When Kings Park and Central Islip became overcrowded the state decided to open a third farm colony hospital. Pilgrim opened in 1931, named after New York State mental health commissioner. Pilgrim had it's own police and fire department, courts, post office, train station, powerplant, swine farm, church, theater, nurses homes, bakery and was designed to hold 12,500 patients. They continued to expand and constructed Edgewood State Hospital on the land. During world war ll the "war department" took over Edgewood hospital, as well as a few Pilgrim buildings for mentally disturbed veterans. After world war ll Pilgrim was the worlds largest hospital with almost 14,000 patients and 4,000 employees. Treatments at Pilgrim included, insulin shock therapy, electric shock therapy and lobotomies. 1,000-2,000 lobotomies were preformed on patients at Pilgrim. When medication started to come out and more severe mentally ill were being transferred to home settings, Islip and Kings closed down and transferred their patients to Pilgrim. Pilgrim closed not long after, leaving a huge campus abandoned. 50 buildings have been demolished in 2003, but some buildings still remain.
Some buildings are still active, so be careful.
For more history and old photos look here: