Asylum's renaming insults advocates
By VICKI SMITH, Associated Press Writer Fri Mar 21, 10:21 AM ET
WESTON, W.Va. - It's an intriguing and provocative name that translates to Web hits, phone calls and tour tickets: the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.
To some, the title acknowledges history by readopting one of the many names previously held by the long-vacant, 19th century mental institution known most recently as Weston Hospital.
But others say the new owners of the massive Gothic Revival hospital have gone too far, disparaging the suffering of former patients and reopening wounds with planned events like "Psyco Path" dirt bike races on the grounds.
They say words like "lunatic" and "retarded" have gone the way of "colored" and "Negro" and should never be resurrected.
"It's like turning back the clock to a time we don't want to go back to," said Ann McDaniel, executive director of the Statewide Independent Living Council, one of several mental health advocacy groups to object. "I think they could still do what they want to do without being offensive."