On Sunday, I spent part of Father's Day photographing an urbex location in Pennsylvania at a photography workshop put on by Denise Ippolito. The location was Pennhurst Asylum in Spring Hill, Pennsylvania. The Asylum was built in 1908 and was designed "for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic". A commission was established that "found" almost 4,000 "qualified" patients from insane asylums, prisons and reformatories. Unfortunately, some of those found included those with defective sight and/or hearing, imperfect speech, paralysis, epilepsy and blindness, deformities of any kind and offensive habits. It is hard to believe that this was the thinking as little as a hundred years ago.
The history of the Asylum has been quite horrible. In 1968, conditions at Pennhurst were exposed in a five-part television news report entitled "Suffer the Little Children". In 1983, nine employees were indicted on charges ranging from slapping and beating patients (including some in wheelchairs) to arranging for patients to assault each other. A suit was filed that resulted in the Asylum being closed in 1987.
We were able to visit only two of the over 12 buildings on the site. It was quite an eerie feeling walking around the buildings where all of these things happened. This is one of the hallways in the Devon building.