Rochester Subway
Subscribe for Email UpdatesBecome a Facebook FanFollow Us on TwitterRSS Feed Rochester History + New Ideas. Fresh from the Rochester Subway.

Topics


Rochester Subway Gift Shop


¤ Visit the Gift Shop
¤ See Combo Deals & Offers


Modern Rochester Subway Map


Modern Rochester Subway Map

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Modern Rochester Subway Map


City of Rochester, New York

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Neighborhoods Map

Rochester Neighborhoods Map

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Subway Map, 1928


1928 Rochester Subway Map

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Subway DVD

The End of the Line - Rochester’s Subway (DVD)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Landmarks Poster

Rochester Landmarks Poster

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Work in Rochester

Work in Rochester

¤ View Details
¤ Buy from Amazon


Original Streetart by SPACEMAN

Original Streetart by SPACEMAN

¤ View All Spaceman Art


Old Rochester Photos<br>and Historical Views

Old Rochester Photos
and Historical Views

(Framed Reprints Available)

¤ View All Rochester Photos


Rochester Subway Cap

Embroidered Subway Cap

¤ View Details


Rochester Subway T-Shirt

Rochester Subway T-Shirt

¤ View Details


Rochester Subway Token T-Shirt

RTC Token T-Shirt

¤ View Details


Rochester RTC Token

RTC Token (1948)

¤ View Details

 | 

SOLD OUT


Roch. & Brighton Token

Roch. & Brighton Token
(1887-90)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Railway Co. Token

Rochester Railway Co. Token (1900-09)

¤ View Details

 | 

SOLD OUT


Rochester School Fare Token

School Fare Token (1948)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester NYS Railways Token

NYS Railways Token (1909-38)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Subway Poster + DVD Combo

Rochester Subway
Poster + DVD Combo

¤ 

Add To Cart

 (Save 10%)


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (1941),
Rochester Rail Equipment

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (1938),
Subway & Broad Street

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (1942),
Rochester City Hall & Subway

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (c.1912),
Rochester’s Four Corners

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (c.1905),
Erie Canal Aqueduct

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (c.1928),
South Entrance to Subway

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway + Trolley Transit Passes

Original Subway, Trolley,
and Bus Weekly Transit Passes

¤ View All Transit Passes





Inside Rochester’s Abandoned Walters Psychiatric Building

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
By Mike Governale

The complex of the Rochester Psychiatric Center external link (a.k.a. Rochester State Hospital or Monroe County Insane Asylum) is legendary among urban explorers and history fanatics alike. Originally built in the early 1800s as the Monroe County Almshouse (or poorhouse), new buildings and facilities were gradually added to care for the mentally ill.

Although the hospital still operates to this day, a few buildings were closed in the mid-1990s and now sit in various states of decay. One notable example we’ve explored previously is the towering 16-story Terrence Building which looms over Elmwood Avenue. Another is the sprawling Walters Building (originally known as the Orleans Building) which we’ll be exploring today…

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
First, a word of caution for any would-be explorers. These buildings are extremely well protected. Both Terrence and Walters have been sealed off to the outside world for over 20 years. And since this complex is still operated as a hospital, security guards patrol the grounds 24/7.
UPDATE: This article previously stated that the State still owned the hospital, however, a commenter pointed out that Al Sigl Center purchased these buildings about 10 years ago.

Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration SquadThe following photos were provided to RocSubway by Snoop Junkie – Rochester Urban Exploration Squad external link. In an email Snoop Junkie told us, “These photos were taken some time ago by an anonymous and mostly freelance member of the group when this building was less secure than it is now. I strongly discourage any and all from trying to gain access into this building. It’s extremely dangerous in many ways, but also can (and most likely will) land you in serious trouble with authorities. The building is currently completely sealed, NYS camera surveillance presence is strong, and the state will prosecute.”

Alrighty, let’s go inside…

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
The Monroe County Insane Asylum was founded in 1857. It was sold to New York State and became the Rochester State Hospital in 1891. And in 1974 it was renamed the Rochester Psychiatric Center. The Orleans (Walters) Building was constructed sometime around 1930 as an infirmary.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
A newspaper article by Arthur P. Reed Jr. published in the D&C in 1934—right around the time the Howard and Orleans Buildings were first opened—heralds the facilities as being “completely equipped” to treat mental ills in “modern manner”.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“Where other hospitals treat disease of the body, the Rochester State Hospital is devoted to the care and treatment of disorders of the mind.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“It is not an ‘insane asylum’ as that word is used in history; with its connotations of raving lunatics and mad Napoleons. Rather it is a hospital for the insane and those whose mental condition is warped to a degree that prevents their participation in the normal life of a civilized environment.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“On the one hand it prevents the mentally unsound from being a burden on their families and the community…”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“On the other. It tries to bring them a certain degree of happiness in life and perhaps, to cure them that they may resume their places in society as useful citizens.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
Our journey inside Walters begins down below. This may or may not be the door our explorers used to gain entrance.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
We’re in the basement.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
A dead black bird trapped between two doors – a creepy way to kick things off.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
Our explorers recalled “nearly the entire basement was sitting in a 1/2″ to 1″ of water – and/or sludge.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
While in the basement, our explorers came across a locked, steel door leading into a tunnel. The first time they passed by the tunnel was pitch dark, but on their way out they noticed a light coming from beyond the door. The glass in its little square window was broken out. A very long extension cord was running from somewhere within the tunnel, through the broken window to an outlet in Walters. “We had no idea what to make of it but figured that was a good time to get out of there.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
It turns out that the tunnel leads to another building in the complex—the Howard group of buildings—directly north of Walters. You can see the underground passageway on the plat map (above) from 1935. The Howard buildings—named for the state institution’s first superintendent, Dr. Eugene H. Howard—are still in use today.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
These are giant sanitary tanks. Signs on the walls indicate this was part of a nuclear fallout shelter. Similar tanks also exist in the basement of Terrence tower.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
And here we have a Joseph Goder trash incinerator.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
This may have been used to dispose of refuse from a kitchen on the floors above and to heat water for the building.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
Or… perhaps to dispose of evidence of someone’s alcohol problem??

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
Ok, I think we’ve seen enough of the basement. Time to find our way up to higher ground.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
Hmmm. Freight elevator is out.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
And we don’t have our “honor cards.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
There’s got to be a stairwell somewhere around here.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
Up we go…

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
We appear to be just inside the building’s main entrance now.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
Visitors, please ring doorbell.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
Here’s an old bus schedule posted on the wall. Probably for carting staff and visitors between the various buildings on the complex and Strong Hospital.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
We enter one of the larger spaces in the building; probably a cafeteria at one point and later used for storage.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
I don’t typically recommend buying art in bulk, but these guys had several hundred rooms to decorate so I’ll let it slide.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
Someone here has been playing “Princess and the Pea.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
The 1934 article explains, “Many of the patients, of course, are incurable. Yet Dr. John L. VanDeMark, superintendent, is able to report a cure ratio of 20 percent.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“This the hospital achieves through treatment of physical disorders first, then, through occupational work of different variations, through rest, and the soothing influence of regulated routine.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“It endeavors to free the patients’ minds from obsessions by occupying them with new interests.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“Then, the physical handicaps that often cause mental quirks are treated with the view of taking every possible course to root out the disabilities.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“In appearance and atmosphere, the Rochester State Hospital, situated on an expansive tract at South and Elmwood avenues, where open fields begin to stretch away into the distance, resembles most an ordinary hospital and convalescent home.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“This impression is heightened as one visits the wards and hospital plants, despite the depressing nature of the disorders under treatment.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“Recreation rooms are filled with patients listening to radios or phonographs or engaged in conversation.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“In the occupational therapy rooms, good-natured men and women sit working day after day on weaving or other tasks designed to give their clouded minds a focus.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“Dormitories for older folk are full of rows of beds on which lie enfeebled patients.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“Or, in the various establishments by which the hospital is made self-sustaining, good-natured inmates go placidly about their work.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“The inmates appear unaware of their condition, and, no doubt, are far happier in the regulated environment of the hospital than they were in a world to which they were maladjusted.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
Not all of the “inmates” were happy to be safely behind the walls of the institution.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
In January of 1971 the Cortland Standard reported on a woman who escaped from the hospital after being charged with murder in the drowning of her daughter.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
The woman, Carol Luther, 26, of Rochester fled on New Year’s Eve by kicking out a screened kitchen window. Two male patients also escaped that same day.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
Carol was caught in California about a week later and sent back to the State hospital. At that time the two men were still being sought.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
We also know that, within the walls of the hospital, patients were killed at the hands of other patients on more than one occasion.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
On July 17, 1894, Mrs. Gertrude Ehinger, a 77 year old patient of 5 years was knocked down on the floor of a lavatory by another patient, Mrs. Mary McClelland. Ehinger sustained injuries which resulted in her death later in the day.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
The “accidental” death of a patient on Valentine’s Day, 1947, was reported on by several newspapers. Robert Grahan, 47, was found dead reportedly of natural causes, but with several broken ribs which his death certificate listed as “cause unknown”.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
In a report later that year, the hospital referred to Grahan’s death, and stated that “theoretically, it might be possible to prevent all injuries if there were enough attendants.” But that “this is impossible and inadvisable.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“Such freedom as patients can rightly have, helps in their recovery, and the risks which go with that freedom must be taken by the hospital authorities.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“The occasional serious accidents, suicides, or abuses of patients by employees are most infrequent and not the day to day routine of the hospital.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
At the time of that report, it says, there had been just two verified homicides in the entire history of the Rochester State Hospital.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
The report went on to say, “There are 3,100 mentally ill patients in the hospital, many of whom are disturbed and violent.” In connection with the report, the hospital board revealed that they had 158 vacancies on the payroll – primarily ward attendants.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
Apparently it was not easy to find people who wanted to work at the hospital. Conscientious objectors (individuals who objected to serving in the armed forces) during the 1960s were often sent to work at the hospital by state draft boards.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
A 1967 newspaper story from Watertown, NY tells of one member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, David Paul Ritton, 20, who was sentenced to a year in prison for refusing to go to work at the Rochester State Hospital. The Watertown draft board had assigned him to serve at the hospital for two years, but Ritton said it conflicted with his religious beliefs and refused to report for work.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
In 1914 federal investigators found conditions in the kitchens of several New York State hospitals including Rochester’s to be bad “beyond belief”.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
Hospital chefs testified that it was custom to feed rotten food to patients.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
Investigators actually witnessed several carloads of bad eggs and moldly, slimy meat being delivered to one hospital in Poughkeepsie. Some of the beef, investigators said, was decomposing in spots. It was later found that the State Hospital Commission would routinely purchase old eggs and bad meat for the institutions.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
All of the eggs stored away at the Rochester State Hospital were ordered destroyed by the inspectors.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
On February 20, 1894 a fire destroyed the building that contained the kitchen, dining rooms, and laundry for the entire hospital complex.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
Newspaper reports spoke of “intense excitement” among the 450 inmates when the fire was discovered.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
The attendants had difficulty keeping the inmates quiet, and many of them tried to break the bars on the windows.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
The boiler house and electric-light plant were also destroyed, leaving the complex without light or heat.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
An emergency bill had to be introduced in the State legislature that day to appropriate $15,000 to begin repairing the hospital.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
The bill passed, but not before questions of negligence were raised.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
One legislator indicated that fires in the Rochester hospital were “altogether too frequent” and that he understood that in one case where a fire had occurred, it had been caused by rubbish being left in the cellar.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
It wasn’t all bad. There were some good times as well…

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
On June 23, 1931 the D&C reported on an annual field day held at the hospital.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
Patients and staff participated in events and some 1,500 people—mostly patients—looked on.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“Under the rustic roof of the bandstand or summer house, the hospital’s orchestra, all patients, played. On the grounds band music was provided by pupils of St. Andrew’s School.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“Each field event carried with it at least two prizes, some a half dozen… money for the prizes and for ice cream was earned by the patients themselves, from the articles they make for sale.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“A spirited tug-of-war was waged between the men employed outside the building, on the farm and about the grounds, and those who act as men’s nurses or in other capacities inside.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
200 patients and 30 employees took part in the field events. “Both men and women in the activities wore white clothes with red scarfs, giving a colorful touch to the scene.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“One group of men formed pyramids, holding on with one hand and in the other small American flags.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
“Folk dances were presented in costume, and there was a clown who did a number of stunts.”

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
The article reported that this was the first state hospital in the United States to have physical exercises of this nature for the patients. “They were originated by Dr. Charles La Moore, who began with a small group of young patients” before expanding the program.

Inside the abandoned Walters psychiatric building. [IMAGE: Snoop Junkie - Rochester Urban Exploration Squad]
Good times, indeed.

• • •

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 8th, 2015 at 11:43 pm and is filed under Architecture, Rochester History, Rochester Images, Urban Exploration. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

32 Responses to “Inside Rochester’s Abandoned Walters Psychiatric Building”

  1. John says:

    Interesting old complex

  2. Carl Binger says:

    Thanks for posting Mike. My top 5 website anyday!

  3. Barbra Ann says:

    Here’s an idea for snoop-j: tone down the pseudo-sensationalism and get a job with an architectural or demolition firm.

  4. Joanne says:

    Super interesting!! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jan says:

    As an amateur photographer, and naturally curious person, I would so LOVE to do something like this. Thanks for the tour and history. My grandparents lived very close to Strong Hospital and we used to drive by there all the time. My imagination would go wild!

  6. Sly says:

    Fantastic insight & photos for a place I’ve often been curious about. Kudos!

  7. Paula says:

    I always enjoy these articles of exploration & history. Thanks as always!!!

  8. RD2003 says:

    You turned me off to reading your article by the end of your 3rd paragraph. Thanks for your disrespect of what you do not know.

  9. Cindy B says:

    I working at Monroe Community Hospital in the 80’s. I remember the elevator had choice for B = basement or SB = sub-basement. I was told by co-worker that below the SB is a tunnel that links MCH to all the old psych buildings. Does anyone know if this is true?

  10. RD2003, if you work at this hospital you have my respect and appreciation. But if you disagree with the material you will need to take that up with history. Just about every detail is pulled directly from a newspaper story. Heavily condensed, yes. But not made up.

  11. Snoop Junkie says:

    Barbra Ann-
    What in particular are you referring to as “Pseudo-sensationalism”?
    I’ve worked at a couple local architectural firms, but have yet to try my hand at demo. Could be fun! Thanks for the advice…

  12. Gina says:

    Cindy B
    MCH has tunnels that linked to the Iola campus. I don’t think they went all the way down to South Ave. I was able to get into the tunnels before they tore it down for Costco.

  13. md7586 says:

    There are 2 tunnels you can walk in. 1 in the basement thru the window.(now filled with cement)And one in the sub basement bringing steam lines in from another building for heat. (Blocked by a steel plate.) but there is a 3rd small one also for steam lines ppl cant fit thru going to a side road where houses for some of the workers were. And with the light turning on… its because they never disconnected the electric from the other building powering the lights in the tunnel when they filled it.

  14. Jon says:

    Thank you for the photos and history. I drive by here regularly and am fascinated by the history. It saddens me to see the state of disrepair. I am a fan of your site after reading about the Iola campus a while back. Please keep up the great work.

  15. Jeffrey Packard says:

    I hope the photographer was wearing some type mask in there. Looked like there was a significant amount of black mold. Wow!

  16. Barb says:

    I worked in this building for several years. It was a beautiful building that housed many, many people that no one wanted or could care for. Although history paints an ugly picture sometimes, remember that society had no way to deal with these folks and medicine was striving to find cures for mental illness. While huge progress has been made, there is much, much more to accomplish.
    Any gains made in treatment we’re through experimentation. Many approaches were found to be ineffective, but some tactics were helpful. Even having those patients that were able go out on the grounds and work on the farms or in the shops (shoemakers, caning chairs, grounds keeping and many more occupations) gave folks structure, some skills, and a role in the sheltered community that was the State Hospital.
    Sure, it was never a perfect system. Bad things happened there. But dedicated doctors, nurses and attendants provided physical and psychiatric care for thousands of these suffering souls over the years. And this creepy looking building was shelter for folks that did not fit in and could not deal with life on the outside. It’s called asylum. Refuge. People who worked there cared about those who had to live there.
    The building in these sad photos was not creepy before it was abandoned. It was alive with activity, therapy and nurturing. I am not so sure that it is better that so many mentally ill folks are now housed in jail or are homeless.

  17. Barb says:

    Forgot to mention pharmacists, physical therapists, occupational and recreation therapists, social workers, psychologists, dietitians and many others that provided services in that now sad looking building.

  18. Jan says:

    Very nicely put, Barb. I think a lot of what people think about psychiatric facilities are gleaned from the movies. I think an abandoned nursing home would bring out the same feelings in people. I also think the “creepiness” comes from the condition of the buildings today. I suppose some people imagine that it looked like that when it was inhabited. Oh, and I just wanted to add one more thing to your list: nurses!! :)

  19. Snoop Junkie says:

    Hi Jan- While Hollywood has done their part in painting an ugly picture of “Insane Asylums”, there’s quite a bit of factual documented history involving overcrowding, neglect, abuse & human experimentation at these institutions as well. Some of the experimentation which went on at these facilities was beyond cruel & utterly barbaric. I’m not condemning Walters of this, but a lot of places like this, back then, were not nice places for a person to be. That, more so than the rotting building itself, is the creepiest part about it to me. And Barb, well put- “Although history paints an ugly picture sometimes, remember that society had no way to deal with these folks and medicine was striving to find cures for mental illness.” While that doesn’t excuse history of all wrong doings, it’s true that we knew very little back then versus what we know now.

  20. Snoop Junkie says:

    Barb- I also wanted to mention that I have no doubt that you and many many others did all you could to bring joy and comfort to those who were in need of help. We should all be thankful for people like you!

  21. Nonya says:

    The Walters Buidling and all the property south of it are not owned by NYS. All those grounds were sold off to the Al Sigl center about 10 or so years ago. The State of NY also does not own the Terrence Building, or grounds around it. I have personal knowledge of this as I was an officer for RPC, recently retired. The paraphernalia & most of the furniture you see in the photos have since be “acquired” after the sale of the property. The area referred to as a cafeteria was actually the kitchen where all the food was cooked for the patients, for that building along with some of the others.

    You guys should seek assistance from (former) employees to get accurate descriptions… I worked in the building (and all the rest) and have first hand knowledge.

    And, as previously stated, I hope the explorers were
    wearing respirators because besides black mold and the mildew and other contaminants, that’s all aspestos that’s hang down & exposed from the pipes and ceilings. Be smart.

  22. Becky says:

    I am aware of the history behind RPC and although the system institutionalized thousands of people over the years, it also protected them in many ways. The state is currently pushing many mentally ill people back into the community with the newest facility closures, and if you worked with the patients you would see that many are incapable of taking care of themselves. You can wrap many services around them, and still they are unsafe in the community, either because of a lack of skills, or because of the community’s intolerance of behaviors, fear, or anger over the drain on public assistance funds needed to support these people. There is no win-win scenario for these people. They get to leave the hospital, but then face years of intrusive “care-taking services” in the community, provided by the same people that worked with them inpatient. On the flip side, without the help they end up in jail, in homeless shelters, or killed by uneducated haters who don’t wish to have them as neighbors.

  23. Shane says:

    Hi, just wondering if anyone knew how accessible this building is as of now. Thank you.

  24. J says:

    Shane, I was just in the area this past week and visited both the Terrence and Walters Buildings exteriors, the Terrence tower seems to have far more security than the Walters building. But being butted up against a current in use facility, and security being very present it doesn’t seem easily accessible. Anddd the state will prosecute if you get caught, so there’s that to worry about as well.

  25. Shane says:

    Thanks for the feed back I appreciate it very much. So is this building located in the same area as the Terrance building? I do not recall seeing it when I went to the Terrance building last.

  26. Shane says:

    Also does any know of any airborne illnesses in this area? I went there this past Sunday, checked the recommended way I’m and it was just a door. Is it an unlocked door? I didn’t even bother trying so I wasn’t sure.

  27. Tracey says:

    My grandmother lived her life here not too long after my dad was born. I don’t have a lot of information about what all happened, but my mom kept it from us kids. I was told her last name was Welch or Welsh. This gave me an idea of atleast what her life was like. Thank you.

  28. Jack Lamphier says:

    My Aunt lived in Lima and in the 1930’s we would travel from the 19th ward to visit her. These journeys required us to travel past the old insane asylum to access E. Henrietta Rd. It was not uncommon to see wild haired women with flailing arms, screaming unintelligibles from balconies or behind open barred windows as we passed by. My parents called it a nut house.

  29. Tracey says:

    Does any of the ex-employees who have posted on here possibly remember a woman named Welch or Welsh who was institutionalized here?

  30. S says:

    This building is not patrolled or secured. It is very easy to gain entrance, and there is an entrance right now. It’s a very cool building, and if you’re interested in Terrence tower you’d like it. It’s in much better condition that Terrence (as not many people know of it). If you get the chance to visit, take it.

  31. Britney Brown says:

    My mother was born in an asylum in Rochester in 1955 but I’m not quite sure if this is the one. I mostly want to find information about my grandmother and her ailments that led her to be in the ward. If anyone can help me find information it would be greatly appreciated. I’m only 23 and I’m kind of lost in this world and it’d be nice to know a bit about who I am.

  32. Kali says:

    Does anyone know if its still accessible? I’m dying for a chance to see the inside.


Post a Comment...



  Most Popular...
  1. Pot Holds Bowie in Rochester
    (views: 29,836)
  2. Inside Rochester’s Terrence Tower
    (views: 23,030)
  3. Inside Abandoned Medley Centre (a.k.a Irondequoit Mall)
    (views: 20,995)
  4. Abandoned Glass House
    (views: 11,933)
  5. Deep Inside Rochester’s Big Old Sibley Building
    (views: 11,894)
  6. The Best Holiday Light Displays in Rochester v1.0
    (views: 11,290)
  7. Inside Rochester’s Abandoned Walters Psychiatric Building
    (views: 10,872)
  8. Abandoned Girl Scout Camp Beech-Wood
    (views: 10,116)
  9. University of Rochester’s Lost Swimming Pool
    (views: 9,443)
  10. History of Seabreeze Amusement Park
    (views: 8,131)
  11. Durand Eastman Park and the Lady In White
    (views: 7,780)
  12. Inside the Abandoned Camp Haccamo, Penfield
    (views: 7,528)
  13. Abandoned Theme Park: Frontier Town
    (views: 7,332)
  14. Exploring the Caves of Rochester, NY
    (views: 6,699)
  15. Inside the Abandoned Vacuum Oil Refinery
    (views: 6,418)
  16. Rochester Mafia, the Banana King, and the Infamous “Barrel Murder”
    (views: 5,828)
  17. The Old Barber House
    (views: 5,823)
  18. Inside RG&E Beebee Power Plant – Just Before (and during) Demolition
    (views: 4,728)
  19. Inside 65-67 Chestnut St. – Old Hotel Richford
    (views: 4,660)
  20. Amazing! Virtual Tour of Rochester Subway on Google Street View
    (views: 4,063)

Topics

  • Architecture (63)
  • Art + Culture (116)
  • Events (99)
  • Freebies (9)
  • Interviews (32)
  • Opinion (106)
  • Other (1)
  • Reader Submitted Stories (125)
  • Rochester Apartments (4)
  • Rochester Destinations (97)
  • Rochester Gifts (18)
  • Rochester History (198)
  • Rochester Homes for Sale (6)
  • Rochester Images (207)
  • Rochester News (333)
  • Rochester Subway (50)
  • Rochester Subway Stories (16)
  • Subways Around the Globe (11)
  • Train/Railroad Stuff (46)
  • Transit + Infrastructure (199)
  • Uncategorized (15)
  • Urban Development (258)
  • Urban Exploration (59)

  • Rochester Subway Information

    Get Email Updates...
    Stay up-to-date on Rochester-related stories, artifacts, and ideas that you won't find in the mainstream news. Totally free, never spammy, and you can unsubscribe at any time.


    ¤ See Past Issues
    ¤ Our Privacy Policy

    Links

    Get Involved...

    ¤ Reconnect Rochester

    Related Blogs...

    ¤ A Town Square
    ¤ Moderate Urban Champ
    ¤ Our Tiny Earth
    ¤ The Rochesterian
    ¤ RocVille
    ¤ Rust Wire

    Resources...

    ¤ RochesterDowntown.com
    ¤ Rochester's Public Library
    ¤ ROCwiki



    Want to Advertise
    on RocSubway?
    Drop us a line.


    Other ways to follow RochesterSubway.com...

    Subscribe for Email Updates

    Email

    Become a Facebook Fan

    Facebook

    Follow Us on Twitter

    Twitter

    RSS Feed

    RSS

    Questions + Comments

    For questions about the Rochester Subway Poster or about your order, please email info@rochestersubway.com.

    Want to SAVE Shipping Costs?
    Buy the Subway Posters at these local shops...

    About the Rochester Subway Poster...

    ¤ Black Radish Studio [ ...map it ]
    ¤ Parkleigh [ ...map it ]
    ¤ Poster Art [ ...map it ]
    ¤ Rochester Public Library Store [ ...map it ]

    ¤ Rochester Subway Poster Press Release
    ¤ Article by Otto M. Vondrak
    ¤ Design by Mike Governale

    More About The Rochester Subway

    Help Support...

    ¤ Rochester Subway (Wikipedia)
    ¤ The End of the Line - Rochester's Subway, DVD
    ¤ Abandoned Subway Photos (Opacity.us)
    ¤ Walking the Rails (YouTube Video)

    ¤ Friends of RochesterSubway.com