Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The State Hospital in BInghamton

In its newest incarnation, the castle will also include a museum in honor of its former patients. The first phase of the building's restoration will include $12.45 million in exterior work followed by an additional $22.85 million in interior renovation and $3.5 million to reconstruct the turrets.
Photo: Roger Luther/nysAsylum.com


When I was a kid and my brothers & sister & I were being particularly incorrigible my father would shout dramatically (as was his wont), "You kids are going to drive me to the State Hospital in Binghamton!" Or sometimes he called it the Psychiatric Hospital. Having grown up with a black & white TV and 40s movies in re-runs in the afternoons after school, I envisioned a creepy white-walled place of emptiness and despair.

Today I read in the NYTimes that such a place actually existed, and that (while beautiful) it was really quite creepy.

NYTimes: Binghamton Journal
Rescuing ‘the Castle’ From Some Dark Days, Architecturally and Medically

Built in 1858, the castle features hand-carved staircases, stained-glass windows and turrets. But its purpose was stark: to serve as a government-run treatment center for alcoholics and later “the chronic insane.”

The castle, known formally as the New York State Inebriate Asylum, was one of the early works of Isaac Perry, who would become a prominent architect in New York and design many buildings, including the State Capitol. From the castle grounds, there is a view of the city and the Susquehanna River below that is unmatched.

[]

As psychiatric practices evolved, the castle was renamed several times, finally becoming the Binghamton Psychiatric Center. The number of patients at the site began to decline in the 1960s, and by the 1990s many of the psychiatric patients there were deinstitutionalized, as were many other such patients around the country.



1 comment:

NYC complete renovation said...

The castle, known formally as the New York State Inebriate Asylum, was one of the early works of Isaac Perry, who would become a prominent architect in New York and design many buildings, including the State Capitol. From the castle grounds, there is a view of the city and the Susquehanna River below that is unmatched.