Updated January 2022
My Voluntary Tour of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
While travel planning using the Roadtrippers app I noticed an attraction called The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. This really piqued my interest so I went to their website and read about the asylum and what they offered in terms of tours. Of course, photographing the asylum was my goal.
The asylum was way outside my route but I really wanted to go there so I changed my plans and itinerary to make it happen.
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is located in Weston, West Virginia. Construction began in 1858. The original design was to accommodate 250 patients but in the 1950s it housed over 2,400 patients. Prior to the development of insane asylums, the insane were often kept in jails and many were treated badly.
During the early stages of construction in 1861 the Civil War broke out and the asylum was referred to as “Camp Tyler” and housed soldiers as well as patients.
After the asylum closed in 1994 it sat deteriorating for years. Then in 2007 it was purchased by a private party and is being restored. The proceeds from the many tours they offer are being used for the restoration.
The place is said to be haunted and they do offer Ghost Tours which take place after dark. If I had been traveling with someone, I would have chosen the ghost tour but I settled for the first-floor history tour instead.
One of the first floor wings has been restored. The owners are trying to keep the building true to the way it was when it was in use. It’s bright, sunny, and feels more like an old hotel in this area. Our guide told us the better-behaved patients were housed here.
Some of the restored areas are set up as exhibits. The one below is the lobotomy room.
We were also able to tour areas of the asylum that have not been restored. The unrenovated patient rooms were painted in various colors.
This fire door is held open with a rope. When the rope catches fire the angle of the track allows for the door to slide shut closing off the other area to fire.
This area was built after the Civil War to house additional returning soldiers.
There are bars on many of the windows. This window overlooks the courtyard behind the building.
Despite the horrors that occurred here, these buildings are beautiful.
The medical center building is located behind the main structure of the asylum. It remains unrenovated. These photos are from the medical center.
If you’re ever in West Virginia and have time to visit the asylum, you won’t regret it.
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