This photograph, taken at around the turn of the 20th Century, shows one of the Convalescent Wards in the "Female Department" (the south wing) of the Main Building at the Maryland Hospital for the Insane at Spring Grove.* The windows on the right side of the picture looked out towards the front of the building, while the doorways to the left (barely visible between the pictures on the wall) led to individual patient "chambers." Seen through the opened doorway at the center-left is what appears to be a china closet in the room that had originally been the ward's patient dining room. (In the 1890s most, if not all, the building's private dining rooms were converted to parlors or dormitories after larger "Refectories" were built elsewhere in the building.) The doorway seen to the center-right was the entrance to the ward from the public areas of the building. Note the gas chandeliers that have been converted to include electric lights. Electric light fixtures were first installed in the Main Building in 1896 -- in anticipation of the installation of an electric generator in the power house (today's laundry building) in 1897. Combination gas/electric lighting fixtures were common at the time, because electricity was not seen as dependable.
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