Kirkbride Buildings Blog

Archive for the 'Films & Television' Category

Hudson River Cameo in New Soundgarden Video

Monday, January 21st, 2013

A friend of mine recently posted photos from a Soundgarden show on Instagram. She was excited to see photos of the Hudson River State Hospital Kirkbride appear on the screen behind the band while they played their new song Been Away Too Long. It turns out the building also makes a cameo in the song’s video. See above. Note that only exterior images of the Kirkbride appear. The interior scenes take place within a completely different building, probably not even on the former Hudson River State Hospital campus.

I like the fact that the Kirkbride’s being exposed to a lot of people who probably don’t already know about it. It’s too bad it’s in such a ruinous state, but I suppose that fits the theme of the video, so it probably wouldn’t have happened any other way.

UPDATE: On the Kirkbride Buildings Facebook page, Jeremy Harris says the interiors shown in the video were shot at Temple Court in Manhattan, NY.

Kirkbrides HD

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Kirkbrides HD: Video Documentation of Kirkbride Buildings

In honor of the 203rd anniversary of Thomas Story Kirkbride’s birthday, I think everybody should take a look at Duffy’s Kirkbrides HD video project. There are lots of good Kirkbride building photographs online these days, but good videos are a bit more rare. That’s why it’s especially nice to see Duffy’s tasteful video project available on Vimeo. The project is the result of countless road trips and flights taken over the course of three years, plus many many hours lovingly sorting through and editing over 600 gigabytes of video. Watching this beautiful footage really makes me wish I had considered video over still images when I first started visiting Kirkbrides.

Still photography is great and there’s really no substitute for it, but video takes things to a different level. It’s great for showing movement through a Kirkbride’s space, and how light plays across a building’s facade as the day passes. Check out the Hudson River video at 0:40 for a fantastic example of the latter. It’s also breathtaking when Duffy leaves the camera trained on a Kirkbride and speeds up time so you can watch clouds passing over the majestic building. Take a look at the Buffalo video at 0:23, and the Weston video at 0:23 to see it for yourself.

Kirkbrides HD is one of the most comprehensive video series of its type, and is a great addition to the documentary preservation of these historic buildings. Take a look when you’ve got forty-five minutes or so to spare. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed: Kirkbrides HD.

Saint Vincent’s Affordable Housing

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Powered by Wordpress Plugins - Get the full version!

Check out this news item on the former Saint Vincent’s hospital: Civil War Insane Asylum Turned into Affordable Housing. They muddle the hospital’s history a little—although the asylum was founded in 1858, shortly before the Civil War, the Kirkbide was built between 1873 and 1891, well after the Civil War ended in 1865.

It’s great to see the building put to good use. It’ll probably be around for years to come. One can’t help but wonder why it can happen in Missouri, but not in other states. I’m sure it’s relatively modest size and location in a densely populated area both help.

Worcester State Hospital Fire DVD

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

A DVD of the Worcester State Hospital fire is now available for purchase. You can learn more about it and buy it at D.M. Wenc’s photography website. The DVD has a running time of thirty-eight minutes, the first eight of which are taken up by radio communications from firefighters on scene as the person who filmed the video races to the blaze.

I haven’t seen the DVD myself so I can’t vouch for its quality, though I suspect it’s at least a decent record of that terrible day. There’s low-resolution sample footage available on the DVD information page. And you can check out the photos of the fire also available on the site for an idea of what you’ll see in the video.

The Electric Pencil Documentary Film

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Electric Pencil Documentary Film Funding CampaignFans of the Electric Pencil—AKA James Edward Deeds, Jr.—will be pleased to learn there’s a documentary film about the artist in the works. There’s also a Kickstarter project looking to raise funds for the film. You can learn all about it and back the project here: The Mystery of the Electric Pencil.

The project’s Kickstarter funding run will go until the afternoon of Tuesday, April 3rd. They’re looking to raise $30,000 by then. Backers who pledge $10 or more will be eligible for various gifts related to the film and the artist.

Traverse City Tunnels

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Here’s a short piece about the tunnels under the former Traverse City State Hospital‘s Building 50: The Tunnels Underneath Building 50. It’s from a segment called Jack’s Journal by reporter Jack O’Mally of Michigan’s 9&10 News. It’s only mildly interesting if you’re at all knowledgeable about Kirkbride tunnels, but if you’re not or you want to hear developer Ray Minervini’s thoughts on the tunnels and what might be done with them, check it out.

Hidden Columbia on South Carolina State Hospital

Friday, May 7th, 2010

South Carolina State Hospital Video Screenshot
Hidden Columbia, a local news segment on ABC’s Columbia, SC affiliate, recently put together a report on the history of South Carolina State Hospital. It’s a reasonably in-depth look at the hospital’s story with a few surprising details among the typical, to-be-expected facts. You can view all five currently released parts online by following the links below. I’m not sure if there are more parts coming in the future, but I’ll add the links here if they do.

Hidden Columbia
Unfortunately, these videos are no longer available online.

  1. The State Carolina State Hospital Part 1
  2. The State Carolina State Hospital Part 2
  3. The State Carolina State Hospital Part 3
  4. The State Carolina State Hospital Part 4
  5. The State Carolina State Hospital Part 5

Watching these, I’m especially struck by how much the history of these hospitals all followed the same trajectory: a founding with much fanfare and optimism, early success giving way to hard times and overcrowding, then reform and a long slow decline terminated by closure or radical down-sizing.

City of the Sick

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

A few days ago, psychiatrist Dr. William J. Resch emailed me about this film featuring Columbus State Hospital. “City of the Sick” is a documentary about CSH (and to some extent all psychiatric hositals) narrated by a fictional hospital attendant. Judging by the film’s look and feel, it was produced some time in the late 1940s or early 1950s. In spite of its quaint mid-20th century style, it’s worth watching for the footage of the Kirkbride building and the insights regarding life inside the hospital. I’m sure the latter were at least a little whitewashed, but I wouldn’t fault the film’s producers for that since part of their purpose was to minimize the stigma attached to mental illness and state hospitals.

Dr. Resch received a copy of the film when he spent part of his Ohio State University residency working at Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare in Columbus (CSH’s replacement and sister hospital to the former Twin Valley psychiatric center in Dayton). He just recently put this digitized version online. The second half can be seen here: City of the Sick – Part II.

Ghost Adventures at Weston

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Weston State Hospital Kirkbride
For Halloween this year, “Ghost Adventures” will be at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum on October 30th for a SEVEN HOUR live broadcast. The show will be aired on The Travel Channel from 8PM to 3AM. I haven’t seen much of “Ghost Adventures”, but the few times I did I got a chuckle out of it. In my opinion, they go way over the top whereas a show like “Ghost Hunters” seems to try to maintain some degree of dignity. Regardless of that, the show will provide hours of footage from the former hospital and should be worth tuning in to for that alone. If you’re into the paranormal, you’ll love it even more. And if you also like spiky-haired guys with huge biceps, you’ll be in Heaven!

More on House and Greystone

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital Set
A little over a month ago I wrote about a promo for the television series House and how it contained footage of the Greystone Kirkbride‘s interior. However, more than one person told me that there was no sign of the show filming inside the interior. I can now confirm they were correct since Fox released a video about building sets for the interior of their fictional Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital. You can watch the video at Better check it out soon because the video will probably be replaced eventually.

It’s amazing how much detail and work went into the show’s effort to reproduce the look of Greystone. I still don’t understand why they didn’t just use the hospital itself. Seems like they could have spiffed up a few areas for a lot less work than it took to build these sets.