About the Location
Where South Avenue meets Elmwood Avenue - on the southern edge of the Azalea Neighborhood - is a large block of property that is occupied by Rochester Psychiatric Center, The Al Sigl Center Wolk Campus, Rochester Science Park, the John L. Norris Addiction Treatment Center and a number of other smaller industrial buildings and healthcare facilities. A notable feature about this property is the number of large abandoned buildings it contains, the most prominent being the 17-story Terrence Building (a former part of the Rochester State Hospital) and the sprawling Walters Building (part of the former Psychiatric Hospital). For more information about the active parts of the campus, please visit their respective articles above, otherwise, continue reading for information about the many abandoned buildings you can find on this property.
The Abandoned Psychiatric Hospital
The abandoned psychiatric hospital consists of several buildings on the campus, including the massive Terrence Building and Walters Building. The buildings are well-secured, but while security patrols the campus regularly, they will not stop you from walking around the buildings or taking pictures. They are mostly there to protect the active parts of the campus and to prevent people from trespassing onto "sensitive" areas, like the Forensic Center, Norris Rehab Center, or the Landmark Industries buildings. These buildings are located near the center of the campus and are painted a creamy-white. If you are caught taking pictures of or intruding upon these facilities, you will be removed from the property, so it is best to avoid them completely.
On the northernmost side of the campus, down Elmwood Avenue, you will see the Terrence Building and its adjacent parking lot which is in use by the University of Rochester as auxiliary parking; there is typically a parking officer from U. of R. sitting in a van in the lot. The Science Building is a 17-story office-type building that is well-secured but has some fairly interesting features. On the right side of the main entrance, there is an engraving indicating that the building was once the part of the Rochester Hospital, which seems to have been moved to the new building directly to the west of the Terrence Building.
Towards the southern side of the campus and just south of the Forensic Center is the abandoned Walters Building, which is what seems to have been the original psychiatric center. Like most of the other buildings on campus, it is well secured and entrance would require force. Again, security guards patrol the area but don't mind visitors walking around and looking.
There are several other smaller abandoned and semi-abandoned buildings on the property, including a factory/warehouse of some sort and a large house at 1850 South Ave. One particularly strange feature of the property is the Epileptic Gorilla statue that is located within the Al Sigl Center campus. Be sure to check this out if you have the chance.
A former RIT student, Jennifer Kunz, photographed some of the abandoned RPS buildings. Unfortunately, the pages have been taken down by RIT since her graduation. Some of them are still accessible via the Wayback Machine:
There are also several photos of the psychiatric center on her website.
Other Photos of the Campus
Map of Insane Asylum, Almshouse, & Penitentiary. This map illustrates the original location of the County's facilities for the mentally ill. The notations at the bottom of the map refer to excavations made in 1984 when Highland Park was expanded, described in detail by our Highland Cemetery page.
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2008-04-27 11:27:53 so I just found out that the big building is in fact called the "Terrence Building" and not the "Science Building". please ignore the map where it
says "science building"; if I get the chance to I'll try to update that. —TonyFolenta
2008-12-11 12:25:42 The Terrance Building is, by far, the creepiest building I have ever seen. The large transmitter(?) on the top was most assuredly used for mind control experiments and/or disintegrating dead psychos. It should be the setting of the next Silent Hill movie. On a side note, I may have the opportunity to enter this building (and the creepy concrete garage structure to the east of it) as part of an structural investigation. If I get pictures, I will post them. —BatGuano
2008-12-12 19:22:32 South and Elmwood has to be one of the worst intersections in the city at rush hour.
I used to live a few blocks from there, its a shame that building is sitting there out of use. Although some of the older buildings on South in between Elmwood and East Henrietta are pretty cool looking. —JohnJoseph
2009-05-12 18:49:47 It was, as of recently, possible to enter the Terrence building without breaking anything - someone bent up the corner of a chainlink fence covering one boarded-up door (and removed the door). I'm a large guy and I was able to squeeze in. Later inspection has seen this hole closed (padlock + chain holding the hole shut).
Rumor has it that the security here has been seriously stepped up recently as well, though I can't confirm that myself.
By the way, it is incredibly cool inside, and the view from the roof rocks. —macman5151
2009-08-04 11:46:33 The Terrace building is still accesable, however it took me and some others a few hours to find an entry point. im not going to tell you were it is, that would spoil the fun, i will tell you that this is an exploration best done at night (less security, deffinatly spookier). Upon entry there are 17 floors and hundreds of nooks and crannys to explore. —alexchasman
2010-04-28 13:16:27 Does anyone know where you can find this history of this building? I have a strong desire to learn about what went wrong here seeing that you can't find any information anywhere and people are standoffish when you ask, there has to be a dark past and the people who were there deserve to have that uncovered and the issues known instead of being forgotten and ignored. I plan to research this summer on this, if you have any information or have worked there contact me by commenting on this. Thanks. —imac22
2010-06-06 14:48:53 I was a patient there 25 years ago and was on the 11th floor. It was a dark period in my life and better forgotten. I'm glad to see it was closed for the good of all people who suffer with mental illness. —sgeiss
2010-06-26 02:19:30 I'm interested to know better about this building. Is there any activities to the building? Monroe county clerk said that this building is foreclosure. Also, Daily Records newspaper was not able find the information such as who owns it. However, they are still researching. Maybe we can have a meeting with someone at Rochester Psychiatric Center? —AndrewKucharski
2010-10-13 20:32:55 security usually stops patrol by nine and sits in a parking lot with the car on facing away from the building, lights and be easily seen. if security is patrolling past nine, they suspect people are attempting to enter. pictures will be posted soon on Photobucket and linked to this site. we would like to thank the creators of this page for the information posted, it was quite helpful. —Kristiang
2010-10-17 22:23:32 me and a three of my buddies went to the Walters building this past weekend. when we got there we were looking for entry points. we found an atrium which we went in. we tried to pry open a caged window with zero success. i wanna say we were there for about 20 minutes before a patrol came by flashing his/her headlights. we got down, hid and got really lucky. after we got out of the hell hole we ventured off the the terrance building. we drove around the perimeter of it looking for entry points. there was a window wide open! the only problem was that the window was on a broad side of the building where cops made regualr patrols. we parked a few streets away and walked over. as we were about to go in a patrol came by but this time he saw us. keep in mind these "cops" have shit for authority and cant do anything except call the real cops which is exactly what he did. we just ran away. both of the structures are very interesting i have been in the bottom floor of the Walters building and it was a scare of a lifetime. it was rather depressing as well. if anyone has any comments they would like to leave about what it is like inside of the terrance building that would be very appreciated. thank you —McGee
2011-03-20 21:26:45 I have been looking to enter both the walters and tall former state hospital for many weeks. any chance someone can help out with tips information, ideas etc.? would be much appreciated, this is very interesting to me! —John95
2013-03-22 15:45:13 I'm the case manager for Black Hawk Paranormal of Rochester. Does any one here know of anyone that I can talk to or call in hopes that our team can explore this building. thanks. please firstname.lastname@example.org
2013-05-08 09:51:55 anyone know if terrance is accessible? —cman
2013-09-03 21:58:25 The factory/warehouse looking building in the back is actually the campus power plant. It was a coal powered facility that also powered a giant set of boilers that piped hot water for radiant heat to the outlying buildings vi underground pipes. It was converted to either diesel or oil in the 80's. They are now dismantling the old burner stacks. I don't know if they plan on rebuilding them or not, but some of the buildings on the campus still use radiators, such as the State Forensic Ward which is the one surrounded by a double fence covered in razor wire just up the road. I have been running into a road block on the Walters Building while trying to research it however. I know it was operational in 1891, which coincides with the opening of the Rochester State Hospital. The images of it do not match any taken of the State Hospital during its period of operation though. The question of simple modification to the structure to account for difference is nowhere near sufficient. I am not certain of the original intent of the Walters Building, but I am inclined to believe it is the insane asylem that spawned from the old Almshouse that housed both the mentally ill and criminals, which stood where the Al Sigl Center is now on South Ave opposite of the RPC campus. If anyone knows more please post. —PhilRock
2014-10-27 19:02:30 Incredibly hard to get in. Inside's a mess. Building's been condemned as of May 2013 and has red-tags all over. All doors from the outside are welded shut and windows on the first level are boarded up. Not really worth it anymore if you're not prepared for asbestos and black mold and/or security. —Acebycircle
2015-11-14 03:57:36 Me and my girlfriend got into the Terrance building back in summer of 2011. Didn't even bother looking for entry on the first floor since everything looked boarded up. Immediately looked for points of higher entry *wink wink*. We got in and explored for about an hour before hearing many footsteps and banging coming up one of the staircases. We were spooked out of our minds and didn't know what to do. We opted to call out (who knows if that was the best thing to do...) and it turns out it was the fire department. The dudes were actually really cool and after asking "You know you're not supposed to be in here, right?" asked "Have you seen the morgue yet?" They proceeded to show us around before escorting us out of the building. We didn't get to the top of the building (bummer since we wanted to watch sunset from the roof) but it turned out to be quite the experience.
I can't comment on the current accessibility but this place is a gem. —HunterH
2016-06-05 14:08:55 Not going to say where, but, the Terrence Building is currently accessible. Took me and a few buddies about 5 minutes to find a way in. It was a bit of a squeeze. The old way to access was to climb up a tube to the second floor. This has since been cut. Super cool inside. However, most of the stuff has been removed/stolen. Roof has AMAZING view of city and surrounding area, just stay low. We saw security patrolling/shining lights on the lower levels, good thing we were already on the roof!
2016-06-25 21:34:20 I grew up in the State Hospital grounds. When I was a kid,Terrence, Walters, and I watched them build the "M&S building, "Medical, and Syrgical Building", you call "Terrence". Two men were killed building it. My father was in charge of the M&S building. It contained the criminally insane ward (5th floor), and the general hospital (13th & 14th floors),where many years later I took 2 externships there as a med. student. The morgue, and the lab were in the basement-I remember doing a lot of autopsies there with Dr. ENGLISH. This building was marvelous, and I learned a lot there. The State had a nursing school, and the nursing students learned their skills in the M&S building. The State Hospital was a great place to grow up. It was like a mini DisneyLand! I drove my go cart all over the place, my buddies and I flew RC airplanes there, played tennis, baseball, football, shot 22 rifles in the woods behind the M&S building, even had sex in the hay way back, with some nursing students! FUN, FUN, FUN!The STATE had a baseball field, and the STATE'S team played all kinds of teams from Rochester. Hate to find out it is a ghost town now. My buddies and I used to harass the "pretend cops" all the time, and they returned the favor. Such fond memories of the good old STATE! BTW,I saved my first life from something I learned on the 13th floor.