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Byberry State Hospital

Byberry State Hospital

by Hannah Karena Jones
Byberry State Hospital

Byberry State Hospital

by Hannah Karena Jones


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Looming on the outskirts of Philadelphia County since 1906, the mental hospital commonly known as "Byberry" stood abandoned for 16 years before being demolished in 2006.

Like many other mental hospitals and asylums of its time, Byberry began with the best of intentions. Despite having its own self-sustaining farm, bowling alleys, barbershop, ice cream parlor, post office, and baseball team, conditions in the hospital were abysmal and even compared to Nazi concentration camps. Throughout its history, the hospital served as an educational institution for Philadelphia's medical, nursing, and psychology students; was the site of a World War II Civilian Public Service conscientious objector unit; and a volunteering hot spot for local churches, schools, and Girl and Boy Scout troops, before becoming what it is most remembered for today. At its peak in the 1960s, Byberry was home to more than 6,000 patients and employer to more than 800, but now its only residents are ghosts and the urban explorers excited to take a risk in the desiccated husk of the hospital. This book provides an unprecedented window into the good, the bad, the unusual, and the forgotten history of Byberry.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780738599083
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date: 05/20/2013
Series: Images of America Series
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 1,113,827
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Hannah Karena Jones holds dual bachelor's degrees in history and creative writing from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and has presented her historical research at national Phi Alpha Theta and Collegiate Honors Council conferences. The images in this collection come from the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Philadelphia City Archives, Pennsylvania State Archives, the Special Collections Research Center of the Temple University Libraries, the Library Company of Philadelphia,, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the personal collections of former staff members, among others.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 6

Introduction 7

1 Farm and Hospital 9

2 The Facilities 19

3 The Patients 35

4 Life and Conditions 45

5 The Staff 61

6 Therapy and Treatment 79

7 Activities 93

8 Hospital and Community 111

9 Closing and Abandonment 123

Bibliography 127

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