First I must remark on the size of the space...its HUGE! It was an actual dairy barn with a long history as a property owned and operated by the local lunatic asylum. That's right sister, in case you did not know, Ohio University bought up the very large asylum properties and surrounding land where the dairy barn is today. The Dairy Barn is not associated with OU, but instead inhabits the very fringe at the bottom of what is today called "The Ridges". The barn was part of a much bigger complex that was originally built to help the"hospital" be self sufficient and also for the patients or residents to come over and help work the farm. Now, the "Ridges" complex houses several different departments for OU including the University's Museum.
The girls and I enjoyed tooling around town and exploring the nature trails that were dotted with several cemeteries. The oldest dated back to the late 1800's. That cemetery along with the second one we found only marked their dead with very modest headstones with only their patient number carved in to the stone. The third grave site however, had actual names and dates carved into low set stones. From the literature, it wasn't until the late 40's or early 50's that this practice became common for the institution. In the 60's and 70's, the asylum was falling into great disrepair and due to the size, it was difficult to continue the upkeep and was later shut down in the 1980's. There are still many unused and unusable buildings in this creepy collection. My wife and daughter wondered the whole time why they had not seen this place on one of their favorite ghost hunter shows.
Like I said, this was a fun weekend and it will be fodder for a few posts...Nelsonville and star bricks...The Kennedy Museum and the OU faculty show...so stay tuned gentle reader...more to come.