The Babcock Building and other surrounding abandoned buildings of the South Carolina State Hospital reside on Pickens Street, Thomson Street, Mills Drive, Williams Drive and Chapel Drive in the city of Columbia, Richland County, South Carolina.
The South Carolina Lunatic Asylum was part of the Kirkbride Plan. Much of the South Carolina Lunatic Asylum began in the 1850’s with the Babcock Building being built in 1858. It was stylized in Italian Renaissance Revival architecture with parts being designed by George Walker, Gustavus Berg and Samuel Sloan. Funding for the Babcock Building and the South Carolina Lunatic Asylum were put on hold during the Civil War. The grounds were also known as Camp Asylum when prisoners of war were held at the hospital for a few months from the end 1864 – 1865. By the end of construction the Babcock Building did not include subterranean housing for patient, was heavily fireproofed, had gas lighting (for awhile), dining halls, operating rooms, wards, offices and staff dormitories.
The Babcock Building did not follow the typical Kirkbride design as the wings are not staggered. The reason for this is because head physician Dr. Trezevant showed that the staggering of the wards would prevent the ventilation needed for the rooms in the Souths warmer climate. He had also asked that the halls be fashioned in a single room manner as to allow for optimal ventilation and sun but they were instead built in a double sided way (rooms on both sides of the hall).
The hospital grew its own food, had a mattress factory, ice cream plant, carpenter shop, welding shop, bakery, many annexes, storage sheds, library, chapel and much more.
If you plan on a visit to the Babcock Building you might want to check the South Carolina DMH web page to make sure no law enforcement exercises and training are scheduled to take place on the grounds. It states on their site that visitation is allowed with permission but entry is not. DMH states that the buildings are slowly going for sale and to private ownership. The buildings are believed to be either renovated and re-purposed or will be demolished to make room for housing, shopping and a park. You can view the SC DMH Map of the hospital grounds HERE.
The pictures and a lot of the information within the article pertain mostly to the Babcock Building. Some of the massive complex of the South Carolina State Hospital has already been demolished. Different buildings were added at different times to the National Register of Historic Places, the Babcock Building was added in 1981.
where are the abandoned Babcock Building of the South Carolina State Hospital located? You can it with these coordinates. 34.016198,-81.031037
All images used and licensed under CC BY NC SA 2.0. All images by Ken Fager Dot Com / Flickr.