Stacks of lonely chairs inside the former Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey.
The Laurelton State Village facility, the first of its kind, was designed to segregate and care for "feeble-minded" women between the ages of 16 and 45. These women were mentally ill and sent here to be looked after in the early 1920's when the facility was completed.
In 1938, over 700 women were residents and there was a waiting list another 600 women long. During their stay here, most women participated in some form of labor in the cannery, kitchen, laundry or in the fields. There were also recreational portions to the campus, as seen above.
In the late 1960's a radical change was made and males were admitted to the campus. Decades later, in 1998, the facility would shut its doors.
A skylight in this room, within the Administration section of Hudson River Psychiatric Hospital, let in just enough light to give this space a blue glow.
Collapsed floors are a typical sight inside the former Hudson River Psychiatric Hospital as this hospital has sat vacant for many decades enduring the brutal winter and summer conditions in New York.
Painting in the patient wards at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Morris Plains, New Jersey.
Kirkbride asylums were constructed to be self-sufficient and most campuses contained a dairy and agricultural farm, a post office, recreational facilities, water utilities and a power plant. Greystone Park Psychiatic Hospital was no exception.
This power station generated power for the entire campus, which included the main Kirbride building, which was designed to house 450 patients, nurses quarters and all other ancillary buildings.
(3 image pano stitched vertically, shot with Canon 17mm TS-E)
Vines creeping into a window at the Forst Building at Trenton State Hospital in New Jersey.
Sadly, there is not much information available about this building. It appears as though it was constructed sometime between the 1920's and 1940's and was either Nurse's housing or a non-secure ward for patients.
Patient tub inside the Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey.
Many patients admitted to psychiatric facilities in the late 1800's and early 1900's did not actually need mental health care. Many patients exhibited symptoms of laziness, hysteria, religious enthusiasm or other health conditions, such as menopause, leading doctors to believe the patients were mentally ill.
Once admitted, the patients would be placed in a single or double room, with one or two beds and a single window through which they would gaze upon the world. Most of us can't even begin to imagine how devastatingly lonely that would feel.
People often ask me what draws me to places like this, but the answer is not always obvious to most. Sure people understand that I find beauty in decaying asylums, factories, ships and houses of worship, because let's be honest, they just don't make them like they used to, but the real reason is much less superficial.
I do this for me because it makes me feel alive and it's what I want to contribute to this world, images of historic places that we are tearing down way too quickly. But I also do it for the dozens of grandparents, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, cousins and friends who knew someone who was cared for or worked in one of these locations. During the time that these asylums, for example, were in operation, very little was known about mental health. People who were lazy, or practicing religion to frequently were admitted into an asylum. Even women experiencing menopause were deemed insane and placed inside these facilities.
When I receive an email from a women who never knew her Grandmother because she was admitted to Greystone Park Psychiatric asylum in 1918, or a note from a son about how his father was stationed on the USNS Northern Light many decades ago, I am quickly reminded that this is why I photograph these places. It's not for money, status, likes or +1's, it's for the memories that remain inside these walls, the stories eagerly hoping to come back to life.
Patient rooms, such as this, inside the former Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey were designed to hold one or two patients, but within about 10 years of opening, the hospital experienced severe overcrowding and was treating almost double the patients it was designed to treat. Patients were crammed to these small rooms and beds were added and moved into the hallways.
Over the past year, the state of New Jersey has accepted multiple bids, upwards of $150 million for the restoration of Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, but today they made the incredibly tragic decision to demolish the building at a cost of $34 million.
Not only is this facility historic in a medical sense, but architecturally it's significant as well. Prior to the Pentagon being constructed, it was the largest contiguous stone building in the United States. It's a beautiful Kirkbride building, with open spaces full of light, beautiful architecture and a lot of life. I wish nothing more than to see buildings like these being constructed today, but tragically, we're about to tear one down. This is a terrible decision New Jersey. You'll realize this someday, but sadly it will be too late...
News story: http://www.dailyrecord.com/story/news/local/2014/08/14/greystone-demolition-bid-awarded-m/14071177/
The Greystone Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey opened its doors to the first patients in 1877 and 342 patients were immediately submitted.
The main building at Greystone was built following the Kirkbride plan and contained two wings, one for each sex. The violent wards, shown here, are at the end of the second floor of the male wing.
Doorway to a patient room inside the female wards at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey.
Looking towards the corridor door from inside a non-violent patient room in the female ward.