15 Staggering Photos Of An Abandoned Asylum Hiding In West Virginia
Next time you’re traveling through Weston, WV, make it a point to see The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (TALA). Previously named the Weston State Hospital, the TALA was a psychiatric hospital that operated from 1864 until 1994 by the state of West Virginia. Built by architect Richard Andrews, it was constructed from 1858-1881.
1. The massive Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (previously the Weston State Hospital).
The hospital's main building is claimed to be one of the largest hand-cut stone masonry buildings in the United States, and the second largest hand-cut sandstone building in the World, second only to the Kremlin in Moscow. Weston Hospital Main Building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1990. The entire facility and 300 acres were privately purchased in August of 2007 and renamed Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (TALA).
2. Many areas of the old hospital remain off limits, although a variety of tours are offered.
Originally designed to house only 250 patients in solitude, the hospital held 717 patients by 1880; 1,661 in 1938; over 1,800 in 1949; and, at its peak, 2,600 in the 1950s in overcrowded conditions. Those patients that could not be controlled were often kept locked in cages.
3. Take a walk down creepy hallways.
A series of reports by The Charleston Gazette in 1949 found poor sanitation and insufficient furniture, lighting, and heating in much of the complex.
4. Much of the building has fallen into disrepair, or been damaged by vandals.
By the 1980s, the hospital's population has been reduced due to changes in the treatment of mental illness. In 1986, then-Governor Arch Moore announced plans to build a new psychiatric facility elsewhere in the state and convert the Weston hospital to a prison.
5. A striking view of the main building's Gothic/Tudor facade.
Ultimately the new facility -- the William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital -- was constructed in Weston and the old Weston State Hospital was simply closed in May, 1994. The building and its grounds have since been mostly vacant, aside from local events such as fairs, church revivals, and tours.
6. An abandoned medical procedures room.
7. Many fixtures and some furniture were simply abandoned.
8. This room was previously a nurse's quarters.
9. Time to take your meds! An abandoned medicine cabinet, fallen into disrepair.
10. A well-lit former gathering room.
11. A very creepy staircase makes for an awesome photograph.
12. An abandoned bathroom.
13. The abandoned barbershop.
14. These screened, open air areas were built because it was believed that fresh air could cure tuberculosis.
15. Restoration efforts are currently underway.
With the aid of government grants, private donations, and fundraising events, a team of dedicated local volunteers are committed to restoring the TALA to its former grandeur in an effort to revive the local economy and preserve an important piece of American history.
With so much creepy history behind it, why wouldn’t you stop for a visit? A tour? Or maybe to donate to the restoration? What other creepy locations in West Virginia have you visited?
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