Kirkbride Buildings Blog

Archive for March, 2008

Bryce Hospital in the News

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Bryce Hospital
Bryce Hospital has been in the news a bit this March. As mentioned in a previous post, the Bryce campus is likely to be sold to the University of Alabama. If the sale comes to pass, the hospital will move to another location, and the Kirkbride building will become the school’s property. One reader pointed out to me that the university president, Robert Witt, says the historic building will be left standing.

“UA does not have a plan for developing the Bryce property if it were to become part of the university, but Witt said any buildings on the National Historical Registry would be preserved.” (Tuscaloosa News, UA Hires Consultant to Work on Bryce Project) (more…)

Fergus Falls Preservation Update

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Fergus Falls State Hospital
Here’s a little update on the Fergus Falls Kirkbride building. Fergus Falls city politicians are asking the state government to exempt the former RTC campus from state property taxes. According to an article in the Fergus Falls Daily Journal (“RTC on Capitol Agenda“), the Fergus Falls mayor and a city council member were scheduled to present the request to the state this morning. It seems like only a small, sort of auxillary step towards preservation, but every little bit helps.

I haven’t heard anything lately about the proposed Chinese language and business studies college at Fergus Falls. I don’t know if that’s still a possibility for reuse of the Kirkbride or not. If anybody in the Fergus Falls area knows, please comment or send me an email. Thanks.

Signs of Life/Death at Worcester

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Worcester State Hospital
Yesterday, Wormtown Taxi posted photos of the new fence at Worcester. Signs of the imminent destruction are beginning to appear more ominous.

I was at Worcester State Hospital this past Saturday and the fence was already up then. It must have been put up last week. My heart sank as I approached. You can see the chain link shining in the sun all the way down from Route 9. It runs all along the edge of the property, almost right up to the street in some parts. The road behind the wards is basically closed too. (more…)

Independence State Hospital

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Independence State HospitalI’ve added an Independence State Hospital page where you can see my photos of the Kirkbride and learn a little about its history. The photos are from a visit to Iowa I took back in 2004. As I mentioned in the Clarinda post, the quality of the pictures leaves something to be desired. I think these are even a full step down from the Clarinda photos. (The ones from Cherokee are even worse. I don’t even want to post those, but I probably will just to be as complete as possible. Watch for them in the future…)

Independence is a nice looking Kirkbride. It’s facade isn’t as dramatic as some, but it’s still a pretty impressive sight, set back from the main road, sitting at the end of a long stretch of open lawn. Its relative simplicity in design would probably have pleased Dr. Kirkbride. (more…)

Wormtown Means Worcester

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

The blogging Worcester taxi driver at Wormtown Taxi promises to post pictures of Worcester State Hospital demo work as it unfolds. This might be a good resource for those of you outside Massachusetts.

Weston Name Change Offensive?

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Weston Hospital for Insane
Not too surprisingly there’s some noise being made over the recent rechristening of Weston State Hospital as the “Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum”. The latter is of course the institution’s original name, and is definitely more attention grabbing than the less archaic “Weston State Hospital”. No doubt the new owners changed it to help market the place as a tourist destination. (more…)

For Sale: Greystone

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Greystone Park Insane Asylum
A New Jersey state commission has approved the auction of surplus land and buildings located on what will soon be the former Greystone Park Psychiatric Center. That includes the Kirkbride. As it stands now, the building will be sold to the highest bidder. The auction could take place as soon as this spring according to an article in The Star-Ledger. (more…)

Behind Grey Walls

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Journalist Steven Hart’s thoughtful piece on Greystone Park and the Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan friendship: Behind Grey Walls.

Included is a video clip on the same topic from the Strange New Jersey guys. Footage from inside the Kirkbride supposedly reveals the room Guthrie occupied during his stay.

Saint Vincents and Sheppard Pratt

Monday, March 17th, 2008


I’ve been trying to add to the list of Kirkbride buildings and remembered a couple asylums mentioned in America’s Care of the Mentally Ill. In the book, there’s a nice bird’s eye view of an asylum called Saint Vincent’s in Saint Louis, Missouri. After a little searching I was able to find the address and confirm that it was a Kirkbride. In the aerial photo above, you can see the building still stands. It’s been converted to a residential complex called Castle Park Apartments and will probably be around for a good long time. That was a nice surprise. It’s hard to believe there aren’t any other photos of this castle-like Kirkbride online. It’s pretty impressive, if a little over the top in style. (more…)

Hudson River Development

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Hudson River Kirkbride
There was an interesting development reported yesterday concerning the former Hudson River Psychiatric campus. According to the Poughkeepsie News, three Hudson Heritage partners sold their shares of the property to the remaining partner who¬†plans to continue redevelopment. There’s a more extensive article on the story¬†available today: 3 Sell Psych Center Property Share. (more…)