American photographer Johnny Joo hails from Ohio and has published a book, Empty Spaces, on America’s abandoned places. At just 24 years old, he began photographing abandoned spaces at just 16 years old. Fubiz recently shared his photographs of the abandoned J.N. Adams Memorial Hospital for tuberculosis patients in Perrysburg, New York off Lake Erie, south of Buffalo. What’s interesting about these photos, in addition to the abandoned nature which makes them visually fascinating, is how the architecture reflects so many of the medical beliefs of the time period.
Like we showed in the photographs from the abandoned Ellis Island hospital complex, it was believed that corners allowed disease to fester so there were only rounded corners in the hospital. You can see this in the rotunda space above, a stained glass dining hall.
Curved hallways were also a popular architectural practice in these types of hospitals at the time. According to The Kingston Lounge, curved hallways had two purposes. First, “their curvature made it impossible to place beds in the connector hallways, which was a common practice at overcrowded hospitals of the era. At the same time, it allowed a greater level of supervision, as doctors and nurses could easily traverse the entire length of the complex, while orderlies and patients could be confined to a single ward.”
The warp-around exterior porches were also part of the health effort, as it was believed that the fresh, country air would benefit the patients. Built between 1909 and 1912, the campus was set on 649 acres of land with a hilltop view down to Lake Erie.
Like many historical sites like this, it’s amazing to discover that it was listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places in 1985, and it’s eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. At some point, structures like this become abandoned beyond repair and so unstable they warrant demolition, sometimes the ideal result for building owners and governments who do not have or unwilling to find the funds for restoration.
Enjoy the rest of the photo set by Johnny Joo:
Next, read about NYC’s abandoned hospitals and asylums.