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Preston Interview page 6

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John- What are thoughts now that the hospital is gone and destroyed?
Preston- It's sad no question about it. The architecture of those buildings was absolutely incredible. In some of those outside walls there were six layers of brick. The beams up in the attic had wooden pegs. The slate roofs, the granite just unbelievable craftsmanship. I never thought they'd tear it down. When it made it on the National Historic Register I thought it was safe.


J- Will you visit once construction is completed?
P- I've been up there already. On a recent trip back from Maine, I swung up there to see if I could look around and they let me.

J- What did you think?
P- Well, I tell ya. I didn't recognize a thing. That's not DSH anymore. The only building that was still there was the old screen house building which used to be the old engineering cottage. That along with the water tower. They wouldn't let me around the other side to see front & center (admin). And the lower grounds, all those buildings are gone. For many years I worked out of the old famer's cottage and that's no longer there. It's sad and very very strange. You could never replicate a place like that again. Never.

J- Did you have final thoughts? Anything you'd like to say?
P- Again, what I'd like to reiterate is that the hospital was a great place. Sure some bad things happened, that goes without saying. Any hospital of that size you're bound to have some things go wrong. I don't deny that. But the horror stories, ghost stories are exaggerated. I've been up there all hour's of the night. During every storm day and night you name it. Sometimes 2, 3, 4 in the morning whatever it took. I even stayed overnight occasionally and what I saw was great care for the patients. It was all about the patients. And most of them loved being there. It was home. Like I mentioned before, they had concerts, movies, arts & crafts, music lessons. At Christmas time it was always open house. Anyone was welcome. You didn't even have to work there or know anyone. You could walk right in and stay and many people did. It really bothers me when people say it was a snake pit because it really wasn't.

J- If the hospital opened tomorrow, would you go back?
P- Oh without a doubt. Absolutely. Wouldn't even think twice about. I miss it.

 

Preston's farewell card. Signed by the staff. The truck was drawn by a DSH patient. ©John Gray

 


 

 

J- Thank you for sharing your story. I really apprecaite it.
P- You're very welcome. Good luck with the website. It brings back memories.

 

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This interview was recorded then written for this web site. The statements Preston made were not altered or changed to dramatize his story.