The Baber Building was part of the now-demolished Longview State Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Longview opened in 1860 near Paddock Road in Carthage along the Miami & Erie Canal and was built to accommodate 400 mentally ill patients. Just 30 years later, the institution held more than 800 persons and was severely overcrowded. New wards constructed in the 1890s increased the capacity to 955 but did little to relieve the influx of new patients that flooded the complex daily. Additional buildings were built for another 500 patients when the state of Ohio took over operations of Longview in 1927, but by 1953, the hospital featured 3,568 patients with only 1,831 beds and was severely understaffed.

With the advent of mind-altering drugs by the middle of the 1950s, many patients were able to seek out medicine to curb some, if not all of their mental illnesses. Additionally, community support strategies, such as intensive case management, day hospital treatment and residential care programs, lessened the need for state hospital complexes. By 1987, Longview had just 401 residents.

The Baber Building, also referred to as the Administration Building, was a surplus structure that was no longer needed due to the reduction in patients. It’s imposing stance, with its barred windows and intensive brick construction, was a reminder of Longview’s rather turbulent past. It was razed in 1978 after years of disuse.

Source: Cincinnati Preservation Association. For educational purposes only.