The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, which changed names over the years and was known as the Weston State Hospital later in life—operated from 1864 to 1994.
Today it stands as a testimony to the inhumane practices once used in mental health. Sitting on 666 acres, this spooky area is home to numerous buildings, including a museum, a gift shop where a few of the remaining employees still work, and an abandoned cemetery.
Famous for its looming structure, it was built using the Kirkbride design, a design common to asylums of the early 19th century. Much of the asylum remains closed off to the general public as the main building and out-buildings are in bad repair and are structurally unsound. A wide choice of tours are available, and specialty supernatural/ghost hunts, even overnighters are available for those searching for tortured spirits who have yet to escape.
Know Before You Go
There are occasional ghost hunt events that open up three of the back buildings. These are separate from their normal tours/hunts. The overnight ghost hunt tour costs around $100 per person and has limited slots available, but for those wanting a bit more freedom to explore, this is a really great experience. They label this as Ghost Hunt, but it's also an awesome LEGAL urban exploration of an abandoned set of asylum buildings. It's a superb opportunity for photographers. Make sure to visit the official website and check schedule/availability. The First Floor self guided tour ($10) and the Four Floor 90-minute tour ($30) focus on the history and evolution of mental health treatment and the history of the asylum, from its construction and architecture to its patients, staff, treatments, and inner workings. A historian’s delight! There is a military discount, but only for the historical tour. Yes, there is a modest gift shoppe.