In 1873, with Tewskbury, Worcester, Taunton and Northampton Asylums over capacity, a new Hospital began construction in Danvers. “During this time period, elegant asylums were being constructed at an enormous cost to provide the best care for the mentally ill; many of these ornate structures followed a plan devised by Dr. Thomas Kirkbride called the linear plan, or theKirkbride plan as it was later known. The asylum at was structured in this Kirkbride framework by architect Nathaniel J. Bradlee. Gothic spires rose from eight wings that radiated from a 130 foot central tower. Construction of the hospital began in 1874, and the 70,000 square foot building was completed four years later at a cost of $1.5 million.” [Opacity]
With over 2000 patients by the early 1930s, the hospital was dangerously over crowded. Patients began receiving minimal care, with appalling conditions causing outrage in the press. The lobotomy, electroshock therapy, insulin shock therapy, and drug therapy were used readily, resulting in accusations that they were being utilised as methods of control. By the 1960s, work had begun on relocating patients to group homes and various other hospitals. Danvers State Hospital continued to operate until the entire facility closed in June of 1992. The hospital was used as a filming location for the movie Session 9, after which the building was boarded up.
In 2007, three-quarters of the hospital were demolished. The central administrative area and the two sets of wings were gutted and refurbished into condominiums.
Check out some amazing pictures of the abandoned hospital below. These pictures are by photographer Tom Kirsch.
No Sun in the Solarium
Patient Art Therapy, still intact