Siegel issues statement on significance of ceremony for former state hospital

HARRISBURG, May 3 – Following the Pennsylvania Museum and Historical Commission’s acknowledgment of the former Allentown State Hospital, state Rep. Josh Siegel issued the below statement:

“Today, I had the honor to attend the ceremony of the Pennsylvania Museum and Historical Commission’s recognition of the former Allentown State Hospital for its significance in the history of our great commonwealth.

“I’m particularly struck by the significance of this site, both its past and future, and what it represents for the city of Allentown and our community. The Allentown State Hospital remains a point of pride not just for former employees, but all residents, for its emphasis on compassionate treatment of those who experienced severe mental illness, by establishing treatments founded on respect and dignity and doing away with outdated practices of seclusion that isolated and dehumanized those most in need.

“The State Hospital represented a historic departure from failed medical approaches. Its future rebirth as the Northridge development represents an equally historic contribution in that it represents a new way of building community that will also fight isolation by creating a walkable and accessible community where seniors and families will be near health care, shopping and natural beauty and community and interaction will flourish in public spaces.

“In a short time, the State Hospital grounds will yet again be a new symbol of economic potential and community. Allentown should take pride that this land will again find a new purpose that future generations can admire and look to, like those who gathered here today to recognize the State Hospital as a powerful symbol.”