Keeley Institute: Dwight, Illinois Part 3 January 17, 2008Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, History, Houses, National Register of Historic Places.
Tags: addiction, alcohol, alcoholic, alcoholism, quackery, recovery, rehab
Dwight has an interesting history, if you take the time to do the research about it. But don’t worry, you don’t have to, I did it for you (and luckily compiled most of it on Wikipedia which will be linked to gratuitously throughout this posts.
Dwight has been called America’s first therapeutic community, because of Dr. Leslie Keeley and John R. Oughton and their famed Keeley Institute. The Keeley Cure (wiki by me, thoroughly researched like all I do, yet not completely finished) was globally famous as a “scientific” treatment for alcoholism, groundbreaking at the time, and more than a bit odd in hindsight. The Keeley Cure involved “bichloride of gold”, and the jury is still out on what, exactly, that was. There are a few buildings associated with the Keeley Institute still extant in Dwight, among them, the John R. Oughton House (wiki by me), which served as housing for Keeley Institute patients.
The Oughton Estate’s restored windmill is owned by the Village of Dwight.
The Oughton House is a large estate which serves as a strange smelling restaurant today; it includes the elaborately restored windmill seen above. Across the street from the Oughton Estate is another Keeley affiiated building, seen below. The John R. Oughton House, including the windmill, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places back in 1980.
The Keeley Building
The Keeley Institute had franchises all over the United States and became rather famous, and successful, for a time. Though the institute didn’t close until 1965 its popularity ended in the early 20th century. The Keeley Cure was widely known, becoming ubiquitous as part of the lexicon; people would often refer jokingly to people, especially the rich and famous, who were “taking the Keeley Cure” or had “gone to Dwight.” A similar phenomenon can be observed with famous modern-day treatment facilities such as the Betty Ford Clinic.
*John R Oughton House: NRHP Nomination Form/Illinois Historic Sites Survey Inventory Form
*John R. Oughton House: Free use image gallery (by me)
*John R. Oughton House: IHPA Property Information Report – Has older photos at bottom, if you right click and hit ‘view image’ you can see the full resolution images.
*1939 Time magazine article on Keeley Cure
Look for more on Dwight in the future, tomorrow we move down Route 66 to Odell, Illinois.