The Northampton Lunatic Hospital opened in 1856 for 250 patients. The first original building was the kirkbride design, with three floors and two wings, one for males and one for females. Northampton was first built to help with overcrowding at psychiatric hospitals in Worcester, Taunton and Boston. The hospital originally had very progressive treatment, with jobs, labor, farming, and fresh air. The hospital was fully sustainable from it's animals and produce during the first years.
The hospital then became overcrowded, with less patients leaving, their was no space, not enough staff, and too little funding. By 1885 there were 476 patients in a building that was originally for 250. Buildings were added like infirmary wards, and a complex for 1,000 patients. The hospital just became a home for the mentally ill, and no longer a place to treat them. In 1955 Northampton reached a peak of 2,657 patients, and then 6 years later, many patients were released because of new medications. By 1978 all of the patients were released to their families, and group homes.The hospital was fully closed by 1993, after housing 64,000 patients over 135 years. 594 confirmed deaths happened at Northampton, though some speculate it could be as many as 1,200. After closing the hospital was used as a film set in "The Cider House Rules" and "In Dreams". An artist named Anna Schuleit created a memorial at the abandoned hospital in 2000. The buildings were demolished in 2007 and replaced with a mass development called "village hill northampton".
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All buildings are demolished
The mill was built in 1896 to make onionskin paper for type writers, which was a new invention at the time. Turner falls paper mill was then abruptly closed in 1994. Southworth bought the mill in 2006, trying to continue the business, though the paper industry shrunk because of technology. The expenses to run the paper mill are up to $100,000 a month, and the company could not keep up. The mill filed for bankruptcy , due to taxes and water use fees. 120 employees became out of work, and had the company had 9 million dollar in pension liability. The 178 year old building is now abandoned, and looking to be renovated but all attempts have failed.
When I visited it was all fenced off, I think it may be under redevelopment now.
The Grafton State Hospital was opened in 1901 in Worcester. By 1945 the hospital had 1,730 patients and 250 staff. By this time the buildings were now spread over 3 towns. Grafton was a colony system hospital which is "The colony idea applies to the harmless, quiet, able-bodied chronic patients. Its aims are provision of a home with natural interests, industrial re-education of the demented, and their training in useful occupations for self-improvement and support." They had four colonies, Pines, Elms, Oaks and Willows. Each colony had different kind of patients, like pines was for "excited females", Elms was for "excited males", Oaks was for trustworthy and more stable male patients, Willows for more trustworthy and stable female patients. Each colony had a differently constructed buildings depending on the kinds of patients. Most patients at Grafton lived there for their entire lives when abandoned by families because they didn't know what to do with them. Patients worked well on farms and shops, keeping the hospital running, they heavily relied on patients labor. After being open for 72 years, Grafton closed in 1973 and now the buildings are occupied by colleges and other agencies. Some buildings have also been demolished.
Most buildings have been repurposed and buildings that still lie abandoned are very hard to get into, especially because police roam the grounds.
Originally the Fernald school was called the Experimental for Teaching and Training Idiotic children. The school had 72 buildings on 196 acres and held 2,500 children. These institutions were from the Eugenics movement, where gentecially inferior people would be seperated to prevent them from have children. One of it's third superintendents Walter Fernald passed away in 1924 and they renamed it after him. The school partnered with Harvard and MIT where they tested nuclear medicine on children, but none of the children had given consent to the study. Years later it had come out in a lawsuit that they were receiving radio active cereal in a special club called the "science club" and they would get special treats like the radio active cereal. Students from the school claimed that they were never taught anything and they took the same class and read the same books every year. Instead of learning they were forced to work everyday to maintain the school like farming for their own food, sewing their own clothes and shoes and worked at the powerhouse they had on site. 36 children would sleep in one room and all the beds would be crammed together. There was also allegations of abuse and sexual abuse, like staff would call up kids and patients would pull down their pants and smack their ass with a branch, and if kids tried to run away they would be stripped and be put in a barred room. One former patient even recounts having to cut up the brains of "retarded people" who had died at Fernald so that scientists could study them. It was still opened into the 2000 an was only for mentally disabled adults, in 2001 Fernald had 320 adults from 17 to 96 years old. Governor Mitt Romney announced that the facility would be shut down in 2004. In June 2013 there were still 13 residents on the grounds, but by 2014 they discharged the last patient.
Very easily accessible, but when I was there we saw a car roaming around which might be security. I spent about an hour at Walter Fernald and didn't get caught, but ran into some fellow urban explorers.
Southwood Hospital was opened in 1920 with the name Pondville Hospital. The hospital was mainly for cancer patients. They built a more modern and larger hospital in foxwood and closed Southwood in 2003. The building is worth 10 million dollars, but was only sold at 2 million becuase of the hazardous contamination all over the site. When police were called to catch illegal dumpers, but then complained about metallic tastes in their mouth and they later discovered that 55 gallon drums and gallon pails with hazardous material. A few buildings have been demolished but some still remain.
Photos and Information From:
and Ryan Ademan
I think it is fairly easy to access this building from my research, but make sure to be safe and wear masks.
The Lyman School for Boys opened in 1886, it was first a reform school or training school. Boys were sent to this school, if they committed "crimes" like being a stubborn/disobedient child or ditching school. Students lived in "cottages", in each cottage their was usually 100 boys, the top floor were the living quarters and the bottom floor was a living space. They had a special cottage for trouble makers called Oak Cottage where it was the most strict. The school used a military style of punishing and treating the students, to have them follow rules and hopefully 'reform' them. The school was a religious school, and even if you weren't religious or had another religion you were required to go to church every Sunday. A student at Lyman, had to learn a trade, even if he did not want too, trades were ground-keeping, laundry, cooking, carpentry, painting, janitor work, printing and electrical work that included plumbing ,steam fitting, and boiler maintenance. 300 students graduated from the school each year but many returned the next if they didn't behave at home. The school was closed in 1971 because of change in the states political leaders and lack of funding.
Some of the buildings are still there, but very boarded up and I was unable to get into the buildings that I saw.
Historical Photos from:
The Belcher State school was built in 1915 and closed in 1992. During the years that Belcher was open, no one knew about the abuse that occurred in the school. Once the parents found out what was happening with their children, they filed a class action lawsuit, led by Benjamin Ricci. Ricci also wrote a book about the mistreatment and he wrote a quote from his son, "His method of evaluating me consisted of looking me over during the physical exam and deciding that since I couldn't talk and apparently couldn't understand what he was saying, I must be an imbecile. [...] Since I couldn't ask him to speak up or repeat what he said, he assumed I was a moron. (Sienkewicz-Mercer p38)". He also says, "When it was necessary to move a patient, the attendants did so roughly, sometimes causing injuries. As a result of this gross mistreatment, some patients were prone to "moaning in the hallways," "reaching into [their] diapers and spreading whatever [they] found all over, [...] repeatedly banging their heads against the walls," (Sienkewicz-Mercer, p. 50)" . Attendants were overworked, and had dozens and dozens of patients in each ward, there was not enough time for proper toilet care and patients were left "half-naked rolling in their own excrement." Healthy teeth were removed from patients mouths, to make it easier to feed them. There are 10 buildings and they were all built in the colonial revival style. Now, the cemetery is being restored, and they are adding names to graves, because before they only had numbers. They have also decided on a 1.25 million dollar project to creat 170-units of assited living homes.
You are not able to access these buildings anymore, all the buildings have been very well boarded up (which is unusual for abandoned buildings. There are also construction workers on site, that will probably call the cops on you if they see you roaming the grounds.
My rating for this place is a 1. This is because you aren't able to access, I wouldn't even recommend visiting, because the architecture isn't worth look at either.