Whitehurst State Hospital*

*This location is undisclosed to help prevent further vandalism and damage to the property.

Built in the late-1880s, Whitehurst was one of the least funded state hospitals in the nation and struggled financially until its closure. It operated until around the 1970s when deinstitutionalization took place, moving many of the patients out of the hospital to receive treatment from local medical clinics.

Whitehurst State Hospital | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

With just a couple hundred patients when it first opened, its population grew to over 2,000 in later years. This was due to patients being hospitalized there for decades, many of which who were simply forgotten by their friends and family. Some of these people were also not mentally ill, but were considered too rebellious or unconventional for the time.

Due to having such a large population and being underfunded, the hospital suffered from severe overcrowding issues with many patients put into crowded dormitories. With such a large population and shortage of staff, patients were lucky to receive at least ten minutes with a doctor at the facility.

Whitehurst State Hospital | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Whitehurst State Hospital | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Whitehurst State Hospital | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Whitehurst State Hospital | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Whitehurst State Hospital | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Whitehurst State Hospital | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

As a form of punishment, unruly patients were put into isolation cells located in the basement of the building.

Whitehurst State Hospital | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Whitehurst State Hospital | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Patients at Whitehurst received treatments ranging from hydrotherapy and electroshock therapy which are still used today, to insulin shock therapy and lobotomies.

Dr. Walter Freeman developed the procedure called transorbital lobotomy. Rather than drilling into a patient’s skull this procedure involved taking an ice pick-like device and inserting it through the corners of each eye socket, hammering it through the thin bone there with a mallet. Once inside, the pick would be moved from side-to-side to destroy the connections to the prefrontal cortex in the frontal lobes of the brain. This method could be performed outside of an operating room and without the need for anesthesia which became favorable in hospitals that were overpopulated and understaffed.

Whitehurst State Hospital | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Whitehurst State Hospital | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Whitehurst State Hospital | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Whitehurst State Hospital | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

The attic contained sleeping quarters for the staff and storage rooms with patients’ belongings, left behind after decades of the hospital’s closing. Among the belongings was a ledger with entries dated October 1968 by various staff members at the hospital, recording what their shifts were like.

Whitehurst State Hospital | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Whitehurst State Hospital | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Whitehurst State Hospital | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

Whitehurst State Hospital | Photo © 2016 Bullet, www.autopsyofarchitecture.com

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