Photo © Tom Kirsch, opacity.us
This abandoned hospital once catered to children and adolescents with developmental disabilities, and became notorious in the public eye for neglect and abuse toward the residents. Newspaper articles detail ex-employees tales of children without soap, clean clothes, sheets and even food; there were claims that some co-workers would beat the patients. They wrote how the foul smell of urine and feces constantly lingered in the air, and described many residents wearing diapers and banging their heads against the walls for attention. A report was also published that a deaf woman, admitted in 1930, had been kept inside the hospital for 55 years, being misdiagnosed as "mentally retarded."
Some residents spent much of their lives in adult-sized cribs, and left to live in private-care homes when the institution closed; others left through the small morgue to be buried in an unmarked field, which reputedly washes away from a nearby creek occasionally exposing graves Whether this report is simply media sensationalism or the truth is unknown.
A federal lawsuit was filed in 1978, ordering the institution to improve conditions, and yet another was placed in the late 1980s - this class action lawsuit involved 74 residents. The hospital finally shut down in 1991, due to "dangerous conditions." Much of the campus is now used as a drug rehabilitation facility, which resembles a prison in many ways (razor wire, marked and unmarked police vehicles, etc).
A memorial plaque outside one of the buildings reads, "While yet I live, Let me not live in vain."