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easttnfed
08-24-2007, 12:12 PM
Has anyone heard about this yet?

http://www.vawatchdog.org/07/nf07/nfAUG07/nf081207-5.htm


Civil War-Era Mental Asylum for Sale

By VICKI SMITH
Associated Press Writer



WESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The massive Gothic Revival building once christened The Lunatic Asylum West of the Alleghenies has stood largely silent since 1994 - more than 242,000 square feet of space now inhabited by rodents and a security guard.

The imposing Weston State Hospital is a national historic landmark - construction started before the Civil War - and one of the world's largest hand-cut sandstone structures, sitting on nearly 307 acres surrounded by wooded hills.

But the state of West Virginia has been unable to find a suitable, sustainable use, or a simple way to unload the complex, so it's scheduled an Aug. 29 auction on the steps of the Lewis County Courthouse.

Joy Gilchrist-Stalnaker, a genealogist and hospital historian, has worked for eight years to revive the place where three of her ancestors died and feels ``a little sad'' about its sale.

``It's time something happens,'' she said. ``Weston continues to die with no activity. This hospital - these grounds - are part of making something happen. ... I just hope we can save the building.''

There is no minimum bid, but the state retains mineral rights and the right to reject any offer.

Virginia lawmakers created the hospital in 1858. Construction stopped when Virginia seceded from the union in 1861 and resumed in 1863 after West Virginia became a separate state. Union and Confederate troops both occupied the grounds as Weston repeatedly changed hands during the war.

The first patients were admitted in October 1864. It was originally intended for 250 patients but housed nearly 10 times that many during the 1950s.

The buildings are uniformly decrepit, with peeling paint, collapsing ceilings, broken windows and damp wood. Some would have to be demolished.

But the main building, its thick stone walls topped by a white clock tower, has potential.

``This was built 150 years ago, and someone knew what they were doing,'' Dave Hildreth, director of the assets division of the Department of Health and Human Resources, said during a recent tour.

Apartments that once housed the staff have built-in bookcases and fireplaces. The building features skylights, solid oak doors and floors.

For a few years after the patients moved to a new hospital, the state kept the heat on. But with 15 miles of pipe and 921 windows, that cost $300,000 a year. Eventually, the state cut back to groundskeeping and security, for a continuing annual cost of about $100,000.

``The biggest thing for me is that the property is not living up to its highest, best use,'' Hildreth said. ``If we could open the doors and put it in the private sector, it could be something.''

There have been attempts.

Local residents offered tours and made a little headway, fixing the clock tower, rebuilding the fountain in front of the main entry and cleaning up the mess from someone's paintball battle. But their pockets weren't deep enough, and the tours were halted in 2004 for safety reasons.

Two Tennessee developers hoped to create a hotel and convention center, but they couldn't raise $88 million for renovations.

Weston native Lowell Davis proposed a $300 million hotel and casino and persuaded Lewis County voters to pass a symbolic referendum allowing the casino, but the state rejected his plan.

If location counts, the hospital has appeal: It's two hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Baltimore.

But some potential problems - including piles of cancer-causing asbestos and other possible environmental hazards - worry prospective bidders more than the ghosts that reportedly inhabit the dark and dusty hallways.

The buyer will bear those burdens with no financial help from the state. The state says it's not required to disclose the extent of possible contamination, other than to acknowledge hazardous materials ``may exist in or on the property.''

One developer, David Wamsley of Williamstown, toured the hospital with plans to raise $20 million for a project with commercial and residential elements. Three hours later, he figured he'd need 10 times that amount - and 10 to 15 years to turn a profit.

Hildreth doubts environmental concerns will deter serious bidders.

What could be a problem is opposition by people like former mayor Jon Tucci, who argues that city officials should have a say on the future of a facility that once generated $90,000 a year in tax revenue.

``There has to be some kind of an anchor, an economic base to replace what this was,'' Tucci said. ``This was the fulcrum of our community for 150 years.''

Morgantown contractor Joe Jordan argues that such decisions should be left to the developer.

``If the city of Weston is going to legislate what you're gonna do with it, well ****, they may as well just buy it,'' he said.

RotatingTurret
08-24-2007, 12:50 PM
I grew up in that part of WV. We kids would sometimes taunt one-another by saying, "You'd better straighten out or they'll send you to the luney bin in Weston!" :lol:

Spare_Man
08-24-2007, 12:56 PM
Maybe they should try to revive artist Gary Casteel's late, unlamented "National Civil War Memorial" concept that had been slated for Wheeling, WV and move it to the Weston hospital grounds. Where else better to memorialize four years of national insanity than at a lunatic asylum?

reb4lee
08-24-2007, 01:00 PM
I say we all chip in and buy it.;)

bob 125th nysvi
08-24-2007, 07:58 PM
What could be a problem is opposition by people like former mayor Jon Tucci, who argues that city officials should have a say on the future of a facility that once generated $90,000 a year in tax revenue.

``There has to be some kind of an anchor, an economic base to replace what this was,'' Tucci said. ``This was the fulcrum of our community for 150 years.''

Morgantown contractor Joe Jordan argues that such decisions should be left to the developer.

``If the city of Weston is going to legislate what you're gonna do with it, well ****, they may as well just buy it,'' he said.

politician.

Let some else who actually PRODUCES something for a living foot the bill but let me make the decisions.

If the pols want a say let them put up the capital to buy and ressurect the property.

Otherwise the best thing that could happen in ex-Mayor Tucci being drop kicked into the nearest deep water with a 100 pound shell tied around his ankles.

chatrbug
08-25-2007, 06:31 AM
oh the potential! im in love! anyone had about 50 million dollars? that would be just to remodel the place! just to keep the place heated is $300,000... yikes.

tompritchett
08-25-2007, 07:21 AM
oh the potential!

for reenactors. :D After all, most of the rest of the world thinks that we are half crazy anyway.

uozumi
08-25-2007, 10:23 PM
Those buildings are incredibly neat. I'd love to take a tour. I know none of you are gambling men ;) but someone here needs to win the powerball...you could buy it and have some change to spare. (Up to $300 Million, I think.)

Rob Weaver
08-27-2007, 06:05 AM
We could all chip in and buy it - get ourselves committed and turn it into a reenactors asylum. Then all we'd need to get are a few schoolbuses and entire units could bus to events. If we can get our passion declared a disability, there's probably Federal money available to take care of us poor pitiful afflicted victims...

easttnfed
08-27-2007, 09:13 AM
Rob,

I can't agree with you more. I'm in! Which room can I have?

Parault
08-27-2007, 09:23 AM
We could all chip in and buy it - get ourselves committed and turn it into a reenactors asylum. Then all we'd need to get are a few schoolbuses and entire units could bus to events. If we can get our passion declared a disability, there's probably Federal money available to take care of us poor pitiful afflicted victims...

Yeah..... Then when we get older and not able to make it to reenactments we could sit around and talk about the time we defended the merry-go-round for the thirty minute battle.

reb4lee
08-27-2007, 09:35 AM
Rob,

I can't agree with you more. I'm in! Which room can I have?

I belive there is an empty one with soft chushy white walls lol

Rob Weaver
08-27-2007, 02:21 PM
Yeah..... Then when we get older and not able to make it to reenactments we could sit around and talk about the time we defended the merry-go-round for the thirty minute battle.
By the time we get that old they can just bus us around to the artillery positions. :lol: (No offense intended toward the noble brotherhood of St. Catherine.)

tompritchett
08-27-2007, 09:11 PM
By the time we get that old they can just bus us around to the artillery positions.

By that time they will have to bus us out from camp to the actual battlesite - that is those of us who will still have the strength to hold a musket up long enough to fire it. And the cavalry reenactors - they will have to use mounting stairs for them to mount their horses. :D

Rob Weaver
08-28-2007, 05:59 AM
You could rest a musket on your walker. Everyone will be fighting to get in the front rank. (Of course there may be only one rank given the safety concern that walkers in the rear rank might pose. Do you try to get the wheels over to the right, or do you just stand back farther and use a longer musket. Heck, we'll all be deaf by then, so hearing protection won't be a problem. :D

easttnfed
08-28-2007, 08:04 AM
By the time we get that old they can just bus us around to the artillery positions. :lol: (No offense intended toward the noble brotherhood of St. Catherine.)

Rob,

None taken. I just want to know if the cavalry guys will trade their mounts in for Huvarounds by then. If so, what are we artillery boys going to do as far as being able to place the guns? Of course, we all could do what I've seen done too many times and get us a 4-wheeler or a Ranger and pull the guns on the field that way. Also, we wouldn't be able to hear the gun go off or see it go off since period spectacles aren't allowed on the field (and all we all wore were those thick coke bottle glasses), so what about the safety concern there if there happened to be a misfire on our gun but we felt the vibrations coming from the one next to us.? I would hate to be the #1 & #2 man in that situation.

tompritchett
08-28-2007, 10:38 AM
Heck, we'll all be deaf by then, so hearing protection won't be a problem.

However I pity the person that forgets to turn off his hearing aid before the first and last volley :D (you young whipper-snappers, think about why it would be the only volley).

reb4lee
08-29-2007, 08:06 PM
I think the only thing left now is an island where there is plenty of ammuntion and the hardtack keeps on comeing.:D ;)

chatrbug
08-29-2007, 08:48 PM
baking hardtack isnt all that hard.

the ammunition would be a different story.

tompritchett
08-29-2007, 09:10 PM
the ammunition would be a different story.

Getting the nitrate would not be that much of a problem, especially if someone is willing to wring out our diapers, or whatever they call those things that many of us will ultimately have to wear. It is finding the sulfur that would make things difficult.

Rob Weaver
08-30-2007, 06:45 AM
Hundreds of old reenactors on a bean diet. No, come to think of it, sulfer should be quite plentiful.;)

tompritchett
08-30-2007, 07:25 AM
Hundreds of old reenactors on a bean diet. No, come to think of it, sulfer should be quite plentiful.

I would pity the folks that would be tasked with collecting all that sulfur (not that wringing out diapers would be much better).

Dignann
08-31-2007, 05:09 AM
Morgantown contractor buys old Weston State Hospital

by The Associated Press

Charleston Daily Mail [Charleston, W.Va.]
August 29, 2007

WESTON -- Weston State Hospital, one of the world's largest hand-cut sandstone structures and a national historic landmark, was auctioned off for $1.5 million Wednesday.

Joe Jordan, a Morgantown asbestos demolition contractor, bought the massive former mental institution once known as The Lunatic Asylum West of the Alleghenies. The 242,000-square-foot building and its grounds have been largely uninhabited -- save for security guards and rats -- since 1994.

When asked why he bought it, Jordan laughed, "Stupidity probably had a lot to do with it.''

More than a hundred people gathered to witness the auction on the steps of the Lewis County Courthouse.

During the auction Jordan stood about 10 feet behind the gaggle of bidders, raising a single finger or nodding until he was named the winning bidder. Bidding started at $500,000.

"I love custom stone buildings. I'm a cut-stone collector and I wanted to build a custom stone house, but never did,'' Jordan said. He doesn't know if he'll live in the building.

Jordan toured the building during an asbestos inspection, and believes it can be renovated, though "renovation will be a little more than it cost to buy.''

For years, the state has been unable to find a suitable, sustainable use for the buildings, which are uniformly decrepit, with peeling paint, collapsing ceilings, broken windows and damp wood. But the main building, its thick stone walls topped by a white clock tower, has potential.

Virginia lawmakers created the hospital in 1858, but it wasn't until October 1864 that the first patients were admitted. The building repeatedly changed hands during the Civil War, and ended up in the hands of West Virginians after it became a separate state. Originally intended for 250 patients, the structure housed nearly 10 times that many during the 1950s.

Jordan vows not to tear down the main building, adding that he intends to make money off of the venture, but he doesn't know how just yet.

"I don't know. I thought I might meet with the city council and the county commission to hear their ideas,'' Jordan said.

Dave Hildreth, director of the assets division of the Department of Health and Human Resources, which administered the auction, said it went off without a hitch.

Sometimes auctions can result in bad blood and frustration, but "I think if someone had a broken heart here today, it's because they didn't place a bid,'' Hildreth said.

Pittsburgh psychologist Dr. Karla C.D. McNamara was the second-highest bidder, topping out at $1.4 million. She envisioned Weston State Hospital reopening "as our own sort of Mayo Clinic.''

McNamara said the diagnostic hospital, health and rehabilitation center she envisioned would have been renovated to install pools for occupational therapy and landscaping to provide a place for patients to take peaceful walks.

"I'm a great believer that life begins at 60, and West Virginians have an aging population. I just thought this community would like to have that, and people here would like to come and work there.''

McNamara said she's hopeful that Jordan will be open to ideas.

The state retains mineral rights to the land and has the right to reject any offer. Gov. Joe Manchin must sign the deed, authorizing the sale. A deposit of $10,000 is due upon delivery of the deed to Jordan, with the rest of the cost due within two days.

http://www.dailymail.com/story/News/2007082978/Morgantown-contractor-buys-old-Weston-State-Hospital/


Eric

lady reb
08-31-2007, 11:31 AM
I like the idea of our passion being deemed a disability. Then we can all get FMLA at work and time off to go to events!

cookiemom
03-21-2008, 05:21 AM
Morgantown contractor buys old Weston State Hospital

by The Associated Press

Charleston Daily Mail [Charleston, W.Va.]
August 29, 2007

WESTON -- Weston State Hospital, one of the world's largest hand-cut sandstone structures and a national historic landmark, was auctioned off for $1.5 million Wednesday.

Joe Jordan, a Morgantown asbestos demolition contractor, bought the massive former mental institution once known as The Lunatic Asylum West of the Alleghenies. The 242,000-square-foot building and its grounds have been largely uninhabited -- save for security guards and rats -- since 1994.

When asked why he bought it, Jordan laughed, "Stupidity probably had a lot to do with it.''

Eric

Oh, my!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080321/ap_on_re_us/lunatic_asylum

ElijahsGrtGranddaughter
03-24-2008, 01:05 AM
I think I'm in LOVE. :) Sure wish I'd hit the lottery soon!

~Kerri

M.Metz
03-24-2008, 11:18 AM
Well it seems that the legendary Ghost Hunters are filming in this hospital.

http://www.wboy.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=36399

chatrbug
04-30-2008, 08:09 PM
This will be on Ghost Hunters tonight at 9... in an hr! I had to find out if it was this asylum or not... but looks like it is!!

reb4lee
04-30-2008, 08:25 PM
This is off topic but the Taps team (Ghost Hunters) moved across the street from my high school a few weeks ago. Everyone couldn't stop saying how Taps was across the street.

chatrbug
04-30-2008, 10:22 PM
I'm a huge TAPS fan.

They determined the asylum is haunted. Showed mainly the Civil War era part. Pretty cool too!