12 February 2009

Arkham and the joys of wikiality

(Cross-posted to LiveJournal)

While reading "Pickman's Model" on the train, I felt inspired to do some wiki-checking on certain endnotes I'd been reading. For one thing, I wanted hear more about Lovecraft's apparent inspiration for Arkham. Well, I live here, and that gives me a geeky jazz I can't quite describe without bouncing a little bit... But this is Arkham: the town. Arkham Asylum is another matter, the model for which is in another town that I frequent on a regular basis.

Danvers State Hospital 1893
Danvers State Hospital 1893

And, yes. That screams Arkham Asylum to me. All it needs is a gigantic menacing gate to go around its gigantic menacing exterior.

As I read the beginning of the wiki entry, I thought, I need to go see this in person! But then I kept reading ...

Due to budget cuts within the mental health system the hospital was closed in June 1992.

And then--

In December 2005, the property was sold to Avalon Bay Development. A lawsuit was filed to stave off the demolition of the hospital, including the Kirkbride building, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. However, this ultimately did not stop the process, and to some public outcry, demolition of most of the buildings began in January 2006, with the intent to build 497 apartments on the 77-acre (310,000 m2) site.

Danvers State Hospital 2006 demolition
Danvers State Hospital 2006 demolition

Say it with me: "Argh!"

Oh! And THEN:

... On April 7, 2007, four of the new apartment complex buildings and four of Avalon bay's construction trailers burned down in a large fire visible from Boston, some seventeen miles (27 km) away. The mysterious conflagration was confined mostly to the buildings under construction on the eastern end, with damage to the remaining Kirkbride spires from catching fire due to excessive heat. An investigation is underway concerning the cause of the fire. Avalon Bay provided a live webcam of the construction at the old site of the hospital at their website; however, the pictures cut out at approximately 2:03 AM the night of the fire, and the webcam was disabled, possibly due to the fire.

So that was a little weird. But, anyway, now it's an apartment complex:

Avalon Danvers October 2007
Avalon Danvers October 2007

I hope it's haunted.

Turn the page ...