Origins of Buffalo’s mental health treatment
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 | Eileen Buckley, WBFO
Caring for the mentally ill in an institutional setting began in the Buffalo in the late 1800s at what was once the Buffalo State Asylum at Forest and Elmwood avenues. As part of our Mental Health Reporting Initiative, WBFO senior reporter Eileen Buckley explores the origins of the massive Richardson Olmsted Complex, built as a place of healing for the mentally ill.
Standing on the lawn in front of the large, iconic Richardson Towers, visitors to the Hotel Henry were enjoying a sunny day taking photos. Those towers now symbolize renovation and renewal of Buffalo’s historic past.
“It was originally built in 1872 as the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane and the word Asylum then had a very different meaning then it has now,” said Corey Fabian Borenstein, the manager of Visitor Experiences at Richardson Olmsted Campus. "Asylum was a safe place - a good warm place that you could take you loved ones. Today when you hear insane asylum it sounds a little scary, but that was absolutely not the intention behind that building.”