Letchworth Village for the Mentally and Physically Disabled Abandoned in New York

This residential institution can be found off of Letchworth Village Road, Thiells, Haverstraw, Rockland County, New York.

Letchworth village opened in 1911 and eventually had over 130 buildings on it’s 2,362 acres of land. It was classified as a “state institution for the segregation of the epileptic and feeble-minded” and considered a humane alternative to psychiatric asylums. It was for the mentally and physically disabled ranging from newborns to the elderly.

There is a lot of negative attention about Letchworth Village because of the abuse and neglect to the patients. They were allegedly mis-treated, experimented on, underfeed, and made to work laboriously by building roads, load thousands of tons of coal into storage facilities, and farm. The children that resided their were sickly and malnourished. The staff claimed in 1921, that there was a scarcity of food, water, and other supplies. In the 1940’s, Irving Haberman released a set a photographs to show the conditions of Letchworth, which proved horrifying. Patients would be naked in day rooms, dirty, neglected, and un-feed. Continuing into the 1950’s the establishment was constantly over crowded, the families would abandoned their relatives and the caregivers would ignore them. By the 1980’s Letchworth village was not adequately funded or managed and residents including children were continuously found naked, dirty, and poorly nourished. In 1996 the institution was shut down permanently. Though some of its 130 buildings have been reused today most of them are neglected like its previous residences and have fallen into decay.

In February of 1950, Hilary Koprowski tested his live-virus vaccine for Polio on a male child for the first time that resided at Letchworth Village. The name of this child in unknown, but it was successful.

I was appalled by this place in particular, I could not really find anything positive about it. What is worse is that the Letchworth Village Cemetery is full of un-named graves of people who more than likely lost their lives entirely unfairly here.

Where is Letchworth Village located? This village can be found with these coordinates. 41.214801,-74.023696.

Thanks to Chris Limbrick for use of his images. You can view his website www.climbrick.com or check him out on twitter @ChrisLimbrickll.

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