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Abandoned Sanatoriums and Asylums

Updated on July 11, 2014

Have you ever wanted to see something different, something not usually seen on the average vacation? Then taking tours of abandoned sanatoriums and asylums may be something you are interested in. Do not however trespass, many of theses building are condemned and very dangerous. Speak with the proper people and organizations before exploring theses buildings.

I can only imagine what it must have felt to be admitted, to think you know what awaits you, only to find that you didn't know the half of it. The desperation, the hopelessness people must have experienced is mind-boggling. The air feels almost heavy with negative emotions, as if the walls remember and are trying to purge themselves. Because of this, many horror movies are based in these locations, it has become cliché. If all of that only served to peek your interest and you want to see these places there are a few choices, some even give guided tours.

Abandoned locations can be very unsettling, but when the abandoned place is a sanatorium or asylum, very quickly fear can set in. A few of these places have a benign history, many though, can not make this claim. Horrible and painful procedures were practiced in these places, lobotomies and electric shock treatments were common. Humans were often used as test subjects for new "treatments" that were little more torture. Some of theses places have histories that makes one wonder if those in charge were even human. Lives were destroyed, and many who entered those walls never made it out again.

Seaview Tuberculosis Sanatorium, Staten Island

The Richmond County Poor Farm was established in the 1830's after the city acquired the 91 acre Stephen Marine farm. Over the next few years a cholera hospital and mental institution were built along with housing for the poor. The residents worked the farm in exchange for room and board. In 1902 the name was changed to the New York City Farm Colony. Seaview Hospital was opened in November 1913 adjacent to this location. Seaview Hospital became the first tuberculosis hospital to have a maternity ward and led the country in treatment and care of tuberculosis patients. The Farm merged with Seaview Hospital in 1915. Today it is now a city-run nursing home called Sea View Farms. Many of the old abandoned buildings are still visible but are off limits.

DeJarnette Sanitarium

Built and opened in 1932, on the recommendation of Dr.Joseph DeJarnette for a semi-private sanitarium. By 1947 the sanitarium was no longer connected to the Western Lunatic Asylum, it became a privately owned institution. In 1975 the state of Virginia took control of the complex and converted into a center for treating children and adolescents with severe emotional disorders. It's new name was The DeJarnette Center for Human Development. By 1996 the buildings were considered outdated and the patients moved to a new building at Western State Hospital, the building was closed and abandoned. The new building did not carry Dr. DeJarnttes though, due to his being a proponent of eugenics.

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum Weston, West Virginia


The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was once known as the Weston State Hospital. It was originally built between 1858 and 1881 to house 250 people. It reached its peak in the 1950s with over 2,000 patients. Overcrowding, poor conditions and new medical techniques eventually led to the facility's closure. In the 80's there was talk of converting the hospital into a prison, but nothing ever came of it and the building was simply closed. Today heritage tours and ghost tours are offered to anyone who wishes to explore the building.

Pilgrim State Hospital

Opened in 1941 to help New York State deal with overcrowding in other mental facilities. Designed to house 12,500 patients it took 10 years to build. Still it wasn't enough, at one point over 16,000 were held within it's walls. The campus even provided housing for many of it's employees. Eventually, as the wide scale institutionalization was abandoned, the complex itself was too large to keep open. Over fifty buildings have been demolished on the property, but a handful still remain. It is unclear what will happen to the rest of the property.

Waverly Hills


Waverly Hills is one of the more well know sanatoriums, it was opened in 1910 for tuberculosis patients. Originally it was only supposed to house 40 to 50 people, but within a short amount of time it housed over 100. A bigger building was needed, tuberculosis was becoming a major problem, so every year new additions were added. 1924 saw the start of construction for a new, larger and more durable building which was completed in 1926. In 1943 a new antibiotic was introduced and the number of tuberculosis cases began to drop and in 1961 Waverly Hills was closed. The next year it was reopened as Woodhaven Geriatric Center and stayed open until 1982. After a few failed attempts by varies owners to convert the building the property was bought by the current owners who now host tours and are restoring the building.

Springfield State Hospital

Originally a private home, the state bought the property in 1894 and opened the complex to patients in 1896. Because of the patients good behavior while waiting for the new housing units to be constructed, an open door policy was enacted. This complex acted more like a small community for it's patients and after dealing with initial problems of overcrowding, and bad conditions because of it, the facility became a model for patient care for the nation.

Whether you want to see something different or want a Halloween trip to a place that will give you a real zing of fear, abandoned sanatoriums and asylums are a good choice. Either way, they offer a view into a history that is both horrifying and intriguing.

show route and directions
A markerTrans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum Weston, West Virginia -
Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, 71 Asylum Drive, Weston, WV 26452, USA
get directions

B markerDanvers State Hospital Salem, MA -
Salem, MA 01970, USA
get directions

C markerWaverly Hills Louisville, Kentucky -
Waverly Hills, Louisville, KY 40272, USA
get directions

D marker256 Carey Rd, Booneville, Arkansas, 72927 -
Carey Road, Booneville, AR 72927, USA
get directions

E marker6248 University Park Drive Radford, VA 24141 -
6248 University Park Drive, Radford, VA 24141, USA
get directions

F markerDeJarnette Sanitarium Staunton, VA -
Staunton, VA, USA
get directions

G markerPilgrim State Hospital Brentwood, NY -
Brentwood, NY, USA
get directions

H markerSpringfield State Hospital Sykesville, MD -
Sykesville, MD 21784, USA
get directions

© 2014 Katrina


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    • Katrina Speights profile image

      Katrina 3 years ago from Texas

      Glad you liked it! Hope you have a lot of fun visiting Waverly Hills.

    • bwhite062007 profile image

      Brianna W 3 years ago from East Coast

      Awesome hub! Abandoned places have always piqued my interest. Also, traveling and touring Waverly Hills has always been on my bucket list!

    • Katrina Speights profile image

      Katrina 3 years ago from Texas

      Yes, but those tunnels were used for more than just that sole purpose. Some of these facilities had entire networks of underground passages.

    • Katrina Speights profile image

      Katrina 3 years ago from Texas

      Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it. However there are still places like this. The conditions have improved, it's true, but there are still horror stories that come out of places like this.

    • Katrina Speights profile image

      Katrina 3 years ago from Texas

      Wow, if you ever decide to do something like that again I would recommend bringing a bit more supplies.

    • Katrina Speights profile image

      Katrina 3 years ago from Texas

      I always thought the designs were done that way on purpose. To give people a feeling of security, just insult injury if you ask me.

    • angryelf profile image

      angryelf 3 years ago from Tennessee

      Nice hub! I'm a big geek for things like this. I've always wanted to tour one of these places; and the one in Kentucky is the one I've wanted to see the most. Another thing about these places is most of the TB hospitals had "chutes", just big tunnels, and they would take the bodies into there to move them to the morgue so that the patients wouldn't see how high the death rate was in order to increase morale among the patients.

    • erorantes profile image

      Ana Maria Orantes 3 years ago from Miami Florida

      Thank you for the information on this empty buildings. It is sad. How they are no longer in use, and it is a great news that are no longer in service. Thanks God we move forward for the best. There is cure for Tuberculosis. And there is no more insane people inside the facilities. That mean, they all have medicine, and they all are out having fun. Congratulations for your nomination. You did a fantastic job on your hub.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Nearly froze to death in an old TB hospital. The police and fire department needed actors to be victims for a county wide emergency drill. It was December and it took them longer to find us than was expected. I only had a little flashlight and my pump to squirt fake blood.

      Talk about creepy. Nice hub.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 3 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Considering these places were the "last stop" for the inmates, of course they're filled with negative energy and emotions. Buildings can and do soak up and store such energy "forever". Not deriving any joy from the macabre, however, I'd never want to visit any of them, but I do find the architecture of some quite interesting. The inside of Seaview, for instance, looks very much like a cathedral in Europe, which I find quite odd considering how it was used.

    • Katrina Speights profile image

      Katrina 3 years ago from Texas

      I find them a bit unsettling as well, but they can be interresting.

    • velzipmur profile image

      Shelly Wyatt 3 years ago from Maryland

      I find these types of places interesting, unsettling and a bit eerie, but I would love to visit any or all of them.

    • Katrina Speights profile image

      Katrina 3 years ago from Texas

      I find the topic intriguing as well. I wanted to write a hub on how all this started but it can be difficult to write an accurate account for this site. I try to keep everything PG, and this goes well beyond that.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Very interesting. I have followed some of the foundational social implications centered around asylums but to see where they are now is truly interesting. Thank you for that exposure.

    • Katrina Speights profile image

      Katrina 3 years ago from Texas

      Thank you for the welcome and I'm glad you liked this. I agree, there is something that tugs at you when you see places like these. I did think of covering Detroit, but there is already so much out there that I didn't think I could add anything new.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 3 years ago from Midwest

      These locations are so interesting. I've watched a few documentaries on them - one was actually just a documentary about abandoned places in general and it was eerie and haunting just to know that in a heartbeat lives change and what was someones whole life is left to crumble into dust. Whether it's whole cities like Detroit, or sad, relics of the past like these. Very interesting and well-written hub. Welcome to HP :)

    • Katrina Speights profile image

      Katrina 3 years ago from Texas

      Yes, I've seen a lot of movies/ghost hunter shows filmed in these locations.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      These places look pretty creepy to me. Good locations to film horror movies or an episode of Paranormal Experiences.

    • Katrina Speights profile image

      Katrina 4 years ago from Texas

      I'm glad you liked it, I've always found these very interesting as well. The problem is a lot of the ones you find online have their locations changed or hidden to help prevent people from trespassing.

    • Magen Morris profile image

      Magen Morris 4 years ago from Chicago

      I found this super interesting. I always love seeing photos of abandoned places, it's so haunting and intriguing to me. This is a good list of places to visit if I'm ever road tripping through these areas, which I hope to be. Thanks for this!

    • Katrina Speights profile image

      Katrina 4 years ago from Texas

      Think you for the input. I wasn't sure which way to go with it. I can see you point though, and I'll be sure to add more personal perspective in the future.

    • bearnmom profile image

      Laura L Scotty 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

      Your subject has interest for me but I find no first hand substance. It appears to be written in a historical perspective which can be found in books or online. It would have been more interesting to hear of your impressions during a tour.


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