December 30th, 2014
There’s still a long way to go to cover the funding gap for Fergus Falls, and not much time to do so either — only a day or so left. I’m starting to sweat like Jerry Lewis at the end of a telethon…
If you’ve ever considered donating but put it off for later, please do it now.
If you can only afford to give $5 or $10, please do. Every little bit helps.
I apologize for the negativity, but I feel compelled to admit I’m depressed by the lack of response to this fundraiser. In spite of what seems to have been a pretty active campaign to get the word out, not much money has been donated. There’s been talk of the deadline being extended, but I don’t know how likely that is if there’s not a substantial amount donated by the end of the year. I don’t know what the current total is unfortunately, but judging by the GoFundMe page, it’s not very significant.
So please, donate now. Please share the GoFundMe link and ask others to donate now. Otherwise, get ready to say goodbye to yet another Kirkbride.
To those who have already donated, either online or by sending a check directly, and to those who have encouraged others to donate, to Historic Kirkbride LLC, and to Gene and Maxine and all the other Friends of the Kirkbride who have worked hard to get things to this point: THANK YOU! I sincerely wish there were more people like you.
November 26th, 2014
I’m a little behind on this, sorry, but there’s a new book out about Northampton State Hospital. Co-authored by Anna Schuleit and J. Michael Moore, Northampton State Hospital is part of Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series and contains 128 pages full of historic images of the hospital—including many of its beautiful Kirkbride building. You can read a bit about the book’s backstory in this article: Northampton State Hospital’s History Shared in Images.
November 5th, 2014
The Friends of the Kirkbride are trying to raise $700,000 to cover a funding for redevelopment of the Fergus Falls Kirkbride. Read more about the story here: Fergus Falls Citizens Group to Raise $700K to Save Kirkbride.
Please consider making a donation. Any amount you can afford will help. The full $700K must be raised by December 31st. There are two ways to donate…
Send a Check
Otter Tail County Historical Society
1110 W. Lincoln Ave.
Fergus Falls, MN 56537
Make checks payable to: Otter Tail County Historical Society
Visit this GoFundMe page.
April 7th, 2014
I had been hoping that when the University of Alabama took over the Bryce Hospital campus that they would preserve the entire Kirkbride building there. Unfortunately, they’re planning on tearing down at least one wing to make room for a new performing arts center. Read more about it here: University of Alabama to Build New State of the Art Performing Arts Center on Bryce Hospital Grounds
This news is especially depressing, coming as it does on the heels of the news that New Jersey is moving forward with demolishing the Greystone Kirkbride. Speaking of Greystone, please still consider supporting Preserve Greystone’s continuing efforts to save Greystone. While the Kirkbride is still standing, there is hope it can be saved. And if I learn of any ways to help prevent Bryce’s wing from being torn down, I will post about them here and on Facebook.
February 13th, 2014
1000 unmarked graves have been discovered on the former grounds of Jackson State Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi according to the Clarion Ledger: Discovery of Graves Affects UMMC Parking Plan. The graves belong to deceased patients of the hospital.
The University of Mississippi Medical Center was planning to build a parking garage on the site, but changed its plans after discovering the graves and will build the garage elsewhere. It would be too expensive to move the bodies.
You can’t help but wonder how many other unmarked graves there are that nobody knows about on former asylum grounds around the country. I’m sure there are many, many thousands (and that’s not counting the thousands of marked graves either named or anonymous).
By the way, there’s a nice image of the Jackson Kirkbride about halfway through the video accompanying the Clarion Ledger’s article (embedded above).
February 12th, 2014
There’s a special exhibit focusing on Northampton State Hospital at Historic Northampton in (where else?) Northampton, Massachusetts. “Vanished: the Hospital on the Hill” will run from February 8th till March 7th and features photographs by Stan Sherer and text by J. Michael Moore. More information can be found at the Historic Northampton website.
Even though the exhibit is already ongoing, the opening reception is this Friday, February 14 from 5 to 8 PM. The reception will feature a talk by Tom Riddell at 6 PM: “The Long March to Memorializing Northampton State Hospital.”
Read an interview with photographer Stan Sherer here: New exhibit tells story of Northampton State Hospital.
October 19th, 2013
Preserve Greystone has started an online petition calling for the preservation of the Greystone Kirkbride building in New Jersey. Please sign the petition to show your support for saving this historical and monumental building.
Sign the Petition »
I know online petitions aren’t as effective as contacting New Jersey’s Governor and Treasurer directly by writing letters or through some other medium—please do that too—but signing the petition will still help build support for the building and it will only take a minute of your time.
September 3rd, 2013
Many years ago (more than I care to count), when I first learned about Danvers State Hospital, there weren’t really that many good web pages about it. One of those few quality pages was hosted at danverslibrary.org, the website of the Danvers Archival Center at the Peabody Institute Library. It didn’t have that much information though, and only a few small images. I would still visit the page every so often to look at the pictures and see if there was anything new added, but there never was. I gave up checking on it several years ago.
The other day I discovered the page has been completely overhauled with lots of new text and some really breathtaking photographs, including one of the most beautiful exterior images of Danvers I’ve ever seen. Go take a look, you won’t be disappointed. (Make sure you scroll down to the last major section of the page to see the exterior picture I’m talking about.)
Danvers State Hospital »
August 21st, 2013
It’s been announced in the press that New Jersey plans to demolish the historic Greystone Kirkbride in spite of receiving six respectable proposals for redevelopment. According to the state, all six proposals left a “funding gap” of $11 million to $25 million. Since the state is unwilling to spend any money on redevelopment, they claim the proposals aren’t viable.
However, at least two organizations who submitted proposals argue they would not require any assistance: Green Center Acres and Auto Mart, Inc. (the company behind the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, WV).
The process of demolition could begin as early as spring 2014.
Preserve Greystone is vowing to fight the state’s decision. Right now, I’m not sure exactly what people should do to help them. I’ve asked them for the latest information and I’m still waiting to hear back. For the time being, you can like their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and check out their existing suggestions at preservegreystone.org/support.html. If I find out anything new, I’ll post about it.
Another option I highly recommend (especially for New Jersey residents) is to call or write to both the Governor and Treasurer and let them know the Kirkbride should be saved.
NJ Governor Chris Christie
Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625
NJ Treasurer Andrew P. Sidamon-Eristoff
Department of the Treasury
P. O. Box 002
Trenton, NJ 08625-0002
Learn more about this story by following the links below.
March 28th, 2013
Image copyright 1992 Roger Farrington. Courtesy of panopticongallery.com. Used with permission.
In case you missed it on the Danvers State Hospital Facebook page, there’s a small collection of photos of the hospital from 1992 by Roger Farrington available here: Panopticon Gallery: Roger Farrington. Roger Farrington is a professional photographer who was hired by the state to document the closing of the hospital. The photos available at the Panopticon Gallery site are from very soon after the hospital was vacated for good in 1992. Check them out. You won’t be disappointed.