“Asylum” – Other Buildings
My “Asylum” exhibit and book project has concentrated primarily on the main building in the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum complex. I wanted to explore the the “Kirkbride” building in as much depth as possible, so I did not spend much time on any of the other buildings. Hopefully they will continue to be there and available for future study.
I did visit a couple of them and one of the more significant was what is called the “Forensics Building.” This was a higher security facility for housing mentally ill criminals who were kept there while they were being evaluated, usually on orders from a court, to determine their competence to stand trial.
Another building that was open during one of my visits was the “Women’s Auxiliary” building. The people I asked about it were not sure why it was called that. One thought it was because it housed only women. Another said that it was just for the general patient population, possibly during the time when the main building was so overcrowded. It was closed more than 20 years before the main building was closed and is in very rough condition. There has been no attempt at cleanup or restoration.