In 1960, my grandmother died at Buffalo State Hospital. She'd lived there on and off for many years, and her time was greatly impacted by ongoing issues of overcrowding and patient mistreatment.

This weekend I read "Buffalo State Hospital, A History of the Institution in Light and Shadow," part of the Abandoned History Series through the Museum of Disability History, People Ink Press, 2016. The book is a photographic journey by Ian Ference, and it's interspersed with short interviews by a former patient, family members of patients and people who worked there, as well as historical background information offered by the Museum of Disability History. I purchased the paperback version, a hard cover version that includes more photographs is also available.

Now that Buffalo State Hospital has been become the Richardson Complex, anchored by the Hotel Henry, this book helps us to understand the history behind one of the most talked about structures in Buffalo - a place with a complicated past where many are now going for dinner, drinks, art openings and other community events. The new focus of the Richardson Complex and Hotel Henry on architecture and design is balanced by the history of the space and the people with mental illness who lived and died there.

"Buffalo State Hospital, A History of the Institution in Light and Shadow" hit me close to home. Although it was difficult to read and look at at times, learning about the history of Buffalo State Hospital honors the people who lived there, history that we should not forget amid the innovation at the Richardson Complex.