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The book The New York Lunatic Asylum at Utica: A History of Old Main (North Country Books, 2015) by Dennis Webster looks at the New York State Lunatic Asylum at Utica, also known as “Old Main,” which opened in 1843 as the first institution of its kind to treat “madness” as a medical illness, not a curse.
Although closed in 1978, the building was placed in the National Register of Historic Places, and its iconic columns still fascinate the public today.
The infamous Utica Crib was invented at the asylum, and visitors from around the world sought to tour the facility and its utopian structure. A series of groundbreaking administrators sought to save mentally ill New Yorkers from lives of confinement in sordid conditions and create a safe haven.
Dennis Webster is the author of Haunted Utica, Haunted Mohawk Valley, Wicked Mohawk Valley, and several other paranormal and true crime books.
Webster will discuss the history of the “Old Main” and the new edition of his book at the Oneida County History Center on Saturday, December 4th at 1 pm or virtually via Zoom. Those wishing to attend virtually can visit the History Center’s website.
Book Purchases made through this Amazon link support the New York Almanack’s mission to report new publications relevant to New York State.