this page outlines what all the buildings were used for (also scroll over the map and click to see lots of other pictures) don't miss this, either
Why the insane asylum? I'm not asking that facetiously, I really want to know.
And I may give a longer answer than she needs!
I could swear I've written about the State Hospital before, but darned if I can find the post...suffice to say one night a friend and I had a ghost siting there...
Hmm. The State Hospital. When I was growing up it was acres of crumbling gorgeous buildings, beautiful trees, lots of spooky, eerie stories and a magnet for angst-ridden teenagers. My mother worked in a building across the street (the old nurses residence) and in the basement there was a tunnel leading across the street to many of the major buildings. It was rumored the grounds around the hospital complex were riddled with those tunnels, and searches would be made by flashlight at night, trying to find a way into the boarded-up stately place.
I've actually been in the main building (with permission! honest!) - the last part of it closed down in 1989, and I remember a pervasive smell of mildew, a room with crumbling wall paper, and chairs that looked like they'd been there forever.
There were so many stories! Although there was a general feeling of healing, of the drawing up and scarring over of an old wound around the huge trees and little courtyards, there were still tangible reminders that this had been a place of suffering not too long ago. I've been to the graveyard where many of the patients were buried, and I've seen dusty rooms with old stretchers stacked against the wall, restraints hanging drunkenly off the sides. There was a gorgeous building with a two-storey balcony - astoundingly beautiful, if you ignored the metal grid that kept people in.
When I was older I used to go for long solitary walks there - there were miles of trails - and I used to soak up the quiet and wish someone could find a way to bring life back to all that gorgeous architecture before all the buildings rotted to the ground. The (modern medical) hospital began to encroach upon its borders, and ominous noises began to be made about bulldozing the lot and using the space for a (sacrilege!) parking garage and perhaps a heli-port.
I moved to Canada while the debate was still raging, but I miss being able to grab my music player and stroll through all that space, all that healing, going-back-to-wild acreage in the midst of suberbia.
And from a crumbling eyesore that noone wanted to destroy but was too expensive to rebuild to this a place where the gracious old buildings live in harmony with rehabbed spaces. I haven't been there (I haven't been back!) but I can't wait to see....