Photo: "K Building"


The Polk Building, or K Building, at the Western State Hospital in Tennessee, formerly known as the West Tennessee Hospital for the Insane, was constructed in 1932 as a psychopathic facility with 400 beds for patients.

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Photo: "Lost Stories Inspire Me"

Tonight, I was a guest on a Google+ 'Hangout On Air' where we talked about inspiration.  I shared this photograph and explained how finds like this are what drive me to continue photographing forgotten places. Not only do I enjoy the beautiful architecture, but I strive to document the stories that aren't being told; stories about patients, employees and visitors to all these empty spaces. 

The suitcases have been sitting in the attic of the West Tennessee Hospital for the Insane' for decades. When patients were admitted, they carried one suitcase of items to the hospital. Some contained curlers and hair brushes, others contained photographs and letters from loved ones, but all of the suitcases you see here were never returned to the patients and these stories remained lost inside this attic forever. 

Photo: "Autopsy Room"

(From the archives, 2010)

Laurelton State Village for the Feeble-Minded Women of a Child Bearing Age was constructed in 1914 and was the first facility of its' kind. It was designed to detain and provide mental health care for women between the ages of 16 and 45 and was a self-sufficient institution. 

In 1969, males were being admitted to the hospital which forced the hospital to take a new direction and it became the Laurelton State School and Hospital. 

The site closed in 1998 and relocated the 193 patients. 

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Photo: Babcock Corridor

In 1828, the South Carolina Lunatic Asylum admitted its first patient, but the Babcock Building (shown here) wasn't constructed until almost thirty years later. It was built in the Italian Renaissance Revival style and completed in 1885. At the time, it was only the third asylum constructed in the United States, but it was not the first evidence of treatment for the mentally ill in the state.  

In the late 1600's, the Lord Proprietors of the Carolinas agreed that the mentally ill should be cared for by the local government. At that time, many had been jailed, abused, or chained down. Seventy years later, an asylum was established in Charleston by the Fellowship, but it took another fifty years for the state government to fund the construction of the asylum.  

Photo: "White Rabbit"

A hospital room, across from the Psychiatric Ward, at Alcatraz.

During the early 1900's, inmate labor fueled the construction of a new cellhouse, designed by Major Reuben Turner. The cell house contained 600 cells, a hospital, mess hall and other prison buildings. The complex was completed in 1912 and was the world's largest reinforced concrete building at the time.

Photo: "Emotional Flood"

This is a teaser image from my next historical blog post...

Flooded triple patient room inside the Mont Alto Sanatorium.

The Mont Alto Sanatorium opened in 1940 in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. This building began as a Children's Preventatorium and remained as such for 16 years. The building then became a home for mentally retarded women until 1965 when it housed geriatric patients until closing in 1985.