Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

 Last year after The Blog Tech and I left the Ramp Festival, we decided to take back roads home to see what we could see.  We do this as often as possible because without exception, we usually see something very interesting. As we were tooling along, looking for ramps and whatnot we suddenly came upon this huge building in a tiny town in West Virginia.  We weren't quite sure what we were seeing and there were few signs other than Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.  We drove around the perimeter taking pics and were totally freaked out when we saw patients shuffling around in pajamas.  Feets don't fail me now....we were out of there!  When we got home we researched it and were determined to return there this year.

 Thinking that ramps might work like garlic to ward off evil beings, we consumed as many as possible, took The Fiance and headed to the asylum.  Click any photo for a closer look. We signed up for a tour.  This is the main entrance to the TALA. The asylum had just opened for tours a month before.  Apparently, when we were there last year, they were planning out how they might run tours and had actors playing patients.  Hey, it worked on us!

 The entire building is very dark and has been since it was built. It is hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

 This is the second largest sandstone building in the world second only to the Kremlin.

 The room with the small balcony housed the nurses that worked there.  They worked 14 hour days with only 1 day off each month.  They were paid 12 dollars a week and it cost them 12.00 a month to live there. They were not allowed to have children or be married.

 It took next to nothing to be committed to institutions like this one. I will show you a list of reasons in a future post.  Basically, once you were in, there was no getting out. This place was initially designed to accommodate 250 patients, when it closed in 1994 (yes, that is the right date), it held 2500 patients.

 This building was added to accommodate the tuberculosis epidemic. There are caged in balconies on either end of the building on each floor and patients were wheeled out there in cold weather to breathe the fresh air.  It was later discovered that this treatment actually worsened TB.

 The sandstone for the building came from the surrounding hills.  The stone was cut and carved by Irish and German stone masons.

 The rear of the building.  This was a self sustaining institution.  They had their own farms, coal mine, hospital, etc. and were so independent that the depression had little effect on the asylum.

 This is the morgue. The nurse is standing in front of one of the body storage units. This is the usual way the patients left this asylum.  Most bodies were unclaimed and the asylum has 3 cemeteries.

I will have more tomorrow.  We took so many photos that we filled the camera and had to use our phones towards the end of the tour.


sandra said…
Wow seeing it with actors and thinking it was real must have been very spooky. The buiding though from the outside is fantastic. Have a good week Diane
Mary said…
It must have just been horrible! Those poor patients, some probably never should have been there.
laurie said…
wow, I think I could go my whole life and never know this existed,, it will haunt me now to think of all those poor souls,,amazing,,
Anonymous said…
Really interesting but still those places are really horrible. We have had a few of them here too and the ones who came in never left here either. I don't think they have ever opened up any so we could see how horrible they were.

Looking forward to more photos.

Have a great day!

Cottage Tails said…
Bet it felt creepy. We stayed the night in an old asylum (didn't know that before hand) and knocking on doors were heard all night long.
Mary Ann said…
I have seen it on several ghost-hunting shows but to think you WALKED there! My goodness!
Oh my, just imagine all the human misery that must permeate those buildings.
Guillaume said…
This reminds me of the post opening credit scene of the movie Halloween. It is a beautiful and eerie building and would be perfect as a setting for a horror story. Or more.
Nar said…
I am sorry to say that I, a native West Virginian, have never visited the old Weston asylum. It's about 2.5 hours away from here, so maybe this summer. :D
Joyce, this would have been a GREAT Halloween post! I have heard of this place but not sure where or how I heard of it. Seems like it was an older relative. I had a game that I bought called the (I think) "The Blackstone Chronicles." It was a really frightening game. I had the whole set of disks..and it was the creepiest thing. I never did get through it to completion. I was alone at the time and had just lost Patrick to cancer and bought my first computer and a couple of games. Institutions were places of horror in the early part of the last century. Wonder how much different they are now.
Remember the movie with Jack Nickelson in "One Flew Over The Coocoo's Nest?" Neat post. I love your road trips!!
Terrible, frightening game.
An interesting tour to be sure. Actors as patients is intriguing. a shame the reality for many of the people housed there was a nightmare. Society has always treated those who are different with disdain and cruelty.
Jim said…
What a crime!