A Historic Perspective – St. E’s Walking Tour

DCPL and GSA hold monthly two-hour walking tours of St. Elizabeth’s West Campus that are free and open to the public. The campus, where construction began in 1852, is a National Historic Landmark.

I went on one of the walking tours and learned so much about the campus, its history and the plans for the future.  It was a great tour.

The photo below is of what will be the main building. The front will be the ceremonial entrance for the DHS Secretary. In it’s former life, this building was home to the Superintendent of the mental hospital. The Superintendent lived and worked in this building and it was laid out so that the more mentally disturbed the patients were, the further they were from the hearth of the building (where his office was).

The second floor housed Ezra Pound (wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezra_Pound). The story goes that the Superintendent liked having him around so each time he was up for rectification as insane, he would be declared crazy to keep him around.

Tours of the St. Elizabeth’s campus will not be offered through the winter months and are expected to begin again in March 2011, depending on the course of construction activity. Contact the DC Preservation league for more information: http://www.dcpreservation.org/index.html.


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