Hudson River State Hospital is located on Hudson View Drive, Winslow Gate Road, and Paint Shop Road in Poughkeepsie, New York.
The Hudson River State Hospital was a psychiatric Hospital that began in 1871. The land was given to the State of New York by the citizens of Dutchess County as a gift. The main buildings on the grounds of the Hudson Hospital were deigned in the Kirkbride plan. It is a designated National Historic Landmark because of its exceeding High Victorian Gothic architecture and was the very first designed in that manor in an American institutional building. It was designed by Frederick Withers in 1867 and one of the grounds designers was Frederick Law Olmsted (who also designed the grounds for the Tome School for Boys).
It soon opened as the Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane in 1871 and admitted its first 40 patients. Construction was not completed though for nearly 3 decades for the entire complex. It is one of the few kirkbride hospitals built with asymmetrical wings because they believed that fewer female patients would be administered and therefore made the female wing shorter. The immense building and landscape were designed with the belief that it would help aid in the patients recoveries by giving them large amounts of space and privacy and filling them with a sense of grandeur. The hospital spared no expense in its design and even had yellow Southern pine flooring fitted and cut in such a manor that exceeded spending limits.
By the 20th century a Tubercular Hospital was added, a Refrigerating Plant was added and by 1952 the institution was treating almost 6,000 patients. Very soon the decline in the need for full care facilities rose with the changes in treatment of mental illness began to occur. This large scale facility still tried to grow and even had an addition added in 1971 of the Snow Recreational center. By 1976, the hospital only housed around 2,000 patients and the hospital administration decided to shut down to of the wings due to collapsing floors. Even the it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989, there were still talks of demolishing the 2 wings.
Eventually it was consolidated with the Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center in 1994. It officially closed in 2003.
Some of the buildings on the grounds of the hospital were the Ryon Hall, which housed the criminally insane or violent patients (and can be seen from the Home Depot next door), the Clarence Cheney Building, the Snow Rehabilitation Center, a power house, a morgue with refrigerated chambers, a Presbyterian church, a Catholic church, the patients wings, and the main ‘Kirkbride’ building.
In 2005 the state sold the property and the main building ended up in the hands of the Hudson Heritage LLC for almost 3 million dollars. It had been planned to to be transformed into a combination hotel and apartment complex. These plans hit major set-backs and never came to passed.
In May of 2007 lightening struck the south wing (formerly male housing) and caused a massive fire. It is unclear whether this wing can be restored or not after the damage.
In 2010 to more fires were set at the facility, these are believed to be deliberate. The property is closed and fenced off to the public and trespassing is prohibited.
Finally in 2012, the CPC Resources who owns the property has set the 162 acre land for sale. They claim that poor economy has hindered their ability to turn it into a development. Though I am glad it won’t be turned into apartments as I would rather it be restored it is unfortunate that the Walmart is the company showing interest in the property. Wouldn’t that suck, I mean there is a Walmart in Fishkill, Kingston, and Newburgh, they just really need one in Poughkeepsie?
A big thanks to Chris Limbrick for use of his amazing images of the Hudson River State Hospital. All images used in this article are © Chris Limbrick. You can check out his website www.climbrick.com or tweet at him @ChrisLimbrickll and you can view more of his pictures from this trip Here.
Where is the decaying Hudson River State Hospital located? You can find this sprawling place with these coordinates. 41.732516,-73.928021.