This mental hospital that I have become so familiar with over the years was originally a juvenile detention center built around 1850 to house up to 600 children. It was half burned by a child inmate. Later in the 1880s due to rioting spurred by the cruel punishments there and the following media attention, it had shut down and today’s mental hospital took over the buildings. The main area of the hospital was over 600 acres and the over 60 buildings included a pig farm, dairy, gardens and a power plant. It was the first homeopathic hospital in New England and was also where pioneer psychiatrist Solomon Carter Fuller carried out research on Alzheimer’s disease. Due to changing needs it finally shut its doors in the late 2000s. Since then it has been subject to steady decay and collapse.
On a very windy and cold day, as Fall gasped its last breaths we said goodbye. With a goal in mind to reach one section I had never seen in the sprawling complex, we headed directly there. We were not let down as the area was packed with old medical and barbershop equipment, patient files, chairs and beds. The wind howled outside and shook the window frames, blew curtains and create ominous slamming and banging sounds. After some hours of exploring we said goodbye and snapped a few shots of the outside frontage, framed by twisting vines. I will certainly miss wandering the seemingly endless tunnels, halls and buildings of this place. As asylum after asylum goes under the wrecking ball it is not hard to envision a time very soon where this kind of experience will no longer be possible.
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