The gloomy, gray sky provided a fitting backdrop for aerial footage of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, also known as the Weston State Hospital, located in Weston, West Virginia. The dense clouds seemed to mirror the troubled history of the institution, which was once home to individuals with mental illness. The dreary weather seemed to reflect the somber atmosphere that once prevailed within the walls of the asylum. However, despite its tumultuous past, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum remains a fascinating and historic site, and its aerial views, captured on this overcast morning, provide a unique perspective on its grand architecture and sprawling grounds.
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The Baltimore City Hospital, designed by architect Richard Snowden Andrews, was a unique combination of Gothic Revival and Tudor Revival styles. Construction on the hospital began in 1858 and was completed in 1864, when the first patients were admitted. In 1872-73, large wings were added to the original building, making it the largest structure built from hand-cut stone in the United States and the second-largest in the world after the Kremlin. The hospital, which stretches a impressive 1,295 feet in length, is a testament to the hard work and dedication of its designers and builders ,who were determined to provide top-notch healthcare to the people of Baltimore. Its impressive size and striking architectural style made the Baltimore City Hospital a renowned and respected institution for many years.
In 1986, Governor Arch Moore announced his intentions to convert the circa 1880 mental treatment facility into a prison. This decision was met with much resistance and legal battles, but eventually, the new William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital opened in 1994. However, in 2007, the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources decided to auction off the now vacant hospital. The highest bidder was Joe Jordan, an asbestos demolition contractor, who had plans to restore and preserve the complex rather than demolish it. Despite the lengthy and tumultuous process, the William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital finally found a new purpose and owner.
As of 2021, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum has a range of tours and events for visitors to choose from. These include heritage tours, which provide a glimpse into the history of the asylum and its patients. There are also paranormal experiences, which allow visitors to explore the asylum’s haunted areas and possibly encounter some of its rumored ghosts. For those interested in photography, the asylum offers events specifically geared towards capturing the unique atmosphere and architecture of the building. In addition, the asylum hosts ghost hunts and the annual Asylum Ball, providing even more opportunities for visitors to fully immerse themselves in the asylum’s intriguing past.