Saturday, May 31, 2014

Time Travel - Part 4

Rockwood Asylum 1878 - 1959

This building was at the bottom of my list of abandoned buildings.  An asylum!  My imagination was really working over time.  And for some reason I left it to the last visit of the day - when I was hot/tired and really needed to go pee (ok ok that was probably TMI)

I punched the address into my GPS.  It found "Gable Lane" but told me no numbers were available for that street.  Ok - no biggie - I figured a hospital should stand out on any street - right???  I followed the GPS directions round and round I went - turn left here take next left take first right.. until I had done a complete circle and was facing south towards the lake with a cross street and (what I initially thought was ) a wall in front of me.  Then I realized if I zigged when I drove across the street - then zagged I would actually land up on another street behind the wall.

I made it in one piece and drove down this long and I do mean long street with government buildings on either side of me.  Weird - I just kept thinking how weird.  I didn't see any hospital - and my GPS was still telling me to keep straight as I had not yet reached "Gable Lane" and the lake was coming up in front of me.  

Suddenly as I rounded a turn - one eye on the GPS and one eye on the road - there looming straight ahead of me was this HUGE massive foreboding building..... Rockwood Asylum.

I was itching to get out and start taking photos................ but there was no where to park and the signs around the main building clearly stipulated "no trespassing - trespassers will be prosecuted"  I drove around for a little bit (going in circles actually) While my mind played back the research I had done on this building. 

 "The institution, which was meant to rehabilitate insane inmates as well as Kingston residents labeled “mentally disturbed,” was built by the very convicts it intended to help, to save the province money on construction costs. Gangs of convicts were sent from the penitentiary to work at the site on a daily basis. The inmates lived in the basement of the penitentiary dining hall until work on the asylum was complete and they could be relocated. The women were housed in the stables "

 On the right of the circular drive were some "out buildings" that did not have the fencing or warnings.  I pulled the car onto a grassy patch and got out with my camera. 

And then I worked my way back to the main road and my car and took one last shot of the main buildings.............

More history flooded back as I studied the many windows and my imagination saw the interior some 136 years ago...... 

" Bedrooms measured 3 by 3 meters, large enough for a single bed and wardrobe. Room doors included a wicket for the transfer of food, and wide hallways were meant to be social areas for patients. McKendry said every aspect of the building is designed with a specific purpose, including its location—as far away from the street as possible. “The facility sits far into the grounds, and the designers said it was because they didn’t want the patients to be scared or disturbed looking out at people in the city,” she said. “But really, ordinary folk wanted to be as far away from these ‘deviants’ as possible. 

The facility was run by Dr John Litchfield who relied on large amounts of alcohol by day and sedatives at night to control the patients. The patients were subjected to inhumane treatments including bloodletting, enemas, blistering and leaching.  

Women were admitted for such "offenses" as postpartum depression and promiscuous behaviours"

Apparently the hospital is haunted - what I wouldn't give to be able to roam the hallways - listen for the moans - the clanking of doors - the rattling of keys................

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