In 1869, Saint Elizabeths purchased the land that would become the hospital's East Campus. The purpose of the additional land was to have more space for Saint Elizabeths' agricultural operations. Farming became an important source of food for the hospital's residents and was beneficial to the treatment of patients working on the land.
However, as the hospital entered the twentieth century, it faced a problem of overcrowding. The East Campus, primarily made up of farmland, needed to be used for additional housing. Over the years, the agricultural operations taking place on the East Campus began to gradually dissipate and more patient buildings were constructed on the land.
Many of the larger buildings found on the East Campus today reflect changing ideals in medical treatment during the twentieth century. It was during the 1900s that the medical community at Saint Elizabeths began to steer away from the idea that to treat a person with mental illness, their moral character needed to be improved. As the twentieth century progressed, Saint Elizabeths' staff emphasized the importance of medical treatment and clinical medicine.
In 1987, responsibility over the East Campus was given to DC. Today, Saint Elizabeths Hospital still provides treatment for mental illness on the East Campus.
The following sites included in the tour can be found on the East Campus: