Difference between revisions of "Western State School and Hospital"

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| building_style = [[Cottage Planned Institutions|Cottage Plan]]
 
| building_style = [[Cottage Planned Institutions|Cottage Plan]]
 
| architect(s) =
 
| architect(s) =
| location =
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| location = Morganza, PA
 
| architecture_style =
 
| architecture_style =
 
| peak_patient_population =
 
| peak_patient_population =
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*Western Center
 
*Western Center
 
*Pennsylvania Reform School
 
*Pennsylvania Reform School
*Canonsburg State Hospital
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*Canonsburg Youth Development Center
 
*The House of Refuge  
 
*The House of Refuge  
 
}}
 
}}
  
 
==History==
 
==History==
When Western Center opened in 1962 in Canonsburg, at the former site of a home for delinquent youth, the state cared for more than 13,000 mentally retarded residents in state institutions. Western Center is located at the site of the former Pennsylvania Reform School at Morganza, a facility for delinquent youths in Washington County. The facility had 37 buildings on 304 acres of land.
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The Pennsylvania Reform School, originally the House of Refuge of Western Pennsylvania, opened in 1850 as a reform school for local delinquent children. Originally located on the north shore of the Ohio River, Allegheny County, the school relocated in 1872 to Morganza, an area northeast of Canonsburg, Pa., in Washington County. The school changed its name in 1876 to the Pennsylvania Reform School. The school was the home of youth under the age of 21, many of whom were convicted of crimes such as theft, larceny, rape, and murder. The school often applied strict discipline policies to force adherence to their rules, and students were often contracted for labor in nearby farms. In 1911, the school, attempting to remove the stigma of a reform school, changed its name to the Pennsylvania Industrial Training School. The school changed its name a fourth time in 1960, to the Canonsburg Youth Development Center. In 1962, renamed Western State School and Hospital, a hospital was added for the mentally handicapped and opened its doors on the campus. The Youth Development Center was eventually phased out of existence, and the mental hospital, eventually named Western Center, utilized some the former reformatory buildings. The facility had 37 buildings on 304 acres of land.
  
Western Center was formally known as Western State School and Hospital, Pennsylvania Reform School, and The House of Refuge with facility roots reaching back to 1854. The beautiful campus served as a serene setting in Pennsylvania's history of treatment for the mentally retarded although horrid accounts exist of experimental drug therapy, isolation, neglect, rape and dehumanizing treatment to some residents and faculty throughout the years. Western Center, located in Washington County within the Southpointe business park, stopped admitting patients in 1992 and finally closed in 2000. Most of the buildings face eminent demolition while the historic Administration Building may be salvage and restored to function as a future cultural center. The land under redevelopment, bought for $2M, will serve as one of the first lifestyle centers in PA which will feature a complex of office, shopping, living, and recreational facilities in one centralized area.
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The beautiful campus served as a serene setting in Pennsylvania's history of treatment for the mentally retarded although horrid accounts exist of experimental drug therapy, isolation, neglect, rape and dehumanizing treatment to some residents and faculty throughout the years. Western Center, located in Washington County within the Southpointe business park, stopped admitting patients in 1992 and finally closed in 2000. All of the buildings have been demolished. The land under redevelopment, bought for $2M, will serve as one of the first lifestyle centers in PA which will feature a complex of office, shopping, living, and recreational facilities in one centralized area.
  
 
The expansive park-like campus hosts the 20 remaining buildings in various states of decay and disrepair. The seven-story dormitory building looms over the site as the dominant feature. On the opposite end of the campus, a tall green tower tops the brick Administration Building - used as a filming location for the movie "The Silence of the Lambs" in 1991 featuring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. Thirty-three flat aluminum gravestones mark the graves of children in the Morganza Cemetery, each echoing the same epitaph "Rest In Peace".
 
The expansive park-like campus hosts the 20 remaining buildings in various states of decay and disrepair. The seven-story dormitory building looms over the site as the dominant feature. On the opposite end of the campus, a tall green tower tops the brick Administration Building - used as a filming location for the movie "The Silence of the Lambs" in 1991 featuring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. Thirty-three flat aluminum gravestones mark the graves of children in the Morganza Cemetery, each echoing the same epitaph "Rest In Peace".
 
  
 
== Images of Western State School and Hospital ==
 
== Images of Western State School and Hospital ==
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File:WesternCenterPA4.jpg
 
File:WesternCenterPA4.jpg
 
File:WesternCenterPA5.jpg
 
File:WesternCenterPA5.jpg
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File:WC.jpg
 
</gallery>
 
</gallery>
  
 
==Video==
 
==Video==
Here is a video shot by a off road biker showing some of the campus and also on the institution's cemetery:
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*Here is a video shot by a off road biker showing some of the campus and also on the institution's cemetery:
<youtube v="tBURvLEmyso" />
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<videoflash>tBURvLEmyso</videoflash>
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== Links & Additional Information ==
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*[http://www.post-gazette.com/regionstate/20000412western1.asp A news article about the hospital's closure]
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*[http://www.post-gazette.com/regionstate/20000416western4.asp A news article about the hospital's closure]
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*[http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~njm1/05Morganza.html A web page on Western's cemetery]
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*[https://archon.klnpa.org/psa/?p=collections/classifications&id=603 Western Center records available at the Pennsylvania State Archives]
  
  
The administration building is now being demolished. This started in December of 2011 and looks to conclude in January 2012. At the time of this, only the center portion of the building still stands, but this will be short lived.
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[[Category:Pennsylvania]]
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[[Category:Cottage Plan]]
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[[Category:Demolished Institution]]
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[[Category:Articles With Videos]]

Latest revision as of 16:59, 15 July 2020

Western State School and Hospital
Opened 1962
Closed 2000
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Morganza, PA
Alternate Names
  • Western Center
  • Pennsylvania Reform School
  • Canonsburg Youth Development Center
  • The House of Refuge



History[edit]

The Pennsylvania Reform School, originally the House of Refuge of Western Pennsylvania, opened in 1850 as a reform school for local delinquent children. Originally located on the north shore of the Ohio River, Allegheny County, the school relocated in 1872 to Morganza, an area northeast of Canonsburg, Pa., in Washington County. The school changed its name in 1876 to the Pennsylvania Reform School. The school was the home of youth under the age of 21, many of whom were convicted of crimes such as theft, larceny, rape, and murder. The school often applied strict discipline policies to force adherence to their rules, and students were often contracted for labor in nearby farms. In 1911, the school, attempting to remove the stigma of a reform school, changed its name to the Pennsylvania Industrial Training School. The school changed its name a fourth time in 1960, to the Canonsburg Youth Development Center. In 1962, renamed Western State School and Hospital, a hospital was added for the mentally handicapped and opened its doors on the campus. The Youth Development Center was eventually phased out of existence, and the mental hospital, eventually named Western Center, utilized some the former reformatory buildings. The facility had 37 buildings on 304 acres of land.

The beautiful campus served as a serene setting in Pennsylvania's history of treatment for the mentally retarded although horrid accounts exist of experimental drug therapy, isolation, neglect, rape and dehumanizing treatment to some residents and faculty throughout the years. Western Center, located in Washington County within the Southpointe business park, stopped admitting patients in 1992 and finally closed in 2000. All of the buildings have been demolished. The land under redevelopment, bought for $2M, will serve as one of the first lifestyle centers in PA which will feature a complex of office, shopping, living, and recreational facilities in one centralized area.

The expansive park-like campus hosts the 20 remaining buildings in various states of decay and disrepair. The seven-story dormitory building looms over the site as the dominant feature. On the opposite end of the campus, a tall green tower tops the brick Administration Building - used as a filming location for the movie "The Silence of the Lambs" in 1991 featuring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. Thirty-three flat aluminum gravestones mark the graves of children in the Morganza Cemetery, each echoing the same epitaph "Rest In Peace".

Images of Western State School and Hospital[edit]

Main Image Gallery: Western State School and Hospital


Video[edit]

  • Here is a video shot by a off road biker showing some of the campus and also on the institution's cemetery:

Links & Additional Information[edit]