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Crumbling Castles: The Lost Asylums at Taunton and Northampton
  • ISBN: 9781634991193
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Crumbling Castles: The Lost Asylums at Taunton and Northampton

Author(s): Tom Kirsch
In the towns of Taunton and Northampton, Massachusetts’ earliest public psychiatric hospitals were left abandoned and whispered about by those living in their shadows.

Built using the “Kirkbride plan,” these relics were designed specifically to cure mental illness based on early nineteenth-century cure theories, which included fresh air, regimentation and an aesthetic environment. Their elegant spires and arched passages were feats of engineering blended with medical science, as architects worked alongside doctors to design these elaborate institutions.

The vast corridors of these hospitals were quickly overburdened with patients however, and in short time the asylums became not only a last resort for treatment, but even a place to be feared. As treatment of mental health progressed, these castle-like hospitals grew increasingly obsolete until they were finally shuttered by the state.

Tom Kirsch takes us on a journey into these forbidden places where few have ventured with his photography, while providing the important context of why they were built and their fall from grace.
Tom Kirsch is an accomplished photographer of abandoned places across the globe. His focus on psychiatric hospitals began in 2003; with copious amounts of research and travel, he found closed or partially-shuttered institutions in every state. Each had their own trove of stories to tell, either in history books or cryptically left behind in their decaying wards. The prevalence of these closed facilities extended his work into England, Germany and Italy; however, the uniqueness and former grandeur of Kirkbride plan hospitals in the U.S. held a captivating interest for him. More of his work can be found on his website, www.opacity.us.
ISBN: 9781634991193
Publisher: America Through Time
Date: 03/25/2019
State: Massachusetts
Images: 111 Black And White
Pages: 96
Dimensions: 6.5 (w) x 9.25 (h)