Haunting Photos Inside An Abandoned Chester County Asylum

Hidden some 40 miles west of Philadelphia, sits the sprawling 225-acre campus of the abandoned Embreeville State hospital. Take a haunting tour.

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Chaz Pozzi
Embreeville State Hospital was originally constructed as the Chester County Almshouse in 1800, intended for care of the insane, poor and neglected residents of Chester County.
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Beginning in 1898, the facility transitioned into a working community where able-bodied people worked to earn their keep. At the same time, the site provided for growing needs of the local destitute.
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Chaz Pozzi
By 1900, patients from nearby Norristown State Hospital were brought to Embreeville asylum, which was functioning semi-autonomously. New buildings were built on the sprawling grounds to accommodate the growing population.
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Chaz Pozzi
The state officially took over the asylum from Chester County in 1914.
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Chaz Pozzi
It took until 1938 for the state to take full control of the facility which then began serving patients from Lancaster and Chester Counties.
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Chaz Pozzi
At maximum capacity, Embreeville was home to 300 patients in 1947.
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A Gettysburg Times article from 1966 reported that the hospital was lauded for its work. It was cited by the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association for Mental Health as one of three "model hospitals" of its type in the Country.
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Chaz Pozzi
At the time, Embreeville was lauded for its low rate of return and for 90% of patients who were able to leave the facility within a year.
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Embreeville was also known for it's "open ward" policy which meant patients weren't secluded and doors in the facility stayed unlocked.
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Chaz Pozzi
From 1971 to 1992, a juvenile detention center was housed in some of the buildings.
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Embreeville closed its doors in 1980.
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The site was sold in 2010, but plans for the location remain in limbo as developers seek zoning changes.
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