Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

After the rampfest my daughter and I made a beeline to visit the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.  She had never seen it so we took a quick trip and she will certainly be returning with The Chef to take a tour. This place amazes me.  Here is a bit of information about it:

Designed to house 250 souls
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, constructed between 1858 and 1881, is the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in North America, and is purportedly the second largest in the world, next to the Kremlin. It was designed by the renowned architect Richard Andrews following the Kirkbride plan, which called for long rambling wings arranged in a staggered formation, assuring that each of the connecting structures received an abundance of therapeutic sunlight and fresh air. The original hospital, designed to house 250 souls, was open to patients in 1864 and reached its peak in the 1950's with 2,400 patients in overcrowded and generally poor conditions. Changes in the treatment of mental illness and the physical deterioration of the facility forced its closure in 1994 inflicting a devastating effect on the local economy, from which it has yet to recover.
This is the tuberculosis building.

It's hard to imagine that it closed as recently as 1994.

Restraint room.

It may seem macabre to some but it is part of the history of this country. Come to think of it, this current political situation makes me want to be admitted.

A patient undergoing electroshock therapy.

This group of traveling doctors went all over America lobotomizing patients.  They are the ones that performed the badly botched lobotomy on the Kennedy sister.

They placed you on a table and made you sing and they basically hammered an ice pick into your brain until you stopped singing.  Then they were done.
These crates were used not only in the hospital but also to transport patients from their homes to the hospital by train.

The tour guides dress in nurse and orderly attire.

It is truly a site to see.


Linda said…
I have not read all the plaques, but the large signs signifying all the treatments are horrifying.
Mary said…
It has to be a difficult place to visit, I found it hard to even look at the photos. Gene Tierney ( I adored) had shock treatments. You should read the book about her she discusses those treatments and her life. I think it is call Gene Tierney a Biography.
scary to know a place like this existed.
Fascinating shots. A beautiful, peaceful edifice, it must have appeared to be a tranquil place to park a troubled loved one. Then, behind closed doors... The methods of treating already fragile souls were nothing more than chilling examples of torture. What humans dream up to do to another, in the name of...