Photo: "Theatre Gold"

 
 

This theatre was part of a facility for feeble-minded women, particularly between the ages of 16 and 45.  It was designed to detain, segregate, care for and train these women and operated from 1920 to 1998. 
 

Despite the hospital's dark history, this theatre was quite beautiful. I loved the worn texture of the wooden seats, the missing tiles on the ceiling playing a game of Tetris and the beautiful massive windows with gaudy golden draperies. 

 

Photo: "Theatre/Gymnasium"

I've been spending a lot of time sorting through images for the website re-design and when I stumbled upon this one last night, I wanted to share it. It's not the most beautiful or technical photograph, but it serves as a great historical photograph of this space just prior to demolition. 

When I had the chance to photograph the location early last year, the demolition process was already underway. In the theatre, many seats had been removed and shoved against the walls and plastic was covering the doorways. 

Photo: "G-1"

This state hospital opened in 1868 as a partially completed public mental health hospital. It was constructed under the Kirkbride plan with one main building placing administration in the center and patient wings on either side. By the time the hospital was completed in 1874 it was already experiencing overcrowding and though much construction was done over the next few years, the hospital remained overcrowded well into the early 1900's. Noble Hall, the hospital's theatre was designed by William D. Johnson and constructed in 1908 in the Colonial Revival Style. This 830 seat theatre was two stories tall, containted central projector pavillion houses and three arched entrances. 

Photo: "Intimidate"

Built far from civilization, Norwich State Hospital opened its doors in 1904 with just one building and ninety five patients. As the campus grew, the buildings were connected via a series of utility tunnels to help with the transport of patients and employees. As with most asylums of the time, the campus expansion also included a private power plant, farm, bakery, laboratory and theatre.