The crew at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum takes the opportunity each winter season to keep up on needed repairs inside the enormous building.
The clock tower at the top of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum has been the centerpiece of the building for years. And after plenty of restoration efforts, the tower has gone from weathered and damaged to painted, refreshed, and restored to its original look. And winter is the perfect season to keep up restoration in other parts of the asylum.
"During each winter, we're able to do most of our interior preservation and renovation work and restoration work, for instance, this winter, we're working on restoring all the windows in the facility," said Operations Manager Rebecca Jordan Gleason.
And that is no small task. The building has more than 900 windows, and each window pane will need to be replaced individually. Each window has a different number of panes, but at minimum, it comes out to more than 22,000 pieces of glass to replace. Workers at the asylum said even though it's hard work, they enjoy working on a project that's appreciated by so many.
"There's not really a better sense of job satisfaction other than people appreciating it and literally seeing it go from nothing to something," said Jake Rich, who works with the asylum year round, including helping with the Haunted House around Halloween.
The building is so old, many of the techniques used to build it aren't well-known anymore, and it makes the efforts that much harder to complete.
"This isn't something that, you know, anybody of today is going to really know, step off the bus, or out of school and know how to do. These are all trades that were learned 150 years ago, not today," said Gleason.
There's always work to do at the asylum, and Gleason said that provides a big benefit to the county's economy, as they always have some project in the works.