Friday, July 1, 2011
Bizarre Facts: Trans-Alleghany Lunatic Asylum
1. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in North America. It is the second largest in the world, next to the Kremlin.
2. The facility was called Armand Auclerc Weston State Hospital, then Weston State Hospital, and then Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.
3. It took 23 years to build. Construction was started in 1858, halted in 1861 because of the American Civil War, and resumed in 1862 after the Government took money to fund the construction. It shut down for good in May of 1994.
4. It has 9 acres of floor space and to travel through all the wards it would be a 2 1/3 mile walk.
5. It was originally designed to hold 250 patients, but topped out at 2,400 patients in the 1950’s.
6. The facility has a 200-foot central clock and separate rooms built for black people to be housed.
7. For decades and within the thick walls of the asylum were the insane, derelict and basically those who were discarded. The violence was an everyday event with the patients often exposed to harsh treatment.
8. The seclusion cells are where the more violent patients were kept. Some were chain to walls, naked, covered in waste, and were constantly beaten with rods.
9. The medical center is where primeval procedures and autopsies were performed.
10. The asylum was completely self-sufficient.
11. The massive building encircled a cemetery, dairy, farm, and waterworks.
12. The building sits on 666 acres of land.