“People are able to come in, and really step back in time.”

Back in time to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Started in 1858, the massive 9 acre 242 square foot facility was completed 23 years later and still stands as the second largest hand-cut blue sand stone facility in the world.

“Originally the stone was being hauled from Mount Claire by oxen and horse and the West Fork river has the exact same hand cut blue sandstone, so we were able to mine the rest of that stone from right across the street,” said Operations Manager Rebecca Jordan-Gleason.

Before builders could complete construction, the Civil War impeded the process. The Asylum became the Union Army’s Camp Tyler. From the lawn, the Union army would steal gold from the Confederates.

“They came into town late that evening, they camped on the Asylum property, they woke up around 6:00 in the morning, went over to the bank, and they robbed that bank of $27,000,” said Jordan-Gleason. They turned around and they took that $27,000 in gold to Independence Hall in Wheeling West Virginia, and that money along with money from Pierpont and Lincoln formed the state of West Virginia from Virginia.”

After the Civil War was when the town of Weston really began to be built up around the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and it became a place for the doctors, nurses, other workers and their family to live.

Weston grew to 4,000 people, and the Asylum housed 700 workers and 2,600 patients at it’s peak in the 1950’s. After closing in 1994, it was purchased again in 2007.

“We had no idea really what it was gonna take. Scraping on walls and you’re trying to get down to the lowest color of the paint. We use as much of the original materials as we possibly can. You’ll notice the archways, we’re able to recreate those,” said Jordan-Gleason.

Now the Asylum stays open to educate the public. Although it’s gotten a reputation for paranormal activity, the true heart and soul is in the history.

“You can be into paranormal all you want, but unless you come and actually experience I mean the life that was lived in here, what it was supposed to be, what it turned into, that’s the true aura I believe of the place.”