Walking tours explore Athens Asylum

Photo Provided The Southeast Ohio History Center in Athens, Ohio, has several activities planned during the month of October at the historic Athens Asylum, including tours and an organ performance.

ATHENS, Ohio — A number of activities organized by the Southeast Ohio History Center and centered on the historic Athens Asylum are being held during the month of October in Athens.

Walking tours of the Athens Asylum have been expanded in October by the history center.

Asylum tours are scheduled for 4 p.m. Oct. 17, 3 p.m. Oct. 20, 2 p.m. Oct. 21, 4 p.m. Oct. 24 and at 4 p.m. on Halloween (Oct. 31).

The tour begins in front of the Kennedy Museum of Art, in front of the large Kirkbride Building of the Athens Asylum. George Eberts, long time Asylum employee and local expert on the Athens Asylum, will be leading an outdoor walking tour of the asylum grounds and buildings.

It is the last historic asylum complex still intact in the state of Ohio.

Photo Provided The Athens Asylum was established in 1868 in Athens, Ohio.

Tickets are $120 with a Southeast Ohio History Center membership or $15 each for 12 and over. Tickets must be purchased in advance online or at the History Center at 24 West State St. in Athens. More information and reservations are also available by calling 740-592-2280 or online at www.athenshistory.org.

In other program called “The Real Ghosts of the Athens Asylum” Eberts will be speaking at the history center on West State Street at 6 p.m. Oct. 18.

The final presentation of the Asylum Speaker Series is scheduled for Nov. 15. The event is free and open to the public through the support of Ohio Humanities and Ohio University. Additional support comes from BDT Architects and Designers, Athens City Historic Preservation Commission, and the Athens County Commissioners.

The Athens Asylum is consistently ranked near the top of the most haunted buildings in Ohio. Every year it draws thousands of visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of a ghost.

On Oct. 28, the Southeast Ohio History Center’s powerful pipe organ will sing out as renowned professional organist Dennis James performs the accompanying score of a classic silent film. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for a social hour, which will include hors d’oeuvres and drinks, a silent auction, and a dueling organ and piano concert.

Photo Provided Lin Hall and the Kennedy Museum once served as the administration building for the Athens Asylum.

The movie begins at 7 p.m. with a live auction taking place during the intermission. Tickets to the event are $50 for history center members and $60 for non-members.

This year’s film will be the 1920 classic “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” starring Hollywood’s legendary leading man, John Barrymore. The silent film captures Robert Louis Stephenson’s tale of an internally conflicted physician with a split-personality to end all split-personalities. Barrymore’s tour-de-force characterization will be accompanied by a solo organ score, performed by James, based on a historical compilation of published film music sources.

Photo Provided The Asylum Fountain which stood in front of the historic Athens Asylum.