Embreeville opened in 1798 as Chester County Almshouse. It was originally used for the poor, neglected and "insane". It then developed into a facility for people without disabilities to do chores to earn their stay there. Some of the chores included farming, sewing, laundry and more. Chester County purchased the Almhouse in 1914 to transform it into a state hospital. Patients from the overcrowded Norris state hospital were transferred to the new Embreeville asylum. The Hospital was very progressive and had an "open door" policy, doors remained unlocked, and it was a very relaxing environment for patients. Unlike most hospitals where the state hospitals would become their permanent home, the hospital discharged most patients after 40 days, and 80% of patients who left the hospital went on to rebuild their lives. The hospital became state owned in 1938 and in the 1980's Pennsylvania decided to close most of their hospitals including this one.
The Norristown State Hospital has been open since the 1880's. Norristown was one of the first psychiatric hospitals to use the kirkbride plan to make sure patients got lots of air and light and also separates men and women in different wings. Wards with non-violet patients were usually left unlocked so patients could leave and roam the grounds during the day or do their work assignments. Jobs patients could do were Farming, Administration, Bakery, Billiard room, Boiler room, Bric-a-brac shop, Brush shop, Butcher, Carpenter shop, Dispensary, Garden, Kitchen, Laundry, Machinists, Mattress shop, News-room, Out-door improvement, Painters, Plasterers, Plumbers, Printing office, Scroll saw shop, Shoemakers, Stables, Store-rooms, Tailors, and Weavers. In 1897 a nursing school was also opened on the grounds as well as a nurses home, for all the nurses working at Norristown. At the height of the hospital in 1940 the hospital had 5,000 patients. During the 1930's and 1940's the hospital started treating patients with electro-shock therapy, insulin therapy, and lobotomies. Soon after, medications for mental illness started coming out, and the number of patients at psychiatric hospitals started to shrink. Norristown State Hospital is still open today, but only holds 150 patients, and most buildings lie abandoned.
A few fun facts about Norristown:
The film Silver Lining Playbook was also partially shot at Norristown.
Serial killer H.H Holmes was employed at the hospital but then quit after a few days
George Washington stayed on the grounds of Norristown in 1778
Was home to murders, John du pont, Sylvia Seegrist and Richard Griest
I think it might be hard to get in because the hospital is still active.
The J.W Cooper school was supposed to be opened in 1918, but then was used as a emergency temporary hospital during the flu epidemic, because the local hospital did not have enough room. The school was then opened the following year. The town was a mining town, so there were lots of residents, so many were educated at the school. J.W Closed in 1981 and opened a preschool until it closed in 1994. The school is very important to the residents, because most of them went to school at J.W, so they are trying to preserve the school.
They are now trying to repair the school, so I am guessing it is really hard to access.
Their isn't really any history on Birchwood. In 2014 a fugitive named Eric Matthew Frien hid in the abandoned resort during the man hunt for him.
When I went to Birchwood it was very easily accessible, but i've recently heard about plans of demolishing the buildings, and I also heard about the owner coming out with a gun when he saw trespassers.
Penn Hills was a honey moon resort that was closed in 2009. Penn hills first opened as a tavern, but then expanded into a hotel with over a 100 rooms. Penn hill includes a ski resort, golf course, ice rink, swimming pools, heart shaped hot tubs, heart shaped beds, archery and tennis. In 2009 the founder passed away and 2 months later Penn Hills was closed due to taxes.
The main building has been burned down and others have been demolished. Most buildings now have a huge fence around them, but there are a few accessible buildings.
The school was opened in 1826 as a house of refugee in Philadelphia and then broke off into a boys and girls school and moved to glen mills and was built in 1908. The school was founded in 1911 and was known as the "Glen Mills School Girls Department" but then in 1931 became separate and became Sleighton. The buildings include Evans House, John Sargent Admin building, Lincoln cottage, Harrison cottage, Robinson cottage, Dubois-Miller cottage, Lucretia Mott Cottage, Watson Cottage, Campbell Cottage, Washington Cottage, Debrah-Logan Cottage, Chapel, Falconer education center, Powerhouse, Cannery, Farm Office building, Stone barn, Clubhouse, Marie B. Lucky house, Stokes Barn and Cottage and Gym building. Sleighton was originally a farm school for girls but in the 60's it became no longer a farm school and in 1975 it became a co-ed school. The school closed in 2001 because of financial issues and has been abandoned since.
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Most buildings are closed off, but some are open like the chapel, gym and some of the cottages or farm houses.
Lynnewood hall was built between 1897 to 1900, and has 110 rooms and has one of the most important gilded age private art collections. The building is T shaped, and has 55 bedrooms, a ballroom big enough for 1,000 people, swimming pool, wine cellars, farm, carpentry and electrical power plant. Someone describing the mansion said "Dripping with silk, velvet, and gilded moldings, the rooms furnished with chairs from Louis XV's palace, Persian rugs, and Chinese pottery, the halls crammed with art by Raphael, Rembrandt, El Greco, Van Dyck, Donatello." The owner, Widener died at Lynnewood, when he was 80 in 1915. though he died after his son and grandson who both died on the titanic in 1912. Since Wiedener died to 1940, the Lynnewood was open to the public for them to see the art. In 1940, Joseph Wiedener donated over 2,000 pieces of the art to a museum. After 1940 the grounds were used for guard dog training. Though Lynnewood is vacant, it is owned now by the Korean Church of New York. They have tried to do things with the property, but there are zoning issues.
The building is not accessible, it has guard dogs, and large gates and fences, as seen in the video.
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Blue Horizon is a 1,346 seat boxing venue, and many magazines have voted it as the best boxing venue in the world, like The Ring Magazine, and Sports Illustrated. It was originally constructed as three four story houses in 1865. It was later renovated and all three buildings were combined. Later, Jimmy Toppi purchases the building in 1961 for $85,000. He then renamed it after the song "Beyond the Blue Horizon", from the film Monte Carlo. After doing more renovations, they started regular weekly boxing shows. A promoter Herman Taylor, hosted the first televised fights at blue horizon in 1963. In may 1966, there was a 10 round decision over Johnny Knight, and for 3 years, there were no more fights. In 1969 , promoter J.Rusell Peltz had his first fight. After the fight he started promoting weekly for Blue Horizon and it brought other great fighters to play at the ring like Matthew Saad Muhammed, Bernard Hopkins, Cyclone Hart, Tim Witherspoon, Willie Monroe, Boogaloo Watts, Sammy Goss, Jeff Chandler and Bennie Briscoe. Blue Horizon, Also was featured in the Rocky movies, for the fight scenes with Tommy Morrison. It was also featured in another filmed called Annapolis. The Blue Horizon closed due to tax problems, in 2010. By 2011, Blue Horizon, had been granted to help Mosaic Development Partners to build a 18 million dollar hotel and restaurant.In July 2013, they decided they would demolish the venue for a parking garage, and the plans were cancelled.
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You can go on the weekends, and knock on the left door, a man comes to the door, it may take a little while, for him to come to the door, he opens the door and you pay 20 dollars, and he takes you and you can take photographs for 30 minutes.