Author and professional photographer, Heidi Johnson photographed and studied the site for 3 years from 1997 - 2000. Johnson's photographs of the institution today are juxtaposed with rare images from private collections and state archives. The photographs are augmented by powerful firsthand accounts of former staff members and patients that reveal both sad realities and surprising acts of kindness.
The book takes readers on a rare tour through a nineteenth century asylum. Of particular interest is the hospital's "Building 50", a four block long structure topped with twelve castle like spires that is now on the National Registry of Historic Places