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Old 01-25-2009, 02:20 PM   #142
pnoman OP
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Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Morgantown, WVa
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Weston State Hospital - Lewis Co.

The Weston State Hospital was a psychiatric hospital operated by the state of West Virginia from 1864-1994. The hospital was authorized by the Virginia General Assembly in the early 1850s as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Construction began in late 1858, using prison labor. A local newpaper reported "seven convict negroes" as the first labor force to arrive at the site. Skilled stonemasons were brought in from Germany and Ireland. Work was interrupted by the Civil War. After the war, the state of Virginia demanded the unused construction funds be returned. The 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry seized the money from a local bank and delivered it to a bank north in Wheeling, where it was safe from Virginia's efforts to reclaim it. Now named the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane, the first patients were admitted in October 1864, although construction continued until 1881. The main building is one of the largest hand-cut stone buildings in the United States. The hospital was intended to be self-sufficient, with a farm, dairy, waterworks, and cemetery located near the facility. The name was changed again to the Weston State Hospital in 1913.

Originally designed to house 250 patients, there were as many as 2,400 patients in the 1950s. Included in the population were "epileptics, alcoholics, drug addicts, and non-educable mental defectives". (I guess the concept of 'Politically Correct' verbage had not been introduced yet) Overcrowding and sanitation problems forced changes to be made. In 1986, Governor Arch Moore authorized the building of a new facility, the William R. Sharp Jr. Hospital, also built in Weston.

Closed in 1994, the buildings sat empty for several years. It was heavily vandalized in 1999 by a large group of paint-ball "warriors", which turned out to include over 20 local law-enforcement officers.

Purchased in 2007 by Joe Jordan, a Morgantown contractor, the hospital is now partially re-opened for tours as restoration work continues. Renamed Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. (Notes from Wikipedia)

Historical Marker #1, located on Rt 119 on the north-west corner of the main building.

View of Marker #1 with the north end of the complex visible in the background.

Historical Marker #2 located at the corner of Rt 119 and the street that runs in front of the main complex (sorry, I forgot to write down the street name).

View of Marker #2 and the north-east end of the building complex.

View of the main entrance.
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