Willard Historical Tour set for May 17th

Elliot Hall is one of eight buildings that will be featured on this year’s annual historical tour on May 17 at the former Willard Psychiatric Center on Route 96A. The structure, built in 1931, was a medical hospital facility also used for admissions and named after the center’s longest running superintendent, Dr. Robert Elliot.“Dental facilities and some hospital procedures in Elliot Hall were offered to hospital employees and their families,” said tour organizer Lee Anne Fox. “It’s a sprawling building with several floors that visitors should find interesting.”The three-hour tours of the landmark grounds, now site of the Willard Drug Treatment Campus, which took over the property in 1995, will begin at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. sharp. Visitors should gather at the Grandview Building, built in 1860 and now used by the Finger Lakes Federal Credit Union, before the tours begin. Other buildings that will be recognized by those familiar with the site, which began its history in 1869 as the New York State Agricultural College, include Brookside, Bleak House, Hadley Hall and the Mortuary.Added to those structures, visitors will have the opportunity to check out the Romulus Historical Society building on the grounds and the Willard Cemetery where 5,776 Willard patients were buried from 1870 to 2000. An effort has been underway to restore the cemetery, which is adjacent to the former hospital site.Former Willard hospital employees will act as guides and be available to answer questions. Some may discuss ghost sightings that have been the subject of television shows.Cost of tour admission is $10 per person. Children under 12 years of age are free. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Child Care Center, an accredited not-for-profit daycare center in the Jackson Building, which once housed Willard’s School of Nursing and is also on the tour. Parking is free.

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