer home, but after improvements to winterize the building, it became the hub of activity on the campus. From 1919 until it was razed in 1981, the Lodge acted as a dining hall, meeting place, rooming house and more.

The Lodge was also the site of a bit of presidential history. Harding Hospital’s founder, Dr. George T. Harding II, was a younger brother to the 29th U.S. president, Warren G. Harding. The elder Harding kicked off his official campaign for president on August 11, 1920, with a speech made from the Lodge's porch to a crowd of about 500 people.

In 1999, the hospital was integrated into The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, and the campus was sold to Step By Step Academy, a mental health treatment program for people with autism and developmental disabilities. With its rich history and innovation in the treatment of mental illness, the Harding Hospital contributed much not only to Worthington, but to the field of psychiatry and the country at large.