Friday, July 15, 2011

Vacation part 2: The Ridges, Athens OH

The Ridges, aka The Athens Lunatic Asylum, is an imposing complex that stands on a hill in Athens, Ohio. Many people consider it haunted but I'm a skeptic where most ghost stories are concerned. So if you're looking to be afraid, alas, I am not your blogger.

However I find the building beautiful in that falling-apart sad way that I love. I wish I'd had a tripod and different lens so I could get better pictures. However I didn't have either with me.

The Ridges also has a fascinating history and sometimes I geek-out for stuff like that. It was open from 1873-1993. It's easy to see how it would've been beautiful in it's heyday. The grounds are scenic with wonderful old trees. Apparently for awhile it had a greenhouse, dairy farm and was nearly self-sustaining.

Below are some pictures of The Ridges (the outside, I do not try to get arrested on vacation) and the cemetery along with some of my commentary of course.

Each floor had a different pattern to the bars. Creepy & Pretty.

Some kind of art project. My first reaction was "interactive art you can play with."
But alas a sign told me not to touch. I hate art like this that you're not suppose to touch.
Paintings I do not touch. But weird 3D sculptures outside in public places should be playgrounds.
Yes that may have been a mini-rant.

I like to try to imagine the building on shiny and new. It must've been impressive.

Courtyard for the patients to play in but apparently not for me to play it.
Sad day. (Not that the fence could've kept me out, except you know nothing illegal on vacation).

Keep the dang door closed people! Safety first! Or something...

This is where I start getting philosophical and sad. The tombstones for the mental institution were of the cheapest
stone available and didn't even have the persons name.
Can you image your life boiling down to be #9 in a hillside cemetery?
And only until your stone decayed at that.

It made me even sadder when we read about how many of the patients were civil war veterans.

That's that's The Ridges, as seen by me. I'm not going to tell you ghost stories I don't believe in. I just find the whole thing both sad and fascinating. I'm sure the hospital was built with the best intentions. Pictures of the early days of The Ridges show a ballroom, recreation and a beautiful location. But eventually it became overcrowded and fell into disrepair. If you want to read more about the Ridges here is a website The Ridges that despite poor graphic design (really creepy red font?) seems to provide some interesting information. From there google is your friend.

Stay tuned for pictures of my adventures in West Virginia and hopefully some more book reviews now that I've returned to my real life.

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