The Pennhurst State School Page

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While the majority of the old Pennhurst campus has been taken over by the National Guard and the Veteran's Administration, the original cluster of buildings at the bottom of the hill stand unused slowly falling victim to the elements.

Pennhurst would have surely taken the same fate as Byberry were it not for it's modest separation from the city of Philadelphia and its reputedly effective security force. While certainly not impregnable, the security has caught enough teenage drinkers, vandals and partiers to give the place a protective reputation. Unfortunately, a few bits of graffiti have made their way onto the walls, by someone who, I suppose, is proud of themselves for fucking up these wonderful old buildings. Not surprisingly, several of the tags were from the same pre-adolescent delinquents who have taken it upon themselves to redecorate and destroy Byberry.

Architecturally the buildings are beautiful, decorated with a post Victorian modesty that allows the place to be vaguely inviting, yet still leaving no doubt as to its cold custodial purpose. The administration building, with its tarnished cupola, looks down upon the creek with a solemn majesty. It is the most ornate on campus, alone in having plaster scroll work and pillars to liven its interior.

The rest of the buildings are more clearly institutional, lined with glazed yellow brick and plain painted walls. Archways are rare in these buildings, and those that were allowed had been covered over by drop ceilings.