Name: Main Building
Architect: John Haviland
Build Date: Started 1848 / Finished Oct 6, 1851
Type: Administration Offices & Patient Wards
Demolished?: Yes (Admin: 1893 Wards: 1900-1908)
Current Building #: N/A
Alternate Names: N/A
Special Features: Large dome, towers at ward junctions

 

The Main Building was one of the earliest insane asylums in the United States built following the Kirkbride Plan. Construction of the building started between July and October of 1848 and was completed in 1851 at a cost of $169,000. Designed by John Haviland, the building was originally designed to hold 300 patients, but with the addition of infirmaries the capacity increased to 400 patients. The Main Building served the hospital for only fifty years. It was considered by many to be poorly designed and a fire hazard. So at the turn of the 20th century the building was systematically demolished, starting with the administration section, and a short time later the patient wards. In 1950 the land that the Main Building once stood on was excavated for a new Admissions Building. During the excavation workers uncovered debris from the demolition that had been buried for almost fifty years. Today (2010), only the cornerstone of the building still exists. It's encased in a brick display behind the Administration Building.
 

Click on the links below to learn about the Main Building

(It is recommended to start at the top and work your way down)

 
Establishing and Constructing Pennsylvania's First Public Asylum
The First Days
Compassion, but with a new frankness
Signs of Change
The End of the Kirkbride
 

CLICK ON THE MAP BELOW TO EXPLORE THE MAIN BUILDING THROUGH AN INTERACTIVE MAP

 


         
         
         
 
 
         
 

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