Kirkbride Buildings Blog

Archive for June, 2009

Goings On at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Weston Hospital for the Insane
Although they’ve faced a lot of controversy, the Jordan family are to be applauded and respected for taking on the difficult task of preserving and re-using the former Weston State Hospital. This summer they’ve got a pretty full schedule of events at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (hereinafter the TALA), and of course the usual public tours. I recommend making a special trip for the tours alone even if you weren’t already planning on being near Weston this summer.

The TALA is open for tours every Tuesday through Sunday. Tours on Mondays are by appointment only.  You can purchase tickets for the special ghost tours and ghost hunts on the TALA website. (more…)

Buffalo Kirkbride Preservation Update

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Buffalo State Insane Asylum
According to the Buffalo News, renovation work on the central admin and adjacent wards of the Buffalo Kirkbride is about to get serious. If all goes well, work to preserve the stone sections of the building for future use will be in full swing this summer, and should be completed in about 15 months. The Richardson Center Corporation also plans on stabilizing the brick wards during this time, but they expect those sections may stay vacant for quite a while.

There will be a final public meeting about the project at 6PM on Tuesday, July 14 in Buffalo State College’s Rockwell Hall.

Source: Work to Start on Richardson Olmsted’s Landmark Tower

Building 50 = Potato Peeling Shed?

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Article about the Village of Grand Traverse Commons
I came across this write-up on the Village of Grand Traverse Commons online and snickered a little at the caption below the accompanying photo of Building 50. The caption describes the grand Italianate Kirkbride as an “old potato-peeling shed”. It’s only mildly funny I admit, but I figured I would share the laugh anyhow.

Fergus Falls Fire

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

A fire started in the Fergus Falls Kirkbride earlier today (Tuesday, June 16). You can see some pictures of it here: Fire at the Regional Treatment Center. I don’t know the details, but will post more information when I find out more about it.

Update – Here’s some good video footage of the fire by Lethal over at the Fergus Falls Forum. Looks like the fire was caused by a lightning strike. It’s hard to tell, but the damage doesn’t look too intense. It’s painful to watch how long it takes for the ladder to extend, but I’m sure they’re moving as fast as they can. (more…)

Fergus Falls Story

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Fergus Falls State Hospital
StoryCorps — the nonprofit project to honor and celebrate lives through listening — just posted a story about the memories of one Marcia Page: A Special Childhood Friend. Marcia spent part of her childhood on the grounds of the Fergus Falls State Hospital. Her father was the chief clinical psychologist there during part of the 1950s. While the piece is unfortunately brief, it does offer a warm glimpse of what life could be like for a hospital employee’s child. Read the Story

A Memorial for the Mentally Ill

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Anonymous Grave of a Psychiatric Hospital Patient

A national memorial for the mentally ill is being planned by Mental Health America and will be placed on the grounds of Saint Elizabeths hospital. The memorial is meant to specifically honor the thousands of people who have died while being treated at psychiatric hospitals around the nation and whom are often buried in anonymous graves such as the one pictured above. According to a Mental Health America press release: (more…)

Terrell State Hospital Book Published

Monday, June 8th, 2009

A gentleman named Benny Britton has published a book chronicling the history of Terrell State Hospital in Texas. Britton has been an employee of the hospital for forty-two years. Unfortunately, the book—which includes historic and current photos—does not appear to be available anywhere but at the hospital. If you’re in the Terrell area, there will be a book signing on Tuesday, June 9, 2009 at the state hospital Silver Star Cinema at 5:30PM where the book will be available for purchase. More information can be found in this article: Terrell State Hospital History Book Published. If I find out you can pick up the book online or in bookstores, I’ll post a follow-up.

Hospital Artifacts

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Here’s some really fascinating footage of the Oregon State Hospital J-Building being torn down. I don’t advocate smoking pot, but I think sparking up a J may be the only way you’re going to get through all 38 minutes and 57 seconds of this video. So why am I including it here? I feel bad about not posting more often and this seems like a fast and easy way to make it look like I’m still providing value for your money. Plus it gives me a chance to engage in some clever word play (J-Building… sparking up a J… get it?) (more…)