Monday, June 6, 2016


Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, formerly known as Weston State Hospital, is located in Weston, West Virginia. It operated from 1864 until 1994, when it was forcibly closed as attitudes and the treatment of patients with mental health issues changed. Originally designed to hold 250 patients in solitude, the hospital held 717 patients by 1880; 661 in 1938 over 1,800 in 1949; and at its peak 2,600 in the 1950's in overcrowded conditions. The hospital housed "epileptics, alcoholics, drug addicts and non-educable mental defectives" among its residents. In 1935, a fire was started by a patient that destroyed six male wards and caused one of the cupolas to fall through the roof. Works Progress Administration funds were used to reconstruct the damaged areas. The rebuilt wing was luxurious compared to the rest of the hospital, which was reported to have poor sanitation, insufficient lighting, furniture, and heating. Over time the amount of patients admitted grew. With insufficient funding to support them, the conditions became worse. Many patients that could not be controlled were locked in cages. By the 1980's the hospital had a reduced population. In 1986 plans were announced to build a new psychiatric facility and the asylum be converted into a prison. The new facility was built but the asylum was simply closed. Patients at the hospital would have been exposed to methods that were considered ground breaking in their day, but cruel by today's standards. A nurse recalled being present as a doctor performed a lobotomy with an ice-pick type instrument, and other patients were subjected to cold bath treatments to stop their hysteria. The hospital closed its doors in 1994, after more than 100 lobotomies and cold bath treatments for patients, many of whom just had the misfortune to have been abandoned by their families. The hospital was bought by Joe Jordan in 2007. It is partly opened for tours and other money raising events for its restoration. Provided by Jay Jones LA Times Daily Mail

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