Halloween seems to be the appropriate day to go back to my older portfolio of paintings and post an image of this canvas, completed in 1991 when I was still living in Maryland. The subject is the remains of the main building on the grounds of the Laurel Sanitarium, an early 20th century mental hospital and farm that once operated in my hometown of Laurel, MD.
When I was young I lived on a street that bounded the sanitarium grounds. In 1964 the entire complex was razed in a controlled burn. My family sat in our front yard and watched as each structure was purposely set on fire. For six years after that day, the ruins stood empty and crumbling, and were easily accessible to me and my friends. My sister and I especially loved to ride our bikes on the old driveways and explore the derelict buildings, making up creepy stories about what might have taken place behind its walls.
In 1970 the grounds were finally bull-dozed over and a large department store and shopping center addition were built on the site. Over the years several apartments and housing complexes were constructed nearby, and today nothing remains that would ever indicate it even existed. This link, however, includes two photos of the sanitarium buildings circa 1910-1914. It was quite a bucolic setting in its heyday.
"Ruins of the Old Laurel Sanitarium." Oil on stretched canvas, 18 x 24 inches. Completed December 1991.