Weston, WV and Pittsburgh, PA

On our roadtrip down to Florida the previous year, I came across the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (TALA) on google and decided we needed to go there. However, due to there being no heat or electricity in the derelict buildings, it was not open in December. So, on the way home from Nashville in the autumn we jumped on the chance. Now, I will say the tour was underwhelming and frustrating. I've ranted at length on Flickr and to friends about it so let's just look at the photos instead. I would have much preferred an hour or two to wander the building as I felt necessary. It would be incredibly difficult to get lost! TALA is currently privately-owned and tours operate in order to fund full restoration of the main building and grounds. And then, after that, we took a very brief night in Pittsburgh.

 The top floor of the asylum was reserved for support staff such as janitors and kitchen workers. The entire building relies completely on available light. The only areas of the building with electricity are those that have been restored.

The top floor of the asylum was reserved for support staff such as janitors and kitchen workers. The entire building relies completely on available light. The only areas of the building with electricity are those that have been restored.

 I spent a great deal of the tour running away from the guide and ducking into side rooms in order to see more than just one long hallway after another. The result was a lot of really quickly snapped photos.

I spent a great deal of the tour running away from the guide and ducking into side rooms in order to see more than just one long hallway after another. The result was a lot of really quickly snapped photos.

 This is the restored second floor where the doctors lived. The idea is that the Transallegheny Lunatic Asylum society is going to restore the entire facility to what it looked like in the mid-20th century. Part of me hopes they don't because a lot of it seems far more powerful in the state of disrepair it is currently it. It's more reflective of the feeling I'm sure many inmates felt--despite what the tour guides will tell you about how much everyone just loved being at the hospital! Tell that to the inmates in solitary...

This is the restored second floor where the doctors lived. The idea is that the Transallegheny Lunatic Asylum society is going to restore the entire facility to what it looked like in the mid-20th century. Part of me hopes they don't because a lot of it seems far more powerful in the state of disrepair it is currently it. It's more reflective of the feeling I'm sure many inmates felt--despite what the tour guides will tell you about how much everyone just loved being at the hospital! Tell that to the inmates in solitary...

 The medical outbuilding. It's virtually empty of everything other than a barber's chair.

The medical outbuilding. It's virtually empty of everything other than a barber's chair.

 Me lagging behind the tour group as always. Look at that skylight! It almost looks like it's an electric light.

Me lagging behind the tour group as always. Look at that skylight! It almost looks like it's an electric light.

 Long, naturally lit corridors are a staple of Kirkbride Plan architecture. It is a floor plan that was based on the theory of Moral Treatment, in that all patients had access to natural sunlight, fresh air, and privacy. You can easily recognise such hospital buildings all over the United States.

Long, naturally lit corridors are a staple of Kirkbride Plan architecture. It is a floor plan that was based on the theory of Moral Treatment, in that all patients had access to natural sunlight, fresh air, and privacy. You can easily recognise such hospital buildings all over the United States.

 The cafeteria preparation area.

The cafeteria preparation area.

 One room was furnished with some old props to give an idea of what the treatment rooms looked like.

One room was furnished with some old props to give an idea of what the treatment rooms looked like.

 The barber shop in the medical building.

The barber shop in the medical building.

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 The children's ward is a common place for ghosthunters to congregate.

The children's ward is a common place for ghosthunters to congregate.

 The nurses lived in a separate area of the hospital and their accomadations were much more sparse (and not yet restored) to the same degree as the doctor's floor.

The nurses lived in a separate area of the hospital and their accomadations were much more sparse (and not yet restored) to the same degree as the doctor's floor.

 A doctor's office.

A doctor's office.

 The many doors of TALA.

The many doors of TALA.

 I ran away from the group to journey through teh washrooms and showers taht aren't included in the tour.

I ran away from the group to journey through teh washrooms and showers taht aren't included in the tour.

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 Much like Hamilton, ON, people seem to mock Pittsburgh for being a steelworkers city. The view from the Grandview Overlook would suggest it's much more than that.

Much like Hamilton, ON, people seem to mock Pittsburgh for being a steelworkers city. The view from the Grandview Overlook would suggest it's much more than that.

 I took a quick solo Uber ride away from the bar crawl of East Carson up to this overlook and boy, I was glad I did. It was sparsely populated. It was like having the city to yourself. I also had a very interesting conversation with a young man named Abdul who told me about his awful, violent experiences being an Iranian university exchange student in the city. He hoped to move to Canada instead.

I took a quick solo Uber ride away from the bar crawl of East Carson up to this overlook and boy, I was glad I did. It was sparsely populated. It was like having the city to yourself. I also had a very interesting conversation with a young man named Abdul who told me about his awful, violent experiences being an Iranian university exchange student in the city. He hoped to move to Canada instead.

 St. Mary of the Mount church in Mount Washington, Pittsburgh.

St. Mary of the Mount church in Mount Washington, Pittsburgh.

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 Niagara Falls, USA. If you ever wondered what the American nightmare looks like, look no further.

Niagara Falls, USA. If you ever wondered what the American nightmare looks like, look no further.

 Crossing the Niagara River back into Canada.

Crossing the Niagara River back into Canada.