The Untold Story of the Utica Asylum
By: Lillie Allee
Also knows as: Utica State Hospital and Old Main
1400 Noyes Street
Utica, New York
Utica is at the foothills of the Adirondack mountains in central New York. For over 100 years, visitors have toured the F.X Matt Brewery where they are enchanted by the history of Saranac products and Utica Club. Few, if any, are aware of the dark history regarding the Utica Crib.
The Utica Crib was an actual cage that patients were kept in allegedly to calm them down and ensure the safety of staff members. It was developed at this facility. In this bed within a cage contraption a “dangerous” patient could be wheeled around like a circus animal from room to room or to the outside of the building for fresh air. While this in itself is horrific, the patients had no rights and were subjected to lobotomies and procedures that would never be considered acceptable practice today. According to the Utica Historical Society, the chains in the basement, which most likely had been used on patients, remain in the walls today. Like so many other asylums of that time, the building became overcrowded and according to the Greater Utica Landmark Society, showed a recovery rate of only 26% in 1869.
The building, known as Utica State Hospital, the Utica Lunatic Asylum or Old Main, was the first facility of its kind in New York State. On 130 acres, it opened in 1843 and operated for 135 years. It is still owned and operated by the state as a daytime mental health facility. While the campus is sprawling and contains several buildings, today the actual area used is far less than what it was 50 years ago.
This past August, the facility was opened for a tour, and hundreds showed up to see what this building had to offer. For years, locals have believed the buildings and campus have residents who have never left, and rumors of paranormal experiences are common. .The paranormal ghost society addresses the history of the buildings on their website and claims to have gotten photos of ectoplasm, orbs and EVPs during their visit. Currently, access is limited and teams must receive approval from the state.
Edmonson, Brad., Greater Utica Landmark Society Tour Leaflet (1981_ Rose, Julia. Jhttp://www.cnyhomepage.com/story/d/story/hundreds-line-up-to-tour-former-utica-lunatic-asyl/32928/mQHhsKRot06Hvxyg2BONVA
Paranormal Ghost Society http://www.paranormalghostsociety.org/Utica%20Lunatic%20Asylum.htm
Photo credits: www.westernillinoismuseum.org www.en.wikipedia.org
Latest posts by Lillee Allee (see all)
- The Breastplate of St Patrick - January 31, 2017
- Laser Grids More than just cool-looking Technology? - January 31, 2017
- Tokeland Hotel - April 27, 2016