The Old State Hospital is an abandoned hospital in my hometown. My family actually owned the building closest to the Bowen Building of the hospital for decades, so I have always been fascinated with it.
Founded as the Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane, the Peoria State Hospital began construction in 1895 with the main building being completed in 1897. Reconstruction was completed in 1902 by Dr. George Zeller, who had taken over and was well known for allowing tours of the hospital to promote better understanding of the lives of the mentally ill. At its peak, the hospital housed 2,800 patients but it only housed 600 when it closed in 1972.
As with most creepy hospitals that sit abandoned, it is pretty famous for its ghost stories and we were even on Ghost Hunters once for it! The most popular legend is of Old Book - a patient named Manual Bookbinder who worked with the burial crew until his death. Its said that Old Book would attend every funeral at the hospital even if he didn’t have to dig, standing under a tree and crying for the deceased after each one. He is said to have appeared under the Elm tree at his own funeral in 1910 like he did with every other one, apparently seen by Dr. Zeller himself and over a hundred of the patients and nurses who were there. People claimed to hear crying from the tree each time they passed, and workers who tried to remove it were unable to do so because the crying rattled them so bad until one day, the tree was struck by lightning and removed (by my dad and his friends!)