Thursday, December 22, 2011

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum



Check out this cool story. I'd like to tour the joint. Thanks to my wife for the link!

The main Gothic Revival building is one of the world's largest hand-cut sandstone structures and a National Historic Landmark. Virginia legislators authorized its construction in 1858, but it wasn't until 1864 that the first patients were admitted.

The hospital repeatedly changed hands during the Civil War, ending up with West Virginia when it became a separate state. Originally intended for 250 patients, it housed nearly 10 times that many during the 1950s.

Known in later years as Weston Hospital, it eventually closed in 1994, when the state moved patients to a more modern facility. Then it stood empty for nearly 15 years, inhabited only by rats, security guards and the occasional paintball-playing trespasser.

In 2008, Jordan's father Joe, a Morgantown asbestos abatement and demolition contractor, bought it at auction for $1.5 million. He's since sunk at least another $1 million into the place, hiring crew after crew to repair the showpiece clock tower, the disintegrating floors and the forever-leaking roofs.

Running the asylum is a family affair.

Rebecca handles marketing and sales. Her historian husband applies for grants. Her brother handles advertising and maintains the website. Her 13-year-old daughter, Breonna Childress, is a full-time volunteer who hosts overnight birthday-party ghost hunts with her friends and talks about the day she'll inherit the business.

Mainly by capitalizing on public interest in the paranormal, the Jordans have lured more than 115,000 visitors to the property since they bought it.

Chris Richards, director of the Lewis County Convention and Visitors Bureau, calls the following "phenomenal," noting that people are traveling from all over the world to visit Weston.

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