Those joining the guided tours at the former Willard Psychiatric Center on May 19 will have the chance to see the site of Chapin House, the hospital’s main building, which was demolished in 1995. The building was named after Dr. John B. Chapin, the center’s first physician superintendent.
Chapin House Completed in 1869
Visitors on this year’s tour will also have the chance to explore 10 buildings that were once part of the landmark hospital on Route 96A that began its history as the New York State Agricultural College in the Seneca County Town of Ovid. Grandview, Hadley Hall and Brookside will be recognized by those familiar with the center. An added feature is the Willard Cemetery, where 5,776 patients were buried from 1870 to 2000. Soon after the hospital’s closing in 1995, the property became home to the Willard Drug Treatment Campus.
Former Willard hospital employees and some current staff of the treatment campus will be available to answer questions and offer background during each of the three tours being offered at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Some may also discuss ghost sightings that have been the subject of television shows. Colleen Spellecy and others, who have spearheaded the effort to restore the cemetery adjacent to hospital grounds, will also be on hand
The two-hour tours will start at the Grandview building, built in 1860 and now used by the Finger Lakes Credit Union, will host local historical societies to also answer questions Cost of admission is $10 and children under 12 are free. A lunch of hamburgers or hotdogs will be available for $5. Parking is free. Advance sale tickets for the tour can be ordered by calling Carly Hungerford at (607) 869-5533.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Childcare Center, an accredited not-for-profit daycare center in the Jackson Building, a historic structure that once housed Willard’s School of Nursing.