Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Location: Weston, West Virginia
Status: Privately Owned but most buildings in decay
Reason: Financial Issues / State of Repairs
The Weston State Hospital also known as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Opened in 1864. This Kirkbride psychiatric hospital is the largest hand cut stone masonry building in North America, second largest in the world. This building was part of the Kirkbride Plan which was designed by Thomas Kirkbride. The Kirkbride Plan was designed for Moral Treatment with long wings staggered from each other to provide plenty of sunlight and fresh air. All kirkbride plan architecture represented a Victorian style era with large tall entrances. In the 1900s, the krikbride plan of moral treatment became less used and it buildings were becoming expensive to maintain. A lot of them were left abandoned, most torn down but a lot still stand today. This Kirkbride was designed to hold 250 patients but by 1950, it had 2,600. It closed in 1994 b/c of changes in the treatment of mental illnesses and the building was falling apart. During the 19th century, the humans who were said to have mental illnesses would end up in these asylums. They were brought in by confinement cribs and had many treatments practice on them which were said to help release there poison. These treatments were known as shock therapy (patients were given insulin in a large dose that would put them in a coma for an hour. This treatment would be repeated many time sometime killing the individual since no guidelines were set on how much of a dose could be given), hydrotherapy (patients were placed in a tub suspended on a hammock and a sheet was cut out for their head to immobilize them and to prevent them from drowning), Bloodletting (It was said that the mentally insane has poisonousness blood and by removing it, they would be a normal human again. This was done by either leaches or incision to try and drain the blood. This would often leave patients exhausted and anemic. Sometimes transfusions were also attempted with some being animal blood.), and the most controversial method known as Lobotomy (This was performed on over 25,000 in the united states in by the mid 50s by severing the connections in the frontal lobe of the brain thus rending them docile). During the years of its abandonment, copper thieves went through and removed a lot of the wiring in the building. There was also a case were off duty police officers used the building for paint ball games which they were all caught and believed to be released from their duty. A preservation group bought the property for around 1.5 million dollars and today it uses public tours to try and make revenue to keep it history alive.
Photos I took while exploring. Click on them to view larger image.