I figured you might be interested in the research trip I took to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (TALA) in Weston, WV. First, a few facts. TALA was built in 1864 and used continuously until 1994, which is a damn long time for a building here in the US (I know my European friends are rolling their eyes at this point). It was built on the Kirkbride plan, which is responsible for the classic look of many Victorian insane asylums. According to our tour guide, Sarah, almost 300 Kirkbride-style buildings were constructed; of these, less than 10 remain, and TALA is the only one you can legally visit.
Coming into Weston, I missed a turn somewhere, but that didn’t matter because the sheer size of the building means it’s pretty freaking hard to miss. Seriously, it is massive. The length of the building from one end to the other is 1,295 feet – nearly a quarter mile long! There was no way I could get a picture of more than a relatively small section at a time.
TALA offers heritage tours and ghost tours. I chose the 4-floor heritage tour, because I was there to get a sense of the building and the realities of day-to-day life inside.
6 responses to “Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (Part 1)”
Wow! Great photos, very atmospheric. The next Whyborne & Griffin should be awesome! What great research. There is also a book on kindle about Broadmore the Modern Victorian Asylum which could be interesting to you. I will find the author and exact title for you if you are interested?
Very interested, thank you! 🙂
The book is: Broadmoor Revealed- Victorian Crime & the Lunatic Asylum by Mark Stevens $7.59 at Amazon kindle. Was interesting, this was meant to be enlightened and modern, also very descriptive concerning some of the actual inmates. Hope it gives you further insights. Me, I am thinking of throwing my heroine into an asylum. Tough on her.
Thanks so much! 😀
Throw your heroine in. Suffering builds character, right? 😉
What an awesome (and I mean that in all senses of the word) building! Thanks for posting about it. Friends of mine are taking one of the ghost tours this weekend.
You’re welcome. Your friends are going to have a blast. 🙂