September 23, 2011

Birthday Fun

The birthday fun did not end with Cream Puffs...

My parents had a four day stay right over my actual birthday... and what a great visit it was! Matt was busy on my birthday with Graduate Assistant stuff but that did not stop Ma, Pa and I from touring Athens. We have recently discover the old insane asylum here in Athens. The hospital had many names over the years but is greatly known as the Athens Lunatic Asylum. The building and the land is now owned by the University and uses the building for an art museum, a cafe and offices. The campus of the Asylum is now called the Ridges. This area has a nature hike, a cemetery of the deceased Asylum patients and the opportunity to discover it all.  So that's exactly what we did on my birthday! The building its self looks amazing. The museum and cafe take up only a tiny bit of the huge building, leaving the majority of the building off limits to the public. We would have loved to explore more. Looking at the old building you can see so much of it is in disrepair and would cost the school a fortune to rehab. Probably not worth it. But there is a certain fascination with the history of the building and the wonder of all that had taken place there so long ago. When Lobotomies, Shock Therapy and Water Treatments were used to 'cure' patients. Just so interesting.

After exploring the Ridges Museum we then headed off to the cemetery. Most of the markers are not identified with a name, yet a number that probably correlated with their hospital number. Supposedly most families choose not to put formal grave markers upon the death of their loved one that lived at the Asylum. So the cemetery is quite eery and again makes you wonder what it must have been like when mental health was so 'hushed' away and seen as life prohibiting. Some of the graves are thought to be veterans of the civil war who were disturbed after battling and are marked with a flag.

So here are some pictures of our afternoon spent at the Ridges.

The Ridges or the former Athens Lunatic Asylum

TB Ward

TB Ward
Inside the Main Building- Now Art Museum

Looking out the front porch of the second floor

Me and my amazing parents! Great birthday! Thanks guys!
 I had an unusual and great birthday! I look forward to exploring the Ridges trails more with Matt. Still so much to see.

check out the Athens Lunatic Asylum on the wiki page...

and more information about the layout of the facility...

one more... 

Pretty neat. Matt and I have come to learn that Athens is suppose to be one of the most haunted places in the country. And there are a few stories about the Asylum that help confirm this thought to many people. What ever the truth is, I just think it's a really cool old building with probably some really neat history. Oh the stories those walls could tell.

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