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Cross posted to rural_ruin but more info here. OK, this post was kinda hard on me. Or rather the gathering of the images has been kinda hard on me. For most of my life I've been sensitive to spirits, particulalry unsettled ones. I've got my protection with me and I'm well grounded but it doesn't stop me from sensing things. There is this place in the next town over from where I work that I've wanted to shoot for awhile now. Supposedly it is one ofthe most haunted places in the state of Illinois and for good reason. The Bartonville Asylum for the Incurable Insane (later changed to Peoria State Hospital) was started in 1902 and continued operation until 1972 when it was closed for good. In that time over 70,000 persons with varying degres of mental or physical problems came through it's doors, some ending up eventually in unmarked, numbered or named graves in one of it's four cemeteries. A burial in the main cemetery is the subject of a famous haunting and you can read about that Here. The property has 700 acres and over 20 of the original 33 buildings still intact so it's a treasure trove for ruins hunters. My interest in it is somewhat personal. In the early part ofthe 20th century, there were 12 children born into my grandfather's family. 7 of them were born with some sort of mental of physical birth defect. 3 of them were taken to the State Hospital in Lincoln, IL and 4 of them were sent to the Bartonville facility and there is no record of them after that. They never came home again.

I was slightly obsessed with this place or at least taking photos of it. In all I took over 150 all on film. I won't subject you to all of them though. If you are sensitive at all to spirits, your senses will be on alert all the time when you are here. Not necessarily in a bad way but in the way that you feel you are constantly being watched. And you probably are. For me there was the added sensation of knowing you might be watched by long deceased relatives and wondering what they thought of me being there. The main building, the Bowen Building is sealed partly for liability reasons but mostly because of public health concerns over asbestos. The Power plant is likewise sealed by an EPA order. The old dining hall, kitchen and company store are accesible though NO TRESPASSING signs are everywhere. In fact, Wednesday on my second visit to the Hospital, my friend Matt and I were caught by the owner taking photos where we were not supposed to be. He wasn't too upset when he learned it was a couple guys nearing 40 and not some teenagers looking to spray grafiti everywhere. He talked to us for awhile and told us about all the ways they've caught people trying to break into the main building. Some even go so far as to bring bolt cutters and portable metal saws to cut through the sheet metal pannels on the windows. He did give us permission to poke around a little and photograph through windows and doors. Unfortunately there is really more to see on the outside than the inside. Vandals and curiosity seekers have torn the inside to shreds. I've seen photos taken by someone whose only goal it was to sneak into an abandoned place and the photos pretty much tell the story ofthe neglect the place has seen since it was closed. Anything of real value has been removed and grafiti covers the walls as you can see from some of the photos. I just don't get that kind of behaviour. To me it's as disrespectful to those that worked and or lived/died there as it would be to vandalize a cemetery. Just because a building is abandoned doesn't mean it shouldn't be preserved.

There will likely be another post on this as we have yet to locate two ofthe cemeteries. I'm going to try again this weekend after I drop Deb off to fly to Cali. So here is the result of all that poking around. Hope you enjoy.


PS- If you want to see all the photos, go to http://pinkcoyotedesigns.vip.warped.com/asylum/ and click on all the links there.

Approaching front of Bowen Building

1920's photo of Bowen

Present front of Bowen The porches were still there when it closed but fell to ruin in the 80's.

Central tower

Back corner

Full Back

Basement as shot through a completely dark hole in the foundation

Same room but to the left

Steps leading down from the front door

1st Floor Main hallway Shot between the bars and broken glass in a side door.

Side Door

Small front porch

Column Detail

From back retaining wall

Retaining Wall Detail

Windows and Eaves

Main kitchen and dining hall 1920's

Dining hall interior 1920's

Supply House interior 1920's

Main Kitchen & Dining Hall now

Interior now

From same angle as b/w

Stairs leading to top floor of Supply house

Top floor of Supply House

Empty elevator shaft in Supply house

Walk-in Cooler off Kitchen

Kitchen ceiling

Steam tunnel

Old Desk near Kitchen

Strange green mouldy bricks near kitchen

Light switch

Interior of Kitchen rooms

Looking back towards Bowen

Old Sink

Charred Timbers

Arched Doorway

Nuts and Bolts

Headstone in Main Cemetery That's the haunted ElmTree or Cemetery Elm behind it.

Buried Headstone

Oldest part of Main Cemetery Most of the stones are simply numbered but some of the ones with names go back to around 1916. The newest ones end in 1947. There are 4 cemeteries on the property.

Oldest Headstone in Main Cemetery

Newest section of Main Cemetery That is the Cemetery Elm standing there

Numbered Headstone in Main Cemetery

Oldest Cemetery Used from 1902 to about 1916

Soldier's Lot in Old Cemetery

Scattered Stones in Old Cemetery


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 24th, 2004 01:14 pm (UTC)
I would absolutely LOVE to go to a place such as that!!!
Sep. 24th, 2004 01:16 pm (UTC)
I'm sure you have them around you. You just need to dive into the history of your area. Bet if you told me your city again, I could find a few for you.

Sep. 25th, 2004 12:35 pm (UTC)
Okay. Here it is..

Gainesville, GA.

I actually live closer to Lula, GA, but I guess the outer perimeter of Gainesville is where I live. Lula, GA.....little hick town. Not too much around.
Sep. 24th, 2004 02:09 pm (UTC)
Thank You..
I had an immediate reaction to a few of them - it was interesting.. do you know if they ever filmed a movie there?? I've seen that Kitchen and the yellow bricks in a recent (last few years) movie - it all looked very familiar!! Thanks for taking the time to share those.. -Mystrys
Sep. 24th, 2004 02:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Thank You..
It wouldn't surprise me. The place has been featured in more than a few unsolved mysteries type of shows. But there are about a dozen or so institutions all over the US all built on the same model and using similar materials so chances are it could be somewhere else as well. Thanks for the comment.

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


Wander aka StoneBear
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