Kirkbride Buildings Blog

Archive for the 'Pictures' Category

New Book About Northampton State Hospital

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Northampton State Hospital

I’m a little behind on this, sorry, but there’s a new book out about Northampton State Hospital. Co-authored by Anna Schuleit and J. Michael Moore, Northampton State Hospital is part of Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series and contains 128 pages full of historic images of the hospital—including many of its beautiful Kirkbride building. You can read a bit about the book’s backstory in this article: Northampton State Hospital’s History Shared in Images.

Northampton State Hospital Exhibit

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

The Northampton State Hospital Kirkbride

There’s a special exhibit focusing on Northampton State Hospital at Historic Northampton in (where else?) Northampton, Massachusetts. “Vanished: the Hospital on the Hill” will run from February 8th till March 7th and features photographs by Stan Sherer and text by J. Michael Moore. More information can be found at the Historic Northampton website.

Even though the exhibit is already ongoing, the opening reception is this Friday, February 14 from 5 to 8 PM. The reception will feature a talk by Tom Riddell at 6 PM: “The Long March to Memorializing Northampton State Hospital.”

Read an interview with photographer Stan Sherer here: New exhibit tells story of Northampton State Hospital.

1992 Danvers State Hospital Photos

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Danvers State Hospital

Image copyright 1992 Roger Farrington. Courtesy of Used with permission.

In case you missed it on the Danvers State Hospital Facebook page, there’s a small collection of photos of the hospital from 1992 by Roger Farrington available here: Panopticon Gallery: Roger Farrington. Roger Farrington is a professional photographer who was hired by the state to document the closing of the hospital. The photos available at the Panopticon Gallery site are from very soon after the hospital was vacated for good in 1992. Check them out. You won’t be disappointed.



Project Kirkbride

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Christian VanAntwerpen had an idea recently to photograph “every inch” of the Fergus Falls, Minnesota, Kirkbride for posterity, and is now working to make his idea a reality. Christian has gathered a group of about forty photographers and cinematographers who plan to photograph the entire building together this year. The end result will be an interactive website that’ll allow anybody anywhere in the world to explore every corner of the Fergus Falls Kirk.

Such an ambitious project will undoubtedly cost a bit of money, so the group set up a Fundrazr page to help offset the cost. Please take a few minutes to check it out and consider making a donation: Help Us Completely Photograph the Fergus Falls RTC »

Abandoned Asylums of New England

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Abandoned Asylums of New England

John Gray is publishing a new edition of his Abandoned Asylums of New England photography book. The original version was self-published and came out a little over ten years ago. This new hardcover version is 220 pages and includes lots more high-quality photos in both black and white and color. It’s being published in connection with the Museum of disABILITY History who provides the text. From the publisher:

“Abandoned Asylums of New England offers the work of photographer John Gray, who has captured the final throes of the once majestic monuments of medical treatment. This photographic journey into the world of urban exploration documents the state of some of New England’s storied temples of control, treatment, and rehabilitation of individuals with disabling conditions. The Museum of disABILITY History provides a historical context for these asylums that heightens the degree of entropy into which these feats of architectural grandeur have fallen. From the gigantic Kirkbride campuses to the airy tuberculosis hospitals, Gray’s photography reveals through its compositions the poignant echoes of the lives lived, and sometimes lost, at these disappearing asylums.”

Abandoned Asylums of New England should eventually be available for purchase on the museum’s website, but to order a copy right now, you have to send an email to And to keep up-to-date with news about the book, like the Abandoned Asylums of New England Facebook page.

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.

Greystone Photo Album circa 1899

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Greystone Park State Asylum

You like old photos of Kirkbride buildings, right? Dumb question? Well anyway, I’m sure you’ll love these pictures of Greystone Park from 1899 or so. Somebody recently sent me the link to the collection which is owned and presented by the Morristown Library. Some highlights below.

  1. The New Jersey State Hospital
  2. Walks in Front of Hospital
  3. View of Male Wing
  4. Administrative Building
  5. Female Wing and Administrative Building
  6. Main Entrance
  7. Main Entrance (different than above)
  8. Corridor
  9. Manager’s Room
  10. Pathological Laboratory
  11. Medical Staff
  12. Fancy Dress Ball
  13. Amusement Hall
  14. Training School
  15. Chapel
  16. Alcove in Ward
  17. Ward Corridor
  18. Infirmary Ward
  19. Laundry
  20. Main Kitchen
  21. Boiler House
  22. The Park
  23. Distant View of Hospital

I was especially happy to see that these photos were from before the roofline was altered, and that there are a few interior spaces which look very much like they still do today.

What Will the Worcester Clocktower Look Like?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Worcester Clock Tower
An article on the Boston Globe website includes an artist’s rendering of the Worcester State Hospital clock tower replica: Clock Tower: Time Isn’t Up in Worcester. Even though I’m very disappointed in the clock tower replica compromise and don’t think it could ever be a fitting stand-in for the entire building, I have to say it doesn’t look quite as silly as I had feared. What do you think?

More Worcester State Hospital Fire Photos

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Worcester State Hospital Fire
I found a whole slew of photos taken during the infamous Worcester State Hospital Kirkbride fire today. The pictures are part of D. M. Wenc’s portfolio which is available here: Worcester State Hospital Fire. They’re part of a series of Massachusetts fire photos Mr. Wenc and his father took  in the 1990s. They also have video footage of the conflagration that’s being made into a DVD. The DVD will be for sale at a later date.

There are lots of great photos in this collection. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. A lone firefighter watches the Kirkbride burn
  2. Billowing smoke pours out from a ward’s attic
  3. The rear of the Kirkbride in flames with the Clocktower visible in the distance
  4. Flames engulf the Kirkbride attic
  5. Firefighters drenching the building with water
  6. Dousing the flames
  7. Flames leap from a turret
  8. Firefighters continue to drench the building after the fire is mostly extinguished
  9. Firefighters climb up to the roof

I was particularly struck by that last photo, mainly because I’d never seen that structure before. It looks like a group of enclosed porches with some unusual windows. Those were long gone by the time I visited the building for the first time back in 2001. I’ve never seen them in older photos before either.

I was also a little taken aback by the indifferent and nonchalant expressions on many of the people’s faces. It looks like a lot of them thought the fire wasn’t a big deal. It probably wasn’t to many people. I suppose many thought the building was just an old eyesore. But then again, just because someone’s smiling in a photograph doesn’t mean they were having the time of their lives the entire day.

As beautiful as the photos are,  it’s depressing to see these pictures and think about what might have been. If it wasn’t for the fire, the entire Kirkbride might still be perched up there on the hill today.

You can find more photography by D. M. Wenc on his blog: Photography by D. M. Wenc. You can also follow him on Twitter. (Speaking of Twitter, did you know Kirkbride Buildings tweets? As do I, if you’re interested in following me.)

The Electric Pencil’s Identity Revealed

Monday, May 9th, 2011

I thought it worth noting that a reader recently commented on my previous post about the Electric Pencil and provided a link to an article revealing the artist’s identity: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. The piece also mentions that there will be a second edition of the Electric Pencil book.