Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

This weekend I took a trip to Weston, West Virginia to participate in a photo shoot of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. The asylum opened in the mid-1800's and remained in service until the early 1990s! 

The asylum is extremely large and is the most prominent feature in the small town of Weston. Normally they offer historic tours or ghost hunting tours, but this weekend they opened for an all day unlimited access photo shoot. I was able to explore areas of the hospital normally unseen by visitors, including the almost completely destroyed women's ward, the geriatrics unit, the medical center, forensics buildings, greenhouse, and the main building - the Kirkbride building. These areas are normally off limits for safety - we spent the day amongst hazardous materials like asbestos - all in the name of making a few photographs! We saw everything from body freezers to nice furniture, coffins to abandoned dolls, and a whole lot more!

Although I brought a few portrait lenses, I shot almost exclusively with my 14-24mm Nikon lens to really capture as much of this historic site as possible. This was a big break from my normal subject - mountains - but I came away with some photographs that I am very pleased with.

I am still going through the over 600+ images from the weekend, but have a few teasers prepared. Keep an eye on my album for more being added over the next few days.

Here are a few of the best:

A pair of women's shoes left behind. These were found in the Kirkbride building.

Patient bathroom in the Kirkbride building.

Chair

Another bathroom for the patients

While we were in West Virginia, I stopped to shoot a few quick landscape and nature photographs. I think I needed to see something cheery and green after spending the day in the asylum! Here are a few photos that are from the drive out to West Virginia:

For more information about visiting the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, visit their website here.

Kristen Meister