On Saturday, July 26, 2008, marking the 180th year
since Western State first opened its doors to
patients, ex-patient members of Northwest Peer
Connect, hospital officials, and others impacted
by the hospital officially launched the Western
State Hospital Memorial Project to restore the
cemeteries connected to the old Western State
Hospital grounds. The old Western State Hospital building and campus, formerly
a minimum security prison, are presently slated to be
turned into condominiums and mixed use property.|
A few days before the event, members of the Memorial Project committee spoke with Ken Slack of Channel 29 News about the upcoming event. At the launch reporters were present from the Richmond Times Dispatch, the Staunton Newsleader, and Channel 3 News. The event was covered by an article in the Sunday Richmond Times Dispatch authored by Carlos Santos. Reports also appeared in a Staunton Newspaper, and on the television news in Harrisonburg and the Valley.
Hospital employees, former patients, and present patients of the hospital spoke about the reasons they have for needing to restore the cemetery. Relatives of former employees and ex-patients spoke on the importance of showing our respect for those who might not have had the proper respect shown for them in life.
After the ceremony a number of those attending drove off to have lunch at the buffet in a local Chinese restaurant. The food was felt to be very good indeed, and a fitting end to an exhilerating morning.
You can click the link below to read about the event.