One of Brownsville’s strangest and most popular tourist attractions is disappearing from the landscape.
The long-abandoned and severely neglected Brownsville General Hospital is being demolished by Fayette County as it deals with a blight problem in the Mon Valley borough.
“It’s a sad day for our town,” said Norma Ryan, a local historian and former mayor.
“It brought many, many people to this town,” Ryan said.
Many people have been arrested over the years for sneaking into the sprawling building to hunt for ghosts or to take photos or shoot videos of its state of disrepair.
Ryan said the hospital has a huge following, too, on social media.
Kari Miller of Lancaster is among those who have been drawn to Brownsville and its old hospital because of her fascination of architecture.
Miller said the hospital was “frozen” in time with some rooms still containing beds, walkers and records.
“I just love the building, the architecture and the buff-colored brick,” said Miller, who is working with local officials for a photo book of the borough.
She said the hospital was constructed between 1912 and 1916 and closed in 1965. It later served as a personal care home until being abandoned in 1984.
The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Fayette awarded a $150,000 contract this month to Ritenour & Sons of Connellsville to tear down the building at Fifth Avenue and Church Street, said Andrew French, its executive director.
He said portions of the building had collapsed and many people in the neighborhood wanted it to be demolished.
“People were still sneaking into it,” French said.
He said the building fell into the county’s repository of unsold property after no one bought the property at tax sales.