Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to frequently asked questions and clarifications for common misconceptions about Kirkbride buildings and this web site.

1) How do I get get access to the Kirkbride at [Blank] State Hospital?
Unless the Kirkbride is a tourist destination (such as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum) the only answer to that question is to contact whomever is in charge of the building and request permission to visit. Be prepared to have to jump through some hoops, and to be disappointed too. If you have to be persistant, remember to be polite and respectful. I don't recommend trespassing.
2) Did Dr. Kirkbride design all these buildings?
No. Dr. Kirkbride devised a floorplan and arrangement for an asylum building which was used as a sort of template by architects around the country. These architects designed the individual Kirkbride buildings, often in consultation with other doctors familiar with the Kirkbride plan and/or in running asylums. Dr. Kirkbride did often give advice to architects and doctors designing new asylum buildings, but he was rarely active in actually designing individual Kirkbrides.
3) How much do you want for these buildings?
I don't own any of these buildings and I'm not affiliated with anyone that does. Please don't ask me if I will sell them to you. (Wait! Forget what I just said... $25 million sounds good.)
4) Are these places haunted?
I've never seen or experienced any kind of paranormal activity at any of these buildings. They could be haunted I suppose, but not that I know of.
5) What kind of camera do you use?
For the pictures on this site I used an Olympus C-8080, a Sony Cybershot DSC V-1, and a Sony Cybershot DSC-P71.
6) Can you help me get in touch with a patient at [Blank] State Hospital?
Sorry, but no. It's not within my power to connect you with patients. If you want to get in touch with someone staying at a hospital, find that hospital's contact information and ask them.
7) Can you help me get records for my relative's stay at [Blank] State Hospital?
If you're looking for hospital records, contact the hospital if it's still in operation. If the hospital is closed permanently, contact the department of mental health for whatever state the hospital was in. While they may not be able to provide you with records, they will most likely be able to point you in the right direction for obtaining them.
8) Is it true that torture was committed at these places?
While there may have been isolated malicious acts of torture performed by employees unfit for the care of other human beings, torture was never a part of treatment at these hospitals. Some methods of treatment may seem barbaric to modern minds, but these methods were not meant to inflict pain and were actually supposed to be beneficial to the patients.
9) Can I buy prints of these photographs?
Yes. Select photos of Kirkbride buildings from this web site are available for purchase. You can view the available photos and make purchases from the prints page. If you don't see an image from the building galleries you'd like to have, please contact me to find out if I can make a print of it. Thank you.