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Built for Civil War Soldiers – The Hudson River State Hospital is Now Abandoned

Nikola Petrovski

On the grounds owned by James Roosevelt and because of the fact that New York was reaching its capacity. Because of the horrors of the Civil War, a new hospital had to be opened.

Hudson River State Hospital. Author: Hviola CC BY-SA 3.0

Hudson River State Hospital. Author: Hviola CC BY-SA 3.0

First started its operations in 1873 and kept working until early 2000. For nearly 130 years this hospital was working like clockwork. The main building in the campus was known under the name “the Kirkbride”, and recently has been designated a National Historic Landmark because of the type of architecture used, namely High Victorian Gothic architecture.

The Cheney Building. Author: Daniel Case CC BY-SA 3.0

The Cheney Building. Author: Daniel Case CC BY-SA 3.0

The man that came up with the design in 1867 was Frederick Clarke Withers. Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted are responsible for the design of the grounds.

After a few years of construction, that went way beyond the budget and time intended for this structure – and on October 18, 1871, the Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane welcomed its first 40 patients.

The Deteriorating Kitchen.Author: Nicole Compton CC BY 2.0

The Deteriorating Kitchen.Author: Nicole Compton CC BY 2.0

But the overall construction was not complete and would continue for another 25 years. When the 21st century came and the Hudson River Psychiatric Center was opened, the Hudson River State Hospital due to changed practices in the psychiatric treatments (like the invention of the psychotropic drugs) had to close its doors.

Abandoned Room On A Sunny Day. Author: Nicole Compton CC BY 2.0

Abandoned Room On A Sunny Day. Author: Nicole Compton CC BY 2.0

After the hospital became abandoned, the police kept struggling with the vandals that were destroying the Victorian architecture. But when the vandals were stopped it was nature itself that wanted this place to itself. In 2007 the male ward, south of the main building was destroyed in a fire caused by lighting. The hospital got a new owner in 2013 that chooses to remain unknown.

A desperate state found inside the Hudson River State Hospital.Author: Nicole Compton CC BY 2.0

A desperate state found inside the Hudson River State Hospital.Author: Nicole Compton CC BY 2.0

A number of unique buildings comprise this campus. There are the Main Building (the Kirkbride), Patient Wings, Ryon Hall which housed the criminally insane patients, The Clarence O. Cheney Building, and the Herman B. Snow Rehabilitation Center which provided the patients with a recreational relief.

Graffiti in the recreation building.Author: Nicole Compton CC BY 2.0

Graffiti in the recreation building.Author: Nicole Compton CC BY 2.0

This hospital was sold for $2.75 million. It was Hudson Heritage and Chazen that wanted to convert the complex into a hotel. Sadly the plans fell through.

 

The Library at Hudson River State Hospital.Author: Nicole Compton CC BY 2.0

The Library at Hudson River State Hospital.Author: Nicole Compton CC BY 2.0

Today the Hudson River State Hospital remains closed to the public due to dangers of falling roof and floors. But no fence can keep the trespassers off.

Even Walmart has shown interest in acquiring this land, but Todd Tancredi, a Poughkeepsie Town Supervisor, says he cannot imagine such a large estate (296 acres) used for a single store.