Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, constructed between 1858 and 1881, is the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in North America, and is purportedly the second largest in the world, next to the Kremlin. It was designed by the renowned architect Richard Andrews following the Kirkbride plan, which called for long rambling wings arranged in a staggered formation, assuring that each of the connecting structures received an abundance of therapeutic sunlight and fresh air. The original hospital, designed to house 250 souls, was open to patients in 1864 and reached its peak in the 1950's with 2,400 patients in overcrowded and generally poor conditions. Changes in the treatment of mental illness and the physical deterioration of the facility forced its closure in 1994 inflicting a devastating effect on the local economy, from which it has yet to recover.
This is such an interesting place. There is a lot of history to be learned and beautiful architecture. The ambiance is really unique as well. We were set up here for a BBQ bash and they were doing a lot of tours and had a haunted house. I would recommend going around Halloween as they have a lot of fun things going on. You can also book the place overnight, if you're feeling adventurous.
Great destination! Nice folks running the place. Fascinating history! You have to make a point to come to this facility if you are anywhere near Weston West Virginia! This facility has been here so long that it was originally in the Commonwealth of Virginia serving Pennsylvania and the surrounding states. The stories and history will transport you to a very different time!
Was a good tour. When we were leaving we got in the car. I dropped my phone between the seat and the door. When I tried to open the door to be able to get the phone, the door wouldn't open. Pulling the lock or hitting the button wouldn't work. Eventually we got it to open. It had never happened before and 7 months later has not happened since. Probably a glitch but freaked me out a little.
Gilbert Smith III
The Asylum itself was pretty fun. Loads of creep factor, huge areas to explore, fun stories. We did an overnight tour. It was absolutely freezing in February though. The weather outside was 50 and rainy, but inside it couldn't have been more than 20-25 degrees. The old stone building was condensing and dripping water everywhere, and there was fog in the hallways from the temperature difference. That was pretty great for the creepy atmosphere. If it were just the building, I'd give this place 4 or 5 stars, but the tour guides we had for our overnight stay were lackluster. During the 7 hours we were there, at least 2 hours of that were smoke breaks. For our first trip there, we were given very little direction on what we could do or where we could go. They did some cool demonstrations in some "hot spots", but after the first one they started using an app on their phone that was supposed to "pick up voices", but it really ruined the whole thing. The app made random syllabic sounds on repeat. It was very obviously just random sounds with basically no discernible words. A second tour guide also tried to use the app but their settings were different and it started saying the random syllables extremely quickly. Their excuse was that it wasn't "calibrated correctly". Overall, it was a fun trip for the first 3 or 4 hours that slowly got overplayed by the tour guides. Still, worth a stop for at least the shorter tours.
I absolutely love this place. I want to go back so bad. I wish I lived closer so I could go everyday. I swear to you this place is so big you could spend forever wandering the halls of each of the buildings and never get bored. It was so beautiful and fascinating. I learned a lot on the tour and I had a great time! The criminally insane building was my favorite!