Kirkbride Buildings Blog

Archive for May, 2009

Greystone on House

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Greystone on House
In case you missed it, the first shots of the Greystone Kirkbride appeared on the House season five finale: Both Sides Now which aired about two weeks ago. You can now watch the episode online at Fox’s web site. Greystone makes its appearance just before the 42 minute mark. The footage is brief, but it’s a nice view and really captures the building’s imposing bulk. I was a little surprised to see that they didn’t try harder to make it look more like an active hospital, but maybe that was an artistic choice?

Taunton Demolition to Begin Soon

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Taunton Asylum
This morning, a reader sent me the URL to this article. The important part of which being the second to last sentence reading:

“[T]he company also expects within the next 30 days to start work tearing down 24 empty buildings on the grounds of the Taunton State Hospital.”

So demolition of the Taunton Kirkbride is a sure thing and it looks like it’ll happen this summer. There’s not much to say but too bad. It will be missed.

Maine Legislator Calls for Closure of Bangor Hospital

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Bangor State Hospital
Maine’s Health and Human Services Committee co-chair, Senator Joseph Brannigan, has suggested that the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center in Bangor be closed. His reasoning is that doing so will save the state from having to make more painful cuts elsewhere.

Closing Dorothea Dix would leave the state with one public psych hospital (in Augusta). However, since there’s little to no support for the idea from Maine’s governor, and strong opposition from the Maine State Employees union, it seems unlikely that the hospital will be closed any time soon. It’s worth noting though that it’s being discussed.

You can find more details about this development here: Closure of Bangor Psychiatric Center Proposed to Save Money. You can also listen to Maine Public Broadcasting’s piece about it here: Legislators Eyeing Possible Closure Of Psychiatric Hospital To Save Money.

Fergus Falls Artifact Auction

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Fergus Falls State Hospital
This summer, the city of Fergus Falls (Minnesota) will be holding an auction to sell off items from the former Fergus Falls State Hospital. Items include tools, medical equipment and office supplies — “everything from crutches to wardrobes to giant kitchen mixers.” The auction will probably happen in June, but the city hasn’t yet set an exact date for it. You can read all about it here: City Selling RTC Artifacts.

As usual, the most intriguing part about that Fergus Falls Journal article is the comments section (no offense to the FFJ reporters, it’s just that the juicy gossip naturally shows up in the public’s commentary). A few readers express concern that the proposed college will never materialize and criticize the lack of publicly available information about it. There’s also some speculation that the building is being looted and that an antique pool table was spirited off to someone’s private residence.

Behind the Walls – Shadows of New England’s Asylums

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Behind the Walls - Shadows of New England's Asylums book cover
There’s a new book out by photographer Katherine Anderson featuring photographs of several former New England asylums, including the Kirkbide buildings in Danvers, Worcester, and Northampton, Massachusetts. In addition to the pictures, the book also contains an extensive history of mental illness and asylums as well as “feeble-mindedness” and the state school system. The book is called Behind the Walls – Shadows of New England’s Asylums and you can preview (and purchase) it here: Behind the Walls.