Kirkbride Buildings Blog

March 20th, 2012

Asylum on the Hill – New Book on Athens State Hospital

Athens State Hospital
There’s a new book about Athens State Hospital coming out. On Friday, March 30th from 5:00-7:00PM Ohio University Press is hosting a free public event at The Kennedy Museum of Art to celebrate the release of Asylum on the Hill by Katherine Ziff. (In case you didn’t know, the museum is located in the former Athens State Hospital Kirkbride building in the neighborhood now known as The Ridges.) Read more about it here: Ohio University Press Event Celebrates New Book on Athens Asylum

Some special points of interest about the event mentioned in the article:

“Items relating to the former mental institution will be featured in displays arranged by Ohio University’s Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections and the Athens County Historical Society. There will also be a self-guided tour of The Ridges from 3-5 p.m. in which visitors may look inside some of the institution’s buildings while learning about their current use. Tourists will be able to obtain a new map of The Ridges produced by Ohio University Press that complements “Asylum on the Hill.” Copies of both the map (free) and “Asylum on the Hill” ($35) will be available at The Kennedy Museum of Art and Ohio University Press, also located at The Ridges.”

Learn more about and purchase the book here: Asylum on the Hill: History of a Healing Landscape

I haven’t yet read the book myself, but it sounds very promising. I’m sure anyone with interest in old asylums will find it worth checking out. Katherine Ziff, by the way, is the author of the dissertation Asylum and Community: Connections between the Athens Lunatic Asylum and the Village of Athens 1867-1893 which I mentioned in an old post about the Athens State Hospital alligator. Check out her blog about asylums: Asylum Notes

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  1. WSH March 21, 2012, 10:12 am

    I’m always excited when a new asylum related book comes out! I actually just got the (Arcadia) book on Dixmont. I’ll have to check this out sooner than later!

  2. Katherine Ziff March 21, 2012, 8:59 pm

    I maintain a blog “asylum notes” on things related to the asylum at

    check out the entry a few weeks ago about the potential (small I hope) for “fracking” on the old grounds.

  3. Ethan March 21, 2012, 10:11 pm

    Thanks for letting us know about your blog, Katherine. It looks like a great resource.

    I really hope they don’t do much, if any, fracking on the old grounds.

  4. Katherine Ziff March 22, 2012, 9:52 pm

    Ethan I hope so too. A local committee has to review so I am hopeful. The 700+ acre landscape is such a treasure.

  5. WSH July 10, 2012, 8:56 am

    Ordered my copy yesterday! I will try to post a review soon. I’m very excited, I used to play ice hockey, and all our big tournaments were in Athens. I didn’t realize until much later that the “cool old building” we used to drive by was a former state hospital!

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