Brindisi and the Office of Mental Health announce fourth year of tours of historic Old Main Building in Utica

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi

Brindisi and the Office of Mental Health announce fourth year of tours of historic Old Main Building in Utica

Tours will highlight the history of Old Main and the former Utica State Hospital

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi today announced that the New York State Office of Mental Health will once again be providing free educational tours of the historic Old Main Building at Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center in Utica this spring. The tours, provided with assistance from the Landmarks Society of Greater Utica, will focus on the history of the National Register of Historic Places-listed building and the formative role it played in America’s early mental health system.

These tours, scheduled for Friday, June 8, 2018, will take place every fifteen minutes from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Individuals interested in touring the building are asked to register in advance, and tour group sizes are limited to 25 people. A total of 500 individuals will be able to tour the building on this date.

“Old Main is one of the historic treasures of the Mohawk Valley area. The landmark is not just a major former employer of our region, it was the birthplace of the modern mental health treatment system. I am proud to have worked with the State Office of Mental Health, the Landmarks Society, and other organizations for several years to give the public a chance to see this breathtaking building, and learn about its history. If you haven’t had a chance to tour Old Main, I urge you to make a reservation,” Brindisi said.

“The Office of Mental Health is excited to once again provide this opportunity to visit the historic Old Main Building in Utica. The tours highlight the magnificently preserved architecture of the building, and the evolution of New York’s public mental health system. It’s a tour worth taking,” said New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan.

Built in 1843, Old Main was the first publicly-funded facility to treat mentally ill individuals in New York State. Designed by William Clark, Old Main was one of the finest examples of Greek Revival Architecture of its time and to this day, and its iconic columns are reportedly the largest outside of Greece. In 1971, the building was placed on the National Register for Historic Places.

“This monumental structure is also a National Historic Landmark, which is the highest designation a building of this type can attain.  It has achieved this status by virtue of its architectural significance as well as its undeniable place in the history of the public treatment of mental health in New York and the United States.  Very few buildings are invited to rise to the level of an NHL, and it is one of only two in the City of Utica, the other being the Miller-Conkling-Kernan House at #3 Rutger Park.  The Landmarks Society is honored to continue this tradition of public tours with the NYS OMH and with MVPC,” said Michael Bosak, Vice President of the Landmarks Society of Greater Utica.

Interested individuals are asked to make reservations by June 3 by emailing OldMainTours@omh.ny.gov. Anyone requesting a tour is asked to include the names of all individuals interested in the tour; the time of interest; organization or school affiliation if any; and any special arrangements for wheelchair access, if necessary. Please note, your reservation does not guarantee a time slot. There may be instances where individuals will need to wait for the next scheduled tour to begin.

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