The complex of the Rochester Psychiatric Center (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…
This is probably the most intimidating building in all of Rochester. The 16-story Terrence Building was once heralded as a “tower of hope” for the mentally ill (see this blog post ). Today the vacant structure looms over Elmwood Avenue and the Rochester Psychiatric Center campus like a nightmare. The Elmwood psych center campus was originally constructed as the Rochester State Hospital. This state-run mental hospital took over responsibilities from the Monroe County Insane Asylum in 1891. The Terrence Building was opened in 1959 and housed over 1,000 beds until 1995 when the last patients were moved to newer facilities elsewhere on the campus.
If you’ve ever wondered what’s inside, you’d not be alone. One RocSubway reader (who wishes to remain anonymous) found a way into the secured building. He submitted several photos, along with this written account of his expedition. Be sure to watch the related video at the end of this post to learn more about the Terrence Building…
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
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public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.