Progress on the hospital was put on hold for about two years due to deficiencies in the original legislation. On April 25th of 1848 Aaron Bombaugh, John A. Weir, and James Fox were added to the commission. A month later, the now larger commission appointed architect Samuel Holman of Harrisburg to design and over see construction of the hospital. However only two months later the commission dropped Samuel Holman as the architect and instead adopted the plans and specifications furnished by John Haviland. Haviland's proposal estimated the construction of the hospital at a sum of $100,000. The switch appeared to of been based on Haviland's reputation and experience rather than any dissatisfaction with Samuel Holman. Holman would later build some of the out buildings, including the wash house and the carriage house. Dr Thomas Kirkbride, though not publicly involved with the commissioners, may of also had a hand in getting Haviland's (a fellow Quaker) plan adopted. John Haviland opened his practice in Philadelphia in 1816 and had several major structures in the city to his credit, including Eastern State Penitentiary and the Franklin Institute.
According to the 1845 legislature the new hospital building was to be "plain and substantial, with all modern improvements, to accommodate 250 patients." The new hospital was to be called the Pennsylvania State Lunatic Hospital and Union Asylum for the Insane. However a later supplementary act of the 1848 legislature shortened the name of the hospital to the Pennsylvania State Lunatic Hospital. In July of 1848 the commissioners went out to the farm and agreed upon the location of the building, marking it's corners with stakes. On October 18, 1848 architect John Haviland was paid $2,500 for the work he had completed to date. On April 7, 1849 the corner stone of the new hospital was laid by Governor Johnston. Haviland estimated that the building would be completed by November of 1850. However by the time the commissioners paid him a final installment of $55,800 in December of 1850, it became obvious that the hospital was not going to be completed by the January 1851 contract date. The commissioners threatened Haviland with legal action if the hospital was not completed by April. In March of 1851 the commissioners unanimously agreed that Haviland's provisions for heating the hospital were insufficient and they relinquished that part of the contact from him so that they could pursue other options. Eventually the heating provisions were awarded to Birkinbine and Trotter out of Philadelphia. Their contract for $12,200 was for the installation of heating apparatus, laundry, and steam pipes. They installed two 40 foot long boilers in a detached building behind the hospital. Steam produced by the boilers was piped to the Main Building through eight inch cast-iron pipes. From there it branched into "hot air chambers" under each of the building's wings, the heat then traveled though flues inside the building. The total system contained 16,000 feet of pipe. The construction of the hospital was completed on June 19, 1851 when Haviland turned over control of the building to the commissioners.
The second and
third floors were for patients and contained
long corridors with rooms on either side. The second set of wings
was also three stories tall and contained patient wards on all three
floors. At the junction point between the first and second sets of
wings was a fourth floor which contained an infirmary. Crowning the
very top of the junctions, above the infirmary, was a tower which
contained large storage tanks for fresh water. State appropriations for
the third set of wings was not made until 1851, when completed in
1852 they were two stories tall and contained wards for 300 violent
and noisy patients. Until the third set of wings was completed
uncontrollable patients were not admitted to the hospital.
Eighty feet behind the administration section was a building for the bakery and the laundry. Located in cellar of this building were the boilers for heating the hospital and a room for storing up to 150 tons of coal. The hospital was lighted throughout with gas from the Harrisburg Gas Company.
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