Photo Essay

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

I recently traveled to Weston, West Virginia to tour the abandoned West Virginia Lunatic Asylum, now known as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (TALA). Built between 1858 and 1864, it was a part of the Kirkbride Plan that was to bring a better quality of life to the many mentally deficient and disabled individuals that up to this point were left to abuse and death.

Of course, as we know, many of these asylums, although clean and warm, still led to abuse and experimentation on the mentally ill. And this asylum has had its share of horrible stories and sad endings.

TALA is actually in much better shape than some of the other Kirkbride asylums I've visited in the past. The main Kirkbride Building is in great shape, the architecture is stunning and according the televisions' Ghost Hunters show... also comes complete with a number of named ghosts. Unlike Greystone (the NJ State Lunatic Asylum), I didn't have any ghostly experiences while I went from floor to floor with my camera.

I have a love for abandoned buildings. It's just sad to see such lovely historical buildings collapsing and being demolished. Especially the Kirkbride buildings which were all beautiful in their architectural design.

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7 responses

  • Fred Moskey

    Fred Moskey said (7 Jan 2015):

    Great photo essay of the old asylum. During my working years I had to transport prisoners to and from there. We called it Weston State Hospital, I don't know if that was the formal name back then or not. From my observations it was a horrible place. The forensic unit was the worst. I spent as short a time there as possible.

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (8 Jan 2015):


  • Linda Heath

    Linda Heath said (8 Jan 2015):

    Thanks Fred.. and Saroj! I understand most of these asylums have some horrible stories to tell, but they were so much a part of history, I hate to see them demolished. I'm glad at least a few are being saved.

  • Katherine Nak

    Katherine Nak   said (29 Jan 2015):

    Thanks for sharing your fab photo's, and information about this old hospital.

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (1 Feb 2015):

    Very well documented...You have my vote!!!

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (18 Apr 2017):

    Congratulations for story of the week! Well deserved!

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