Weston State Hospital
Construction of the Weston State Hospital Kirkbride building, designed by R. Snowden Andrews, began in 1858 but was stalled by the outbreak of the Civil War. The asylum finally opened as the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane soon after West Virginia became a state in 1863, and the Kirkbride building began accommodating patients in 1864. Construction of the building, however, was not completed until 1880.
Composed primarily of blue sandstone, it is claimed that Weston Hospital is the largest hand-cut stone building in North America. Regardless of its size, there is beautiful detail in the stonework, including several carved faces — some human, some animal. The building is surrounded by a large tree-shaded park which is enclosed by a wrought iron fence. The central clocktower is the building's most striking feature. Rising from the roof of the central administration building, the tower is topped by a long spire. In all it reaches some 200 feet into the air.
In 1994 the Weston State Hospital Kirkbride was vacated and abandoned for several years. In 2007, the property was purchased at auction and is currently privately owned. In 2008 the location was re-christened the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (one of its earlier names). Preservation of the Kirkbride building appears to be a real possibility now. For more information on this building's future and for a list of current public activites at the location, please see www.trans-alleghenylunaticasylum.com.
Other names for this hospital:
- Lunatic Asylum West of the Allegheny Mountains
- West Virginia Hospital for the Insane
- First Hospital for the Insane
- Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
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