Erie County Almshouse and Insane Asylum
The Almshouse built on this site in 1850 had its beginnings in an 1829 facility near the Village of Black Rock, by then deemed insufficient. Fires were a recurrent problem, forcing frequent reconstruction. A Maternity Hospital, for the entire county, was later added, as were "Pest Houses" for the isolation of tuberculosis sufferers during the epidemics. The oldest surviving building, now UB's Hayes Hall, was built in 1874 as an insane asylum (at which time the larger Buffalo State Hospital was under construction). Conditions for the insane tended, unfortunately, to be abysmal, with inmates routinely “shackled to the walls and tied to furniture,” no actual medical treatment and high mortality rates (Dowdall 54). In 1894 the insane population transferred to BSH, and the insane asylum then became a hospital. Purchased by UB in 1909, it was fully renovated by 1929.
Sources: George Dowdall, "The Eclipse of the State Mental Hospital;" Lynn Beman & Elizabeth Marotta, "On the Edge of Town"
Dec 10, 2007