The Hudson River State psychiatric hospital
The Hudson River State psychiatric hospital

The Hudson River State psychiatric hospital

The Hudson River State psychiatric hospital

Abandoned for the last 10 years

Poughkeepsie (New York), United States

Closed in 2003 and now abandoned, the Hudson River State Hospital is a former New York state psychiatric hospital which operated from 1873. Designated a National Historic Landmark due to its exemplary High Victorian Gothic architecture, the first use of that style for an American institutional building.

Since 2003, the buildings have fallen into a state of disrepair. Authorities struggle with the risk of arson and vandals after suspicion of an intentionally set fire. The male bedding ward, south of the main building, was critically damaged in a 2007 fire caused by lightning. The property is currently owned by CPC Resources, which has placed the land for sale.

The Hospital includes a number of unique buildings:

  • Main Building (the Kirkbride), a High Victorian Gothic building used for administrative purposes
  • Patient Wings, which split off the Kirkbride, housed patients. The male ward splits off to the south, and is much larger than the female wing to the north. It was struck by lightning on May 31, 2007, igniting a serious fire.
  • Presbyterian and Roman Catholic churches were available to patients, one of which was near the male ward.
  • A morgue, with refrigerated cold chambers was located on the northeast corner of the property
  • A power house was built, and still stands, to the northeast of the Kirkbride to provide power to the various buildings. Its smokestack is visible from Route 9 as well as nearby Marist College.
  • Ryon Hall opened in 1934 and housed violent or criminally insane patients. It is on the very southern property line, visible from Home Depot, in the shadow of the much larger Cheney Building.
  • The Clarence O. Cheney Building, opened in 1952, is a ten-story steel structure with a brick facade. Named after Dr. Clarence O. Cheney, MD (1887-1947), the president of the American Psychiatry Association from 1935-1936, and hospital's superintendent from the 1920s until 1946, the building held doctor's offices and medical examination rooms. The building did provide some patient housing.
  • The Snow Recreation Center opened in 1971 and provided recreational relief for patients, sporting two bowling alley lanes, a lunch counter, an auditorium, and an indoor swimming pool. Skylights provided natural lighting.

The centerpiece of his design was the administration building, which branched off into two wings, composed of six parallel pavilions that flanked the central structure. The two wings, designed to hold 300 patients of either sex, were divided by a chapel placed between them in the yard behind the administration building so that patients could not see into the rooms of the opposite sex. The building and landscape plan were meant to aid in patients' recovery, by giving them adequate space and privacy and imbuing their healing with a sense of grandeur.

Construction began in 1868, with the cost estimated at $800,000. Cost-saving measures included the construction of a new dock on the Hudson so that building materials could be shipped more directly to the site, quarrying and cutting the foundation stones on site, mixing concrete from local materials and hiring local craftsmen instead of ageneral contractor. The board also deviated from the plan it had sent the state, in particular by building a shorter female wing when it came to believe that fewer patients of that sex would be admitted. As a result it is one of the few Kirkbride hospitals to have been built with asymmetrical wings.

Source: Wikipedia

 

Related content

The abandoned maternity
Kneževo, (Croatia)

Closed in 1981, this abandoned maternity is located in Kneževo in Croatia, near the border of Hungary and only few kilometers away from Serbia.

The village is composed of approximately 960 inhabitants and is located in the county of Osijek...

Riverside Psychiatric Center
Riverside, New York (United States)

Riverside Psychiatric Center is a former New York State Psychiatric Hospital which was open from 1873 to the early 2000’s. The hospital was meant to hold 300 patients of either sex. However, the female wing of the hospital was built shorter than...

Former Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital
Morristown, New Jersey (United States)

Originally opened on August 17, 1876 for a cost of $146,000, the hospital was known as the New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum at Morristown. The asylum officially received the familiar Greystone Park name in 1924. Initial fees were $3.50 per week...

Mount Sinai Sanatorium
Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec (Canada)

Infected with tuberculosis, the former Jewish hospital was abandoned since 1998. Built in 1930, the building was Art Deco inspiration which was uncommon outside the cities. Was Art Deco inspiration because the building has been demolished in 2005...