Binghamton’s Castle: Its History and Recent Developments


In conjunction with the current exhibition The New York State Inebriate Asylum and Other ‘Abandonscapes’ by A.D. Wheeler, the Binghamton University Art Museum will host a public talk at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22. The talk, titled “,” will be given by Roger Luther of the Broome County Historical Society. The event is free and open to the public. For more information on the exhibition, go online.

The New York State Inebriate Asylum, later known as Binghamton State Hospital, and also known as “the Castle” was the first institution designed and constructed to treat alcoholism as a mental disorder. This institution owes its origin mainly to the energy of Dr. J. Edward Turner, and is the first of the kind ever established in the world. It is founded on the theory that inebriety, like insanity, is a disease, requiring like that, for its cure, medical and moral treatment.

Its imposing Gothic Revival exterior was designed by New York architect Isaac G. Perry, who also designed the State Capitol, and construction was completed in 1864. In 1993 the main building was closed due to safety concerns. The asylum appears on both the state and national lists of Historic Places. The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1997. n April, 2008, New York State’s Legislature allocated $12.45 million for phase one of the Castle renovation.

In 2015, Binghamton University announced it had taken stewardship of the building and will proceed with plans for rehabilitation of the building. “Being stewards means that we have to recommend what that money is used for short-term and long-term, to make sure any end use is possible,” Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger said. The University will first develop engineering plans to ensure that the building is structurally sound, Stenger said. That repair process will likely take six months. The following six to 12 months provide time to conceive uses for the Castle.