Weston State Hospital
The Hospital's main building in 2006
|Location||Asylum Drive, Weston, West Virginia|
|Area||26.5 acres (10.7 ha)|
|Built||Constructed 1858-1881. Opened to patients 1864.|
|Architect||Richard Snowden Andrews|
|Architectural style|| Gothic Revival |
|NRHP reference #||78002805|
|Added to NRHP||April 19, 1978|
|Designated NHL||June 21, 1990|
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, subsequently the Weston State Hospital, was a Kirkbridepsychiatric hospital that was operated from 1864 until 1994 by the government of the U.S. state of West Virginia, in the city of Weston. Weston State Hospital got its name in 1913 which was used while patients occupied it, but was changed back to its originally commissioned, unused name, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, after being reopened as a tourist attraction.
The Kirkbride Plan was a system of mental asylum design advocated by Philadelphia psychiatrist Thomas Story Kirkbride (1809–1883) in the mid-19th century. The asylums built in the Kirkbride design, often referred to as Kirkbride Buildings, were constructed during the mid-to-late-19th century in the United States. The structural features of the hospitals as designated by Dr. Kirkbride were contingent on his theories regarding the healing of the mentally ill, in which environment and exposure to natural light and air circulation were crucial. The hospitals built according to the Kirkbride Plan would adopt various architectural styles, but had in common the "bat wing" style floor plan, housing numerous wings that sprawl outward from the center.
Psychiatric hospitals, also known as mental hospitals, mental health units, mental asylums or simply asylums, are hospitals or wards specializing in the treatment of serious mental disorders, such as major depressive disorder, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Psychiatric hospitals vary widely in their size and grading. Some hospitals may specialize only in short term or outpatient therapy for low-risk patients. Others may specialize in the temporary or permanent care of residents who, as a result of a psychological disorder, require routine assistance, treatment, or a specialized and controlled environment. Patients are often admitted on a voluntary basis, but people whom psychiatrists believe may pose a significant danger to themselves or others may be subject to involuntary commitment. Psychiatric hospitals may also be referred to as psychiatric wards or units when they are a subunit of a regular hospital.
In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.
Built by architect Richard Andrews, it was constructed from 1858–1881. Originally designed to hold 250 people, it became overcrowded in the 1950s with 2,400 patients. It was forcibly closed in 1994 due to changes in patient treatment. The hospital was bought by Joe Jordan in 2007, and is opened for tours and other events to raise money for its restoration.The hospital's main building is claimed to be one of the largest hand-cut stone masonry buildings in the United States, and the second largest hand-cut sandstone building in the world, with the only bigger one being in the Moscow Kremlin. As Weston Hospital Main Building, it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1990.
Stonemasonry or stonecraft is the creation of buildings, structures, and sculpture using stone as the primary material. It is one of the oldest activities and professions in human history. Many of the long-lasting, ancient shelters, temples, monuments, artifacts, fortifications, roads, bridges, and entire cities were built of stone. Famous works of stonemasonry include the Egyptian Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, Cusco's Incan Wall, Easter Island's statues, Angkor Wat, Borobudur, Tihuanaco, Tenochtitlan, Persepolis, the Parthenon, Stonehenge, the Great Wall of China, Chartres Cathedral, and Pumapunku.
The Moscow Kremlin, or simply the Kremlin, is a fortified complex in the center of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River to the south, Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square to the east, and the Alexander Garden to the west. It is the best known of the kremlins and includes five palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers. In addition, within this complex is the Grand Kremlin Palace that was formerly the Tsar's Moscow residence. The complex now serves as the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation and as a museum with 2,746,405 visitors in 2017.
A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a building, district, object, site, or structure that is officially recognized by the United States government for its outstanding historical significance. Of over 90,000 places listed on the country's National Register of Historic Places, only some 2,500 are recognized as National Historic Landmarks.
The hospital was authorized by the Virginia General Assembly in the early 1850s as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.Following consultations with Thomas Story Kirkbride, then-superintendent of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane, a building in the Kirkbride Plan was designed in the Gothic Revival and Tudor Revival styles by Richard Snowden Andrews (1830–1903), an architect from Baltimore whose other commissions included the Maryland Governor's residence in Annapolis and the south wing of the U.S. Treasury building in Washington. Construction on the site, along the West Fork River opposite downtown Weston, began in late 1858. Work was initially conducted by prison laborers; a local newspaper in November of that year noted "seven convict negroes" as the first arrivals for work on the project. Skilled stonemasons were later brought in from Germany and Ireland.
The Virginia General Assembly is the legislative body of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the oldest continuous law-making body in the New World, established on July 30, 1619. The General Assembly is a bicameral body consisting of a lower house, the Virginia House of Delegates, with 100 members, and an upper house, the Senate of Virginia, with 40 members. Combined together, the General Assembly consists of 140 elected representatives from an equal number of constituent districts across the commonwealth. The House of Delegates is presided over by the Speaker of the House, while the Senate is presided over by the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. The House and Senate each elect a clerk and sergeant-at-arms. The Senate of Virginia's clerk is known as the "Clerk of the Senate".
The Allegheny Mountain Range, informally the Alleghenies and also spelled Alleghany and Allegany, is part of the vast Appalachian Mountain Range of the Eastern United States and Canada and posed a significant barrier to land travel in less technologically advanced eras. The barrier range has a northeast–southwest orientation and runs for about 400 miles (640 km) from north-central Pennsylvania, through western Maryland and eastern West Virginia, to southwestern Virginia.
Thomas Story Kirkbride was a physician, advocate for the mentally ill, and founder of the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane (AMSAII), a precursor to the American Psychiatric Association.
Construction was interrupted by the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861. Following its secession from the United States, the government of Virginia demanded the return of the hospital's unused construction funds for its defense. Before this could occur, the 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry seized the money from a local bank, delivering it to Wheeling. It was put towards the establishment of the Reorganized Government of Virginia, which sided with the northern states during the war. The Reorganized Government appropriated money to resume construction in 1862. Following the admission of West Virginia as a U.S. state in 1863, the hospital was renamed the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane. The first patients were admitted in October 1864, but construction continued into 1881. The 200-foot (61 m) 666 acres (270 ha ) in area.central clock tower was completed in 1871, and separate rooms for black people were completed in 1873. The hospital was intended to be self-sufficient, and a farm, dairy, waterworks, and cemetery were located on its grounds, which ultimately reached
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North (Union) and the South (Confederacy). The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North, which also included some geographically western and southern states, proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.
The 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment formed in northeastern Ohio for service in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It served in the Eastern Theater in a number of campaigns and battles with the Army of Virginia and the Army of the Potomac, and was then transferred to the Western Theater, where it joined the Army of the Cumberland besieged at Chattanooga. It is of the 7th regiment that a war historian wrote, "All in all, considering the number of its battles, its marches, its losses, its conduct in action, it may be safely said that not a single regiment in the United States gained more lasting honor or deserved better of its country than the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry.”
Wheeling is a city in Ohio and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Located almost entirely in Ohio County, of which it is the county seat, it lies along the Ohio River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Wheeling was originally a settlement in the British colony of Virginia and later an important city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Wheeling was the first state capital of West Virginia. Due to its location along major transportation routes, including the Ohio River, National Road, and the B&O Railroad, Wheeling became a manufacturing center in the late nineteenth century. After experiencing the closing of factories and substantial population loss following World War II, Wheeling's major industries now include healthcare, education, law and legal services, entertainment and tourism, and energy.
A gas well was drilled on the hospital grounds in 1902.Its name was again changed to Weston State Hospital in 1913.
Natural gas is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, but commonly including varying amounts of other higher alkanes, and sometimes a small percentage of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, hydrogen sulfide, or helium. It is formed when layers of decomposing plant and animal matter are exposed to intense heat and pressure under the surface of the Earth over millions of years. The energy that the plants originally obtained from the sun is stored in the form of chemical bonds in the gas.
Originally designed to house 250 patients in solitude, the hospital held 717 patients by 1880; 1,661 in 1938; over 1,800 in 1949; at its peak, 2,600 in the 1950s in overcrowded conditions. A 1938 report by a survey committee organized by a group of North American medical organizations found that the hospital housed "epileptics, alcoholics, drug addicts and non-educable mental defectives" among its population. A series of reports by The Charleston Gazette in 1949 found poor sanitation and insufficient furniture, lighting, and heating in much of the complex, while one wing, which had been rebuilt using Works Progress Administration funds following a 1935 fire started by a patient, was comparatively luxurious.
Epilepsy is a group of neurological disorders characterized by epileptic seizures. Epileptic seizures are episodes that can vary from brief and nearly undetectable periods to long periods of vigorous shaking. These episodes can result in physical injuries, including occasionally broken bones. In epilepsy, seizures tend to recur and, as a rule, have no immediate underlying cause. Isolated seizures that are provoked by a specific cause such as poisoning are not deemed to represent epilepsy. People with epilepsy may be treated differently in various areas of the world and experience varying degrees of social stigma due to their condition.
Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a broad term for any drinking of alcohol that results in mental or physical health problems. The disorder was previously divided into two types: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. In a medical context, alcoholism is said to exist when two or more of the following conditions are present: a person drinks large amounts of alcohol over a long time period, has difficulty cutting down, acquiring and drinking alcohol takes up a great deal of time, alcohol is strongly desired, usage results in not fulfilling responsibilities, usage results in social problems, usage results in health problems, usage results in risky situations, withdrawal occurs when stopping, and alcohol tolerance has occurred with use. Risky situations include drinking and driving or having unsafe sex, among other things. Alcohol use can affect all parts of the body, but it particularly affects the brain, heart, liver, pancreas and immune system. This can result in mental illness, Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome, irregular heartbeat, an impaired immune response, liver cirrhosis and increased cancer risk, among other diseases. Drinking during pregnancy can cause damage to the baby resulting in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Women are generally more sensitive than men to the harmful physical and mental effects of alcohol.
The Works Progress Administration was an American New Deal agency, employing millions of job-seekers to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. It was established on May 6, 1935, by Executive Order 7034. In a much smaller project, Federal Project Number One, the WPA employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects. The four projects dedicated to these were: the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP), the Historical Records Survey (HRS), the Federal Theatre Project (FTP), the Federal Music Project (FMP), and the Federal Art Project (FAP). In the Historical Records Survey, for instance, many former slaves in the South were interviewed; these documents are of great importance for American history. Theater and music groups toured throughout America, and gave more than 225,000 performances. Archaeological investigations under the WPA were influential in the rediscovery of pre-Columbian Native American cultures, and the development of professional archaeology in the US.
Weston State Hospital found itself to be the home for the West Virginia Lobotomy Project in the early 1950s. This was an effort by the state of West Virginia and Walter Freeman to use lobotomy to reduce the number of patients in asylums because there was severe overcrowding.
By the 1980s, the hospital had a reduced population due to changes in the treatment of mental illness. Those patients who could not be controlled were often locked in cages. In 1986, then-Governor Arch Moore announced plans to build a new psychiatric facility elsewhere in the state and convert the Weston hospital to a prison.Ultimately the new facility, the William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital, was built in Weston and the old Weston State Hospital was simply closed in May 1994. The building and its grounds have since been mostly vacant, aside from local events such as fairs, church revivals, and tours. In 1999, all four floors of the interior of the building were damaged by several city and county police officers playing paintball, three of whom were dismissed over the incident.
Efforts towards adaptive reuse of the building have included proposals to convert the building into a Civil War Museumand a hotel and golf course complex. A non-profit 501(c)3 organization, the Weston Hospital Revitalization Committee, was formed in 2000 for the purpose of aiding the preservation of the building and finding appropriate tenants.
Three small museums devoted to military history, toys, and mental health were opened on the first floor of the main hospital building in 2004, but were soon forced to close due to fire code violations.
The hospital was auctioned by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources on August 29, 2007. Joe Jordan, an asbestos demolition contractor from Morgantown, was the high bidder and paid $1.5 million for the 242,000-square-foot (22,500 m2) building. Bidding started at $500,000. Joe Jordan has also begun maintenance projects on the former hospital grounds. In October 2007, a Fall Fest was held at the Weston State Hospital. Guided historic and paranormal daytime tours were offered as well as evening ghost hunts and paranormal tours.
The main building of the asylum, known as the Kirkbride, holds several rooms that serve as the museum, located on the first floor. There are paintings, poems, and drawings made by patients in the art therapy programs, a room dedicated to the different medical treatments and restraints used in the past, and artifacts such as a straitjacket and hydrotherapy tub. The tour guides dress in clothes that resemble 19th century nurse outfits; blue dress, white apron, white cap, and white shoes. The shorter historical tour offer allows visitors to see the first floor of the Kirkbride, while the longer historical tour allows visitors to see all four floors, apartments of the staff, the morgue, and the operating room. Aside from the historical tours, there are also two paranormal tours. Both start as the sun sets, the shorter tour lasting around two to three hours, the longer tour being overnight with the option of having a private tour.
Weston is a city in Lewis County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 4,110 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Lewis County, and home to the Museum of American Glass in West Virginia and the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.
The Clinton Valley Center (CVC), originally called the Eastern Michigan Asylum for the Insane, was a psychiatric hospital located at 140 Elizabeth Lake Road in Pontiac, Michigan. The facility was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1974 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981, with a decrease in its boundaries in 1986. The facility was closed in 1997 and demolished in 2000.
The Danvers State Hospital, also known as the State Lunatic Hospital at Danvers, The Danvers Lunatic Asylum, and The Danvers State Insane Asylum, was a psychiatric hospital located in Danvers, Massachusetts. It was built in 1874, and opened in 1878, under the supervision of prominent Boston architect Nathaniel Jeremiah Bradlee, on an isolated site in rural Massachusetts. It was a multi-acre, self-contained psychiatric hospital designed and built according to the Kirkbride Plan.
Taunton State Hospital is a psychiatric hospital located on Hodges Avenue in Taunton, Massachusetts. Established in 1854, it was originally known as the State Lunatic Hospital at Taunton. It was the second state asylum in Massachusetts. Most of the original part of the facility was built in a unique and rare neo-classical style designed by architects Boyden & Ball. It is also a Kirkbride Plan hospital and is located on a large 154-acre (62 ha) farm along the Mill River.
The Ridges, formerly called the Athens Lunatic Asylum, was a mental hospital operated in Athens, Ohio from 1874 until 1993. During its operation, the hospital provided services to a variety of patients including Civil War veterans, children, and those declared mentally unwell. As for instance, woman with postpartum depression or "hysteria" were labeled insane and sent to "recover" in the institution. The first patient of the Asylum was a 12-year-old girl with epilepsy, thought to be possessed by a demon. The Athens Lunatic Asylum was one of the first Victorian-style mental intuitions in North America that didn't use torture as a means to treat patients, but instead encouraged holistic healing through activities such as, gardening and counseling and having access to fresh air. Today, the Ridges are a part of Ohio University and house the Kennedy Museum of Art, an auditorium and many offices, classrooms, and storage facilities.
Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital referred to both the former psychiatric hospital and the historic building that it occupied in Morris Plains, New Jersey. Built in 1876, the facility was built to alleviate overcrowding at the state's only other "lunatic asylum" located in Trenton, New Jersey. Originally built to accommodate 350 people, the facility, having been expanded several times, reached a high of over 7700 patients resulting in unprecedented overcrowding conditions. In 2008, the facility was ordered to be closed as a result of deteriorating conditions and overcrowding. A new facility was built on the large Greystone campus nearby and bears the same name as the aging facility. Despite considerable public opposition and media attention, demolition of the main Kirkbride building began in April 2014 and was completed by October 2015.
Harrisburg State Hospital, formerly known as Pennsylvania State Lunatic Hospital from 1851 to 1937, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Dauphin County, on Cameron and McClay Streets, was Pennsylvania's first public facility to house the mentally ill and disabled.
Central State Hospital is a 192-bed adult psychiatric hospital located in eastern Louisville-Jefferson County, Kentucky. In 1869, 200 acres were purchased by the Kentucky State Legislature from the descendants of renown frontiersman Issac Hite to establish a "State House of Reform for Juvenile Delinquents." This was located on the outskirts of what would become Anchorage, Kentucky. In 1873, due to overcrowding at both of Kentucky's mental hospitals, the House of Reform was converted into the Fourth Kentucky Lunatic Asylum, with Dr. C.C. Forbes as its first Superintendent. The following year an act of the legislature renamed it the Central Kentucky Lunatic Asylum. In late 1887, it received its own post office, called simply "Asylum". The following year its name was changed to "Lakeland", and the institution was commonly referred to as "Lakeland Hospital" or "Lakeland Asylum". By 1900, its official name had been changed to the Central Kentucky Asylum for the Insane. By 1912 it was known as Central State Hospital. Comparable institutions are Eastern State Hospital at Lexington in Fayette County and Western State Hospital at Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky. All three were administered by the Board of Charitable Organizations.
The Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital, also known as Kirkbride's Hospital or the Pennsylvania Hospital for Mental and Nervous Diseases, was a psychiatric hospital located at 48th and Haverford Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. It operated from its founding in 1841 until 1997. The remaining building, now called the Kirkbride Center is now part of the Blackwell Human Services Campus.
Dixmont State Hospital was a hospital located northwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Built in 1862, Dixmont was once a state-of-the-art institution known for its highly self-sufficient and park-like campus, but a decline in funding for state hospitals and changing philosophies in psychiatric care caused the hospital to be closed in 1984. After more than two decades of abandonment, it was finally demolished in 2006. The campus spanned a total of 407 acres (165 ha). Reed Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Peoria State Hospital Historic District, also known as Bartonville State Hospital or Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane, was a psychiatric hospital operated by the State of Illinois from 1902 to 1973. The hospital is located in Bartonville, Illinois, near the city of Peoria in Peoria County. The hospital grounds and its 47 buildings are listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.
Western State Hospital, called Western State Lunatic Asylum in its early years, is a hospital for the mentally ill in Staunton, Virginia, which admitted its first patient on July 24, 1828.
Worcester State Hospital was a Massachusetts state mental hospital located in Worcester, Massachusetts. It is credited to the architectural firm of Weston & Rand. The hospital and surrounding associated historic structures are listed as Worcester Asylum and related buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute was a psychiatric institution located in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, USA. Originally known as the Iowa Lunatic Asylum, it opened in 1861. It is located on the same campus as The Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility. There was also a labyrinth of underground tunnels which connect every building. Like most asylums of its time, it had a gruesome and dark history. Remnants of this are the graveyard, hydrotherapy tubs and lobotomy equipment. It was the first asylum in Iowa and was built under the Kirkbride Plan. It was closed after a massive fire destroyed most of the building and left the rest of the complex beyond repair.
The Independence State Hospital was built in 1873 as the second asylum in the state of Iowa. It is located in Independence, Iowa. The original plan for patients was to relieve crowding from the hospital at Mount Pleasant and to hold alcoholics, geriatrics, drug addicts, mentally ill, and the criminally insane. It was built under the Kirkbride Plan. The hospital's many names include: The Independence Lunatic Asylum, The Independence State Asylum, The Independence Asylum for the Insane, The Iowa State Hospital for the Insane, and The Independence Mental Health Institute. There is also a labyrinth of underground tunnels which connect every building. Like most asylums of its time, it has had a gruesome and dark history. Remnants of this are the graveyard, hydrotherapy tubs, and lobotomy equipment.
The Clarinda Treatment Complex was built in 1884 as the Clarinda State Hospital in Clarinda, Iowa in southwest Iowa. It was the third asylum in the state of Iowa. The hospital's many name variations include: The Clarinda Lunatic Asylum, The Clarinda State Asylum, The Clarinda Asylum for the Insane, and The Clarinda Mental Health Institute. It was built under the Kirkbride Plan. The original plan for patients was to hold alcoholics, geriatrics, drug addicts, mentally ill, and the criminally insane. In 2009, it was made public that, to save money, the state may close one of the four hospitals in Iowa. On June 30, 2015, the hospital facility was shut down and all patient services terminated. The Clarinda Academy, owned by Sequel Youth Services, is the sole occupant of the former hospital grounds.
Central State Hospital, originally known as the Central Lunatic Asylum, is a psychiatric hospital in Petersburg, Virginia, United States. It was the first institution in the country for "colored persons of unsound mind".
The Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center is a former hospital located in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. It was built in the Kirkbride Plan style and first opened to patients in 1890. Over the next century it operated as one of the state's main hospitals for the mentally ill and also worked with people with developmental disabilities and chemical dependency issues. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
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