Asylum staff was unable to keep up with the rapidly burgeoning number of patients, and the conditions of the facility deteriorated drastically. Patients were stuffed into rooms that were designed for just one person, and the farm and dairy works were too small to feed everyone. The patients began to starve and become even sicker. By the late 1930s, the asylum was trying to operate at over six times its capacity, and orderlies couldn’t control the inhabitants, who were mostly made up of drug addicts, alcoholics, epileptics, and people with intellectual disabilities.
Remember, this giant building was only meant to house 250 people. By 1950, there were more than 2,600 patients crammed into the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Rumors of the conditions of the asylum flew, and a team of investigators from the Charleston Gazette visited the asylum for some juicy material for their latest expose. What they found was shocking.