20 November 2009

Nice place to visit (but you wouldn't want to live here...)

"...asylums started out as philanthopic dreams, rather than psychiatric nightmares. The concept was born in the mid-1800s, when socially minded citizens, dismayed by the often dismal lot of the mentally unstable, paid for dozens of institutions to be constructed for their care. By 1880, 139 had been built in the US.

These were often palatial buildings, designed by prestigious architects, with vast landscaped grounds and impressive vistas. They were symbols of civic pride, just as museums and universities are today, and some became fixtures on the tourist trail. This vintage postcard shows part of the extensive gardens of Danvers State Hospital in Massachusetts.
From a photoessay on mental institutions at New Scientist.

Via Atlas Obscura. Image: Christopher Payne.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I've been there! This security guard in ancient clothes came up to us and said we had to leave and we weren't allowed to take pictures. My sister was crafty and got a few taken while my mom was talking to the guard. When we looked at the pictures, there were orbs, AND the one picture she took of the guard didn't show up!

    I know, I know... you hear these stories all the time. But I swear!


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