Undercliff State Hospital
Located in Meriden, CT
- Also Known As:Meriden Sanatorium, Undercliff State Tuberculosis Sanatorium, Henry D. Altobello Children and Youth Center, Undercliff Mental Health Center
- Genre:State School / Developmental Center, Sanatorium / Isolation Hospital, Juvenile Detention Center
- Comments: 1,316
- Age:108 years
- Demo / Renovated:2013
- Decaying for:20 years
- Last Known Status:Demolished
Photo © 2005 Tom Kirsch, opacity.us
Undercliff State Hospital History
The site of the Undercliff State Hospital was originally an almshouse, used to care for Meriden's poor and indigent residents. In 1910 the facility expanded with the creation of a tuberculosis sanitarium, which was dedicated to treating children stricken with tuberculosis, German measles, chickenpox, and smallpox. It was recognized as the first facility of its kind in 1918, and expanded services to include adults by 1939. A massive 126,254 square foot Art Deco building was erected in the 1930s to combat the TB epidemic, but once the antibiotic was developed patient population dwindled throughout the 1950s.
In 1956, the facility was transferred to the Department of Mental Health, and was used as a psychiatric rehabilitation center for treatable patients in the surrounding state mental hospitals. This continued until 1976, when the hospital was transferred to the Department of Mental Retardation, and the facility was used to care for kids with developmental disabilities.
The role of the large hospital shifted yet again in 1979, when it was used for troubled adolescents undergoing psychiatric evaluation. The doors of this building were closed sometime after 1993, and had only been used for storage. At one point, surplus equipment from the U.S. Army was being stored inside.
The old almshouse structures burned down in the 1980s, and the large 1930s era hospital building was razed in 2013 to make way for a juvenile courthouse.