Crazy About Insane Asylums

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Though families weren’t always enthusiastic about having their names–or loved ones–associated with an insane asylum, towns had a different attitude. Asylums meant construction work, a steady employee payroll, additional supply orders for local businesses, and so on.

In 1858, Virginia voted to add another insane asylum to its system, due to overcrowding at their Staunton and Williamsburg facilities. The towns of Fayetteville, Sutton, and Weston were in consideration for the project, and that meant competition between the three.

Several important men in the government at Richmond were from Weston, and they urged the town to spruce itself up before the selection committee arrived to inspect it. Citizens hustled to whitewash and paint houses, mend fences, gravel their dirt streets, and repair their sidewalks. They went the extra mile and hauled away their trash, filled potholes, and then greeted the committee with a parade and a brass band.

Weston became the site of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in what later became West Virginia.

Current Image of Hospital

Early Postcard of Weston, WV

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