Links to Abandoned Buildings
Copyright 2007-2008 by Ronald B. Standler
This webpage lists links to websites about abandoned buildings in the USA.
In looking at websites about abandoned buildings, many websites have pages of photographs about
- old hospitals, such tuberculosis sanitariums
(alternatively spelled "sanatoriums") used during the years 1910-1955.
- insane asylums
(euphemistically also called "sanitariums" or "state hospitals")
that were used from the late 1800s until courts ordered many of them shut down in the 1970s to 1990s,
often because of abuse of patients in those asylums.
I say "euphemistically", because the real purpose of insane asylums was to remove unwanted,
and sometimes dangerous, people from civilized society. By "unwanted",
I mean physically disabled, rebellious, sexually promiscuous,
or even elderly, in addition to those who were chronically mentally ill.
Some commentators criticize insane asylums for also incarcerating paupers or homeless people, but
the fundamental cause of their poverty may have been a severe mental illness, such as
Sometimes insane asylums were quickly shut down,
leaving behind boxes of confidential patient records.
- Other popular abandoned buildings include hotels, houses, manufacturing plants, and churches.
Visiting these old buildings is generally illegal, because of laws prohibiting trespassing on private
property or restrictions on entering government property.
Even if it is legal to visit these old buildings,
one needs to be careful, because of rotting wood floors, broken glass;
asbestos, mold, and other toxic materials;
rats, bats, vagrants who may live there; and other hazards.
Furthermore, many of these old buildings have been demolished,
so looking at photographs in books and at websites is now the only way to "visit" the buildings.
Many of the websites listed below simply post photographs with no commentary and no information.
Some of the websites have a policy of not giving directions to the site of the abandoned building,
perhaps to avoid aiding trespassers and/or vandals.
Listed in alphabetical order of the URL.
- Abandoned But Not Forgotten, buildings in many states in the USA
- Abandoned Online
- DijitalPhotography, collection of photos of insane asylums and various
other abandoned buildings or ruins, mostly in Massachusetts and New York state.
photos of insane asylums by David & Karie Esmann.
- HudsonValleyRuins, website by Rob Yasinsac, mostly buildings in New York state's Hudson Valley
- Kirkbride Buildings, list of historic insane asylums in the USA
(mostly in Massachusetts, New York, and other northeastern states)
that have architecture patterned after Dr. Kirkbride book, On the Construction, Organization and General Arrangements of Hospitals for the Insane,
second edition published in 1880.
- Opacity, anonymous website, mostly buildings in New York state and Massachusetts
Abandoned Asylum, website by Robert W Foster,
list of hospitals
Dark Passage, and their
HistoricAsylums at RootsWeb
Lost America, website by Troy Paiva
Waverly Hills, Kentucky (TB sanitarium)
To treat an epidemic of tuberculosis in the 1920s in Louisville, Kentucky,
an impressively large (435 bed) tuberculosis sanitarium was opened in 1926 at Waverly Hills,
outside of Louisville. The hospital closed in 1961.
In 1962, the Woodhaven Geriatrics Sanitarium opened at the same site, but was closed sometime in 1980-1981.
The site was thereafter owned by private individuals. Robert Alberhasky, bought the property in 1996.
After he canceled his development plans in 1997, he let vandals deface
the interior of the buildings, and he dug around the building foundations to attempt to undermine the
buildings, in an attempt to have these buildings, which were on the National Historic Register, condemned,
so he could use the land for other purposes.
The Mattingly family purchased the property in 2001 and began holding ghost tours there, as
well as attempting to preserve the old buildings.
- "Official" Waverly Hills Sanatorium memorial website
- Waverly Hills Sanatorium website of
Waverly Hills Historical Society, Inc. Developed by Ron Parkhurst.
- webpage by Sherman Cahal
- Using a search engine for the query ""Waverly Hills Sanatorium" will return dozens of webpages,
mostly by ghosthunters. Some of these webpages have many photographs. For example:
Essex Mountain Sanatorium, New Jersey
A "school" for delinquent girls in Verona, NJ was constructed in 1902 and began serving as a
sanatorium for tuberculosis patients in 1907.
A larger sanatorium was constructed in 1922 at this site to serve Newark, New Jersey.
This sanatorium closed in 1977.
The sanatorium was demolished during 1993-2001.
Essex Mountain Sanatorium, history and extensive
collection of old photographs
a few more photos at Abandoned but not Forgotten
Dixmont State Hospital, Pennsylvania
An insane asylum constructed in 1859-1862 near Pittsburgh and named for the famous social activist, Dorothea Dix.
The main building had architecture of the Kirkbride plan. Dixmont closed in 1984.
The buildings were demolished in 2005, so a Wal-Mart store could be built on the former Dixmont site.
Brian Krummel 57 photos from May 2005
Northampton State Hospital (NSH), Massachusetts
An insane asylum, first constructed in 1856-58 in Northampton, Massachusetts.
The main building had architecture of the Kirkbride plan.
In the mid-1950s, there were approximately 2500 patients at NSH.
The last patients departed in August 1993.
The main building was demolished in 2006.
Website at Smith College. (NSH is located on the edge of the Smith College campus.)
map of 75 buildings on the NSH campus.
1856.org, website for a memorial in November 2000.
Opacity.com collection of photographs
recent map of NSH
Asaph Murfin's photographs, both interior and exterior
Burial Site Project (last updated in 1999)
Prior to the 1920s, patients who died at NSH and whose family did not claim their remains,
were buried in now unmarked graves at the NSH site.
As this website says: "... those patients who were already cast away from society have slipped even further from memory."
There seems to be little that we can do now, because the state government bureaucrats have lost
or destroyed the old records.
Another website claims
there are "594 confirmed burials", and possibly as many as 1200 people buried at NSH.
Danvers State Hospital (DSH), Massachusetts
An insane asylum, first constructed in 1874-1878 in Danvers, Massachusetts, about 18 miles north of Boston.
The last patients departed in June 1992.
Most of the buildings were demolished in 2006, to turn the site into a residential complex. The
central one-third of the main building, which has architecture of the Kirkbride plan, will remain.
map of buildings
Annual Reports of DSH
DanversStateHospital.net), gallery of 40 photographs in Winter2003 and Fall 2005.
At least 768 patients who died at Danvers, whose family did not claim their bodies and whose bodies
were not given to medical schools for dissection, were buried
on site with graves marked only by small metal tag with a number. It is a final indignity that the
name of the person in the grave was not marked.
Danvers State Memorial Committee
Weston State Hospital, WV
Weston State Hospital for insane patients
was built in Weston, West Virginia during 1858 to 1881.
This hospital is allegedly the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in North America.
The building follows the Kirkbride plan.
The hospital was closed in 1994.
The Weston State Hospital was purchased at an auction in September 2007
and the private owners re-named it
"The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum", its original name during the mid-1800s.
New Hampshire State Hospital
I have posted a separate webpage with my photographs, history, and links
for the New Hampshire State Hospital,
which was opened in 1842, and its cemetery.
These large, historic buildings are monuments of American history.
I hate to see these buildings vandalized and then demolished.
It would be preferable to continue to use and maintain these buildings.
This document is at
created 10 March 2007, revised 1 June 2008, links updated 18 Nov 2010
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history of old buildings.