Up in the Old Asylum
As preservationists fight to save a pair of psychiatric hospitals from demolition, a photographer explores their decaying beauty and the century-old tales hidden within.
The Lunatic Asylum at Morristown first opened in 1876. Later renamed the less offensive “Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital," the facility in Morris Plains, New Jersey, is centered around a main building constructed in the Kirkbride style, a branch of High Victorian Gothic architecture designed specifically for asylums. Known for its distinctive tiered, linear pattern, Kirkbride buildings placed administration facilities in the middle, with two expansive ward wings on each side. Kirkbride buildings were designed to house and protect patients in a series of secluded wards. The tiered layout kept mental and physical illnesses contained to specific areas and cultivated a safe, enclosed atmosphere for the patients to live and receive treatment.
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