Kirkbride Buildings Blog

Archive for January, 2008

Possible Sale of Bryce Hospital

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Bryce Hospital
There’s an article in The Birmingham News about a potential sale of Bryce Hospital. The adjoining University of Alabama is negotiating for the purchase of the property. Nothing’s definite yet, least of all the fate of the Kirkbride there, but there’s some worry that the building may be lost if the sale goes through. Hopefully preservation will win out, but unfortunately the odds aren’t in its favor if what’s happened to a few other Kirkbride buildings recently is anything to go by.

Greystone Park

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Greystone Park State Hospital
I added a Greystone Park page to the site. I’ve been sitting on pictures of the place for a few years now. They’ll be a bit of a yawn to those familiar with other asylum web sites (most notably John Gray’s fantastic Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital). But I think it’s important that the building be represented here, if only to stop the semi-regular emails I get telling me that I missed Greystone… (more…)

The Forum is Back

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

I decided to bring the forum back. Part of my future plan for is to welcome contributions from other people who have had first-hand experience of the various buildings. Having a forum is an obvious first step toward that goal. Feel free to contribute with information, questions, or comments. (more…)

The Lost Kirkbrides: Arkansas State Hospital

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Arkansas State Hospital
A little while back, someone from the Arkansas History Commission & State Archives informed me that there was once a Kirkbride at the state hospital in Little Rock. I had suspected that there was one there, but wasn’t sure until I got their email. The stunning building pictured above opened as the Arkansas Lunatic Asylum in 1883. Unfortunately, it was demolished in the 1960s. You can learn the asylum’s history at this web page which also includes a few more images. I’ve added Arkansas, and a few other lost Kirkbrides, to the list of demolished Kirkbrides.

Weston State Hospital: Tour Schedule Announced

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Tours at Weston State Hospital are set to resume in March 2008. (more…)

WSH: The View from the Street

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Source: Google Maps

Above is Google’s Street View of Worcester State Hospital. Click on the image and drag your mouse around to explore it. You can see the Clocktower and other remaining pieces of the Kirkbride, as well as the rest of the hospital campus. (more…)

The Lobotomist to Air on PBS

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

Dr Walter FreemanThe Lobotomist, an American Experience documentary about the notorious Dr Walter Freeman, will be aired Monday, January 21st on PBS. Dr Freeman was the inventor of the transorbital lobotomy and has a rather chequered reputation—as does the lobotomy which fell out of favor years ago. Stories about controversial or horrific treatment of patients are usually a bit too morbid for my taste, but they’re impossible to avoid when studying the buildings in which these treatments often took place. American Experience always makes intelligent, high-quality documentaries too, so this is worth seeing if you have the time.

Kirkbride Family History

Friday, January 18th, 2008

The “Kirkbride Family History” blog is a collection of excerpts from a book about…the Kirkbride family history. The book was written by Sherman Kirkbride and published in 1913. The blog hasn’t been updated in several months, but there are already some interesting facts posted. The blog author plans on posting more when she has the time. If anything pertaining to Thomas Story Kirkbride comes up I’ll link to it here, but you can also keep an eye on the blog yourself at

Cumberland County Asylum

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Cumberland County Asylum
I found the above image online at the University of Medecine & Dentistry of New Jersey web site. It looks very much like a small Kirkbride Plan asylum located in Hopewell Township, New Jersey.  Genealogy Trails lists the institution as being open in 1899. However, Philadelphia Architects & Buildings attributes its design to architect Thomas Edward Ash, born in 1888. Either somebody’s got their data mixed up, or this particular building was added to the asylum much later than 1899. (more…)

Warren State Hospital

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Warren State Hospital
Pennsylvania state representative Kathy Rapp is working to “protect the patients, jobs and community services at Warren State Hospital.” Evidently there’s an effort in the state government to privatize elements of the institution. This effort is part of a larger “deinstitutionalization scheme”, which could possibly lead to further closings of state psychiatric centers such as Warren State Hospital. I found out about this at Pennsylvania Mental Health Issues which has a few posts about Warren State Hospital listed here. (more…)