Kirkbride Buildings Blog

Archive for November, 2011

Bryce Kirkbride to House Museum?

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Bryce Hospital Kirkbride Building
The Bryce Hospital Kirkbride will likely become home to a museum once the University of Alabama takes control of the building. You can read about it in the university’s student-run newspaper, The Crimson White: UA Releases New Campus Master Plan. Their article states:

“By terms of the purchase agreement between the Department of Mental Health and the University of Alabama, there is going to be a mental health museum located in the Bryce Hospital building,” [said Darrell Meyer of KPS Group, the architectural firm helping UA with the campus master plan]. “We realized that we don’t have a University history museum. I think we really need one of those.”

In addition to building a University history museum, Meyer also spoke of plans for museums for mental health, natural history, Jones art collection, and special collections.

It’s not very clear the way it’s written, but I’m pretty certain the mental health museum is a sure thing, and the university history and other museums are just possibilities. Hopefully though, the prospect of several museums means it’s more likely the entire building will be preserved. It’d be great to have another fully intact Kirkbride that’s accessible to the general public.

UPDATE: This article: Bryce May Become Cultural Arts Center, adds that the Kirkbride would also house spaces for the performing arts as well as for a museum or museums.

Greystone Update

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Greystone Park Kirkbride Building
As I may have mentioned before, one of the reasons I don’t blog much anymore is because so often the fate of abandoned Kirkbride buildings is murky for years on end. I’m tired of trying to think up new ways to say “whether the building will be saved is unclear, but things sound hopeful…” Regardless, I thought it worth noting that New Jersey’s Governor Christie has announced a $27 million plan to clean up the former Greystone Park State Hospital site. The plan calls for demolition of many buildings, but also “calls for determining the feasibility of redeveloping the historic Kirkbride Building” according to an article by New Jersey News Room: Gov. Christie Announces Greystone Psychiatric Hospital Demolition for Open Space.

I’m sure $27 million — even if it was entirely for the Kirkbride — won’t go very far in breathing new life into the Greystone Kirkbride. Most of the money will go toward demolishing other buildings and converting the property into open space parkland. But at least wheels are turning in regards to the Kirkbride’s preservation. Hopefully the feasibility study isn’t just a token gesture. It would be great if the building could remain as a point of architectural interest within all that open space. It’d be even better if it could be restored to its former grandeur, but that’s very unlikely I’m sure.

Thought I’d also mention a minor bit of trivia I learned while reading about this: according to an Associated Press article, President Ulysses S. Grant spoke at the opening of Greystone Park.