See the photos here: flickr.com/photos/calvinkaneda/sets/72157625017522187/
Located in Connecticut, Norwich State Hospital, originally Norwich State Hospital For The Insane, became an active campus in October 1904. Consisting of only a single building, housing 94 patients, on a mere one hundred acres of land, it was initially created as a mental health facility for the mentally ill and those found guilty of crimes by insanity. Just short of one hundred years, this hospital, surrounded by forest, sitting on the banks of the Thames River, at it’s peak, grew into a giant, expanding the campus to over thirty buildings, nine hundred acres and housing 3,186 patients. Now, Norwich wasn’t only for the mentally ill or the criminally insane, it was also providing treatment for geriatric patients, chemically dependent patients and, from 1931 to 1939, Tubercular patients.
As with most mental hospitals constructed at the time, the Norwich State Hospital was a self-sufficient institution, having its own power plant, bakery, farm, laboratory, theater, bowling alley, and housing for staff and doctors. To provide an identification system, each building was given a name, usually after that of a superintendent or other state hospital. Gradually, though, as the number of patients and employees began to decrease, when a new structure was built, an older one would be closed. Due to the large number to structures and the hundreds of acres they stood on, the majority of buildings were connected by a series of underground passageways. The main purpose of these tunnels were for the utilities, however, they were often used to transport patients from one area to another, and it was speculated that they were locations used for the torture of patients who became uncontrollable.
In October 1996, with only seven buildings active Norwich Hospital was officially closed and the remaining patients were transferred to Connecticut Valley Hospital. The State Department of Public Works became responsible for the property.
When it closed the 482-acre campus and its 70 or so buildings in 1996, the state turned off the heat and left the water on. Then, until 2005, the state paid at least half a million dollars to pipe hundreds of millions of gallons of water to the hospital — water that cascaded through unoccupied buildings from frozen and burst pipes. The water peeled paint from walls and the tile from floors. Hundreds of thousands of dollars more were spent to pump and supposedly treat millions of gallons of phantom sewage, waste that could not have been generated by an unoccupied hospital.
The hospital's striking design, its contribution to the history of medicine, and the leafy tranquility of its campus combined in the late 1980s to earn the institution inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.
In September 2010, nearly 15 years after the last patient left Norwich, after millions of wasted dollars by state agencies, and after countless proposals from private contractors a deal was signed to begin demolition of 30 buildings.
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