This is another another South Bay sneaky sneak, that was under my nose the whole time.
Its frivolous things like time to explore or the ability to research explores that I ask the question of why does the day-to-day seem so demanding. But what can you do. I feel lucky that I was able to get in there and take a look around.

Construction crews here were active and security is/was pretty vigilant making my time there shorter than I would have liked. The time spent however did give me the chills a couple times and because the history of this place just grabs your imagination runs wild.

**Disclaimer most places I will not mention the name outright as it would be to easy for other to find (that’s half the fun) and once folks to find out spot blow up and quickly become inaccessible. I will give as much detail as possible however that if you google enough you can put the pieces together. I digress.

The “Great Asylum for the Insane” was established in 1885 after the State of California found it increasing difficult in locking up the mentally unstable patients in various prisons. A massive complex was created that could house hundreds, and eventually thousands.

This building complex however collapsed during the 1906 Great San Francisco Earthquake with great loss of life. “Early in the morning on April 18, 1906, all of the hospital’s buildings were rendered useless when the Great Earthquake struck … The earth opened and closed and the land on the eastern side shifted 16 feet to the north,” says Lorie Garcia, honorary city historian and author. Afterwards, the superintendent Leonard Stocking, eager to try out new progressive ideas (such as the idea that patients could be treated instead of just locked up), changed the Complex into a “cottage” arrangement, with patients living in individual cottages and treatment in separate buildings to be more comfortable to the patients. This arrangement worked well until the 1970s, when mental health reforms began to decrease the use of mental asylums altogether. The complex was closed in 1996 and purchased from the state by Sun Microsystems, which established its headquarters here. Which is now owned by Oracle.

It could be urban legend but there is talk that there was quite a bit of shock therapy and lobotomies performed here as well as a few mass graves beyond the one for those who perished in the earthquake. Based on the photos and some things I saw that were to dark to shoot, I’d say these rumors have some weight to them.

Nifty fact, the music video for the song “Basket Case” by Green Day was filmed here.

Not a great deal of photographs but enjoy.

Ian Lundie

Author Ian Lundie

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