Spencer State Hospital

In order to relieve overcrowding at the state's First Hospital for the Insane in Weston, West Virginia's legislature authorized the creation of a Second Hospital for the Insane in 1887. The town of Spencer in Roane County was chosen for the asylum's location because the county was prepared to donate the necessary land. In 1893 construction of the quarter-mile long brick Kirkbride was completed and the hospital officially opened.

This Kirkbride was unusual in that the wing sections were not set back in the standard "en echelon" pattern. Possibly because of the lay of the land, the wards were built in one straight line. Breezeways between the different sections were meant to compensate for this and allow air into each ward from all four sides. Radical modifications to the building started in the mid twentieth century. The building's cupolas and peaks were removed and replaced with a flat roof in 1959. And the administration section was demolished and replaced in the mid 1970s.

Spencer State Hospital was closed in 1989 and in 1993, an auction there was held. Nearly everything on the property was available for sale. The buildings at the hospital have sence been demolished and the site is now home to a Wal-Mart store.

Other names for this hospital:

  • Second Hospital for the Insane


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