Western State Hospital, Virginia
The Western State Lunatic Asylum, renamed the Western State Hospital in 1894, began operation as the second mental health hospital in the Commonwealth or Virginia. The original buildings were designed by William Small, and later altered by Thomas Blackburn, a Thomas Jefferson protégé. The Administration Building was constructed in the colonial style in 1828 and boats a beautiful circular wooden staircase spanning from the second floor to the third floor cupola roof patio, added in 1840.
Dr. Francis T Stribling was the first director of the hospital in 1828 and only twenty-six years old at the time. While he was in charge, the hospital was considered a resort-style asylum, which gave its patients the ability to wander the beautiful gardens or go for roof walks. Unfortunately, in the early 1900's this model had morphed into a belief that ankle and wrist restraints were a necessary method for keeping patients contained.
Joseph DeJarnette was appointed medical director of the facility in 1905, but his theories didn't match Stribling's. The theories expressed by DeJarnette were anything but humane. He believed the "defective" would breed more "defectives," which led him to practice eugenics, causing hundreds of patients to be sterilized during DeJarnette's thirty-eight year term.
In the 1960's, the campus began a slow move to a new facility down the road a few miles. This took nearly ten years, but once the site was closed, the current buildings were repurposed as the Staunton Correctional Facility, a medium-security state prison, until 2002.
In 1969, five of the original campus buildings were placed on the National Register of Historic Places and are currently undergoing a transformation into new condominiums called The Village at Staunton.