People, Not Patients: Documenting the lives of those confined at the South Carolina Lunatic Asylum

Black and white image of the original cupola on the Babcock building of the Bull Street Campus.

People, Not Patients is a project by Able South Carolina and Historic Columbia.

This project was originally released in 2023. There is still much to learn and much to share about our disabled community that was impacted by the South Carolina State Hospital, also commonly known as Bull Street.

With this collaborative project, Able South Carolina (Able SC) seeks to elevate the stories of those who lived on Bull Street. What were their dreams? Who were their children or family? What can we do to highlight these are people, not patients? The following stories covering residents of the original asylum are just the beginning of the many stories of the lives lived before, during, and after institutionalization.


We invite you to follow the link in the button below to read our introduction People Lived at Bull Street, follow the stories collected, and consider how we can memorialize the people and the history of Bull Street.

How You Can Help

Our vision is to create a South Carolina that is a national model of equity and inclusion for all people with disabilities. This includes illuminating the truth of our painful past to develop a brighter future. We want you to be a part of this vision. Do you have a story you’d like to share about Bull Street? We want to hear from past residents, workers, and families impacted by the former state institution. Please contact us at  or by calling 1-800-681-6805 and share with us. Interested in supporting our project? Please consider giving to Able SC to help us make this dream of telling the complete history a reality. Visit  for more.