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Worcester,Mass - Places of the Past, Asylum For the Insane
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Later known as Worcester State Hospital, the Asylum was designed by an architect named Mr. Ward P. Delano of the firm Fuller & Delano of Worcester. Mr. Delano also designed the Worcester Theatre and City Hospital.
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Neil H Donahue - Report this comment
Pete Taylor - Report this comment
Your right about Route 9 going by the trees. My mother worked there from about 1969 until she retired in 1979. She was a nurse, social worker and assistant supervisor of nursing when she retired. All the years I remember it was only called Worcester State Hospital.
Later known as Worcester State Hospital, the Asylum was designed by an architect named Mr. Ward P. Delano of the firm Fuller & Delano of Worcester. Mr. Delano also designed the Worcester Theatre and City Hospital. He died on September 25, 1915.
It is interesting to note that Worcester actually had two large asylums. The Lunatic Hospital was located at Lake Quinsigamond and the Insane Asylum, the first to be established in the state, was on Summer Street.
Dorothy Hauschild - Report this comment
How interesting it is to finally see the hospital where my great-great grandfather resided for over 20 years. I am in the process of trying to get a court order to open his medical records. Thank you for putting a "face" to the hospital where he lived.
Stefanie M Fuller - Report this comment
My Great Grandfather is James E Fuller of the architect firm Fuller & Delano of Worcester. This firm designed many buildings in Worcester such as City Hospital, Worcester State Hospital, Hahnemann Hospital, The Central Exchange Building, as well as others. The irony of this is that my grandmother (daughter in law to James)was a patent and died in Worcester State Hospital.
My gg uncle, Albert F. Scoville was partners with Edward Wm. Wheeler who studied architecture with Fuller & Delano for five years. Edward Wheeler went into business with Albert Scoville. The firm was named Scoville and Wheeler. They built the John S. Gould residence in Worcester as well as the Howe Memorial Library-Shrewsbury; Womens and Mens Wards for State Colony for the Insane-Gardner; Two modern school houses-Gardner; Builders/additions to Haywood Brothers & Wakefield Co.-Gardner.
Rob Gallagher - Report this comment
It should be noted, that the buildings pictured above are no longer used, and (some seem to be used for offices) as far as I know the Clock tower and the kirkbridge buildings right wing is still standing, and is being pereserved. Worcester State Hospital is now housed in a large 4-7 story brick building off of Belmont Street.
Roger Martell - Report this comment
My father worked there from the late 60's till he died in 72. He worked in the boiler room.In the back of the Hospital They have what is called Camp Joy now.I D.J.ed a dance there once it is run by the 7 hills foundation I belive. They also use a smaller building there i do belive for rehabiltion.
Shannon Matson - Report this comment
It is true, this building is not used anymore, as well as all of it's components. I work presently at the ajacent hosptal called the 'Bryan Building'. These buildings are a beautiful cluster of magnificent architecture, and are sadly in major disrepair. I advise any visitors to the property not to enter because of the serious neglect and dangerousness of the building. Hospital Police patrol frequently for those seeking 'ghosts'.
Lori L Lapomardo - Report this comment
Worcester State Hospital was known as Bloomingdale Asylum. The clock tower still stands and can still be seen from Route 9. Although you have to look over the Beachwood Hotel and most of the Abbott Bioresearch Center's buildings. WSH is beautiful piece of Worcester's history.
in my travels to worcester today i stopped by the state hospital,it looks much differnt from the post cards,my sections are torn down all that remains is the clock tower building and a few patient buildings i think.most of it was torn down to make new hospital buildings,i dont know how much longer the buildings will be there because they are boarded up and fenced in,with signs that say "no tresspassing building unsafe",i think its an awesome looking building you can see it from far away it gives me chills looking at it from a distance,it really is a masterpiece
the kirkbridge building the clock tower and the nurses home are all still standing they are heavily boarded up and ive heard stories of shackles and dungens in the basement
I have many photos, from my trip back east in September. My Grandmother, Lillian Reinholdt was the head administrator over the nurses, and resided at the hospital during her tenure, and for over 20 years after the hospital closed. The clock tower still stands as do all the other buildings. The 'dorm' area where my grandmother lived (along with my mother when she was about 16 years old) is closed. There is a portion of the structures where I think they train or school doctors. There was quite a bit of foot traffic while I visited the site. The asylum is boarded up, and I have to say there was a very real feeling of sorrow there. I had always known my grandmother to work at a hospital, but I never knew it was an insane asylum until I drove onto the grounds and read the sign "Worcester Insane Asylum". The locals refer to it as a hospital now. I don't believe it is used for any patient care, but I could be wrong. P.S. when I get the photos emailed to me, I will be happy to send them to you. I took many shots of the hospital and a couple of the clock tower. Would you like copies?
Helen Collier - Report this comment
I like how you all have put this web sit here. It is a good reminder of the past our relatives have seen and went through over the years. It reminds me of what was once was and will never be again. a time that we as future seeing humans will hardly ever think of. These pictures shows how the people back then did not have the understanding of mental processes of the sick and demized, and how to handle them except to say to put them in enormus builds and hospitals such as the worcester lunatic asylums.
P. Benjamin - Report this comment
Soon after the Tornado of 53 my family moved to Prospect Street. When I was 8 a friend of mine and I had a paper route. We delivered to the Jail House and to the Nut House as we called it, on Summer Street. We thought we were so brave. The other thing I rememeber about the Jail is seeing the guards in the towers with rifles. I would walk home from Thomas St. School for lunch and the inmates would be in the yard. I could hear them and the guards were perched at the ready. So cool for a kid.
Patricia Baker - Report this comment
Just wanted to add a couple of notes from my youth. As a child in a local public school, I went with my class to put on an operetta for the inmates at the Worcester State Hospital. It was not considered polite to call it anything else. We toured a tiny bit and were constantly assured that this was a hospital and meant to be a nice place. I was impressed by all the locked doors, grilles, and other cage-like structures. Still, we saw it as a hospital. We did see some clearly disturbed people during our performance, but you know, the show must go on. Later, as a young adult, I visited an acquaintance with some friends. This would be the late 1970's, and we visited where people voluntarily checked themselves in for drug addiction, bad trips, etc. Frankly didn't look or seem much different than many college campuses at that time, including some of the more disturbed denizens.
What an interesting site. My grandfather was employed for many years by the Worcester State Hospital, and my uncle (his youngest son) now works at the newer hospital. My grandfather served briefly in the violent patients ward and once had a large chunk of hair pulled out by a patient being brought in. It's interesting to see this information about the place where he once worked. Thanks.
My mother who works at Worcester State Hospital says that one of the patients had caused a fire and burned down the buildings. It was a historical place too although they didn't use it anymore.
My father and Gtreat Aunts were patients in the hospital. Put there by my Grandmother who would then take there social security checks. This is a sad memory for me. My Dad whose only problem was drinking. He died in that hospital. What happened in their lives by this woman is unforgivable. I went to Worcester a month ago and was driving by and decided to drive up the hill. I was so happy to see that the place was closed down. The home for the aged men also housed woman I blieve. If not then there was a place right next to that one. My great Grandmother died there. Also where the cows were, there was always men in there working the field, hence the name, "the poor Farm" I don't know if anyone is aware of the movie "session 9" which I am viewing as I type. It shows the hospital. It is on the mystery chanel on satelite. I also think the movie may be available to rent. Thank you for the site. One other thing. I see the name Jeff cote. I am wondering if Jeff cote is any relation to Gerry cote who was a Worcester cop.
Yeah, the Insane Asylum isn't in commission anymore, I've driven up to it and around the property, its all falling apart, and the building is condemned, I drove around to the back, their's a bunch of stuff back there, pretty creepy to drive around at during the night time (I went twice, once in the day).
i have been inside the worcester state hospital. i told a state trooper that i found an opening and he let me follow him in through a kicked down door(probably from teenagers). it was very old inside. everything was still in place . i guess when it closed, everyone just walked out and left everything. i saw the room numbers above the rooms. the beds were still there. the so called treatment tools were still on tables where patients were once tortured. it was quite amazing going inside. i went in with permision with an officer because i told about the opening.
Drove up the hill to look at the buildings the other day (May 15, 2004). My grandfather was a truck driver, that used to make deliveries there. He used to tell a story about one day that he entered a door that locked behind him. When he told staffmembers he was making a delivery and needed to get back to his truck, they didn't believe him and thought he was a patient. Luckily he still had the delivery paperwork in his pocket, or he may have been staying for a while!! I think it is a shame that they are left to crumble. They are very impressive and should be restored in some way. Does anyone know of any effort to do this?
margaret scott - Report this comment
While doing genealogical research in Northampton, Mass. I found a record for an Elijah Dickinson of Hatfield, Massachusetts who was committed to the "Wocester Insane Retreat" in 1866. It may be that originally there was an even older hospital on the same site.
Does anyone know what year this place was built or if there indeed was a hospital there before it? In doing some geneaological research, i found some census records from an "insane asylum" in Worcester in the 1860s. The descriptions of it were pretty gruesome. I wonder if this was the site.
My great, great grandfather died at the Worcester Sanitarium 10 Feb 1872, age 37, of a brain disorder. It would be interesting to have more information about his case, yet I have no idea where to begin. He was married, had children and a life as a fisherman in Gloucester. Next documentation lists him as dying at the Worcester Sanitarium of a brain disorder. I do know that many disorders considered treatable now were all lumped together back then as brain disorders. He could have had something as simple as seizures or even been schizophrenic. Anyone know how to go about doing medical genealogy?
Kevin Gardner - Report this comment
I would truely love to see inside as I am a paranormal investigator. part of a group currently called "the silent" I wonder if it is possible to aquire a permit to get inside with my team and some equiptment.
I'm a Woodward and my Great, Great, etc. Grandfather was Dr. Samuel B. Woodward, the first Superintendent of the Asylum. I have a copies of a few of his papers, but my Grandmother Kathleen E. Woodward handed the bulk of them over to the Hospital 30 or 40 years ago. And medicine (mostly psychiatric) has continued to be the family passion through all the subsequent generations. There are a few in my immediate family.
I was at and inside the old asylum last night looking around the old patient wing it is very neglicted inside that building. some part are just clear out and empty and dont look to bad excpt for the lead paint peeling of, but there are some parts of the building where the stock piled the old chairs. The upper floors are the open floors with nothing in them but the ground level floor is a desaster broken glass about a hundered chairs in one room oh yeah and we found a old paino which sound freakin scary as hell. on the second and third floor and the atic the police use for k-9 and fire training because the is a maze on the second floor that is only big enough for a dog. I wish i could have gotting in to another building like the main building to see what was in there or in the hospital section because i heard that there is the morge in the basment but there was nothing in the basement of the paitent wing. the majoity of the building for the old picture is gone. old that is left is the adminisative building, nurses building, and the one of the paitent buildings. it is very sad that most of it is gone but it was probly nocked down for the surround hospital also the fire took a good part of it to. well thats i have to tell i want to go back and breakinto the main building some day untill that happens good bye.
Tyler LaCross - Report this comment
I am 17 and i live near Fitchburg, i just wanted to say its good people are trying to protect this place because in its own way it is beautiful and stunning, it is from our past and holds the lure of the past, but locks out the future it is great to see places like this still standing and unused from the time when they were the heart of the community
frankie day(a girl) - Report this comment
this is a very interesting website.the first time i went to the worcester state asylum,or as i call it "the old mental institution",i was 9.i just started getting into abandon buildings with spooky features and pasts so i found the clock tower on the hill really fascinating.i'm now 13 and whenever i'm with my dad he takes me up there to look never gets boring and it i hope it remains up there and any secrets of it will be revealed in time.maybe even stories of torture of something which wouldn't have been nice for the people who went there but for the people who like that stuff.truth can be a scary thing.but scary just as necissary.thanks.
Will (Billy Sturtevant) Marengo - Report this comment
What a shame! Isn't the old state hospital building close to MIT or another school of higher learning? Why can't they take over this historical and beautiful building and restore it? Worcester has old money; what happened to the spirit of giving that their forefathers had? Where's philanthropists that don't know what to do with that old money?
I played in a band that used to come to Worcester quite a bit. I spotted the clock tower from a highway when we were out driving around one afternoon. I had to go see it, what is it about this building that just draws you to it? It took my breath away. I later went back at night and filmed with a spotlight. I asked around at the club we played, and was told "that's the old insane asylum!" Figures... The next time we came into town, I went right up to the hospital, and was heartbroken to see that there had been that fire. It had just recently happened, and it was hard to look at the black, charred sections, the roof falling in in places. I thought for sure someone would use that an an excuse to destroy the rest of this beautiful old building with so much history. There are so few of these amazing Kirkbride buildings left, it's such a shame. The remaining parts of the building, especially the Administration building, needs to be preserved. By the way, I noticed someone mentioned this as the building from "Session 9." Actually the movie was filmed at Danvers State Hospital, not WSH. Still, a very good movie, and DSH steals the show. I believe DSH is even more endangered than WSH, so if you're nearby, hopefully you'll get to see it before something bad happens to it. I hope to one day be able to get back up to Worcester and see WSH again. Thank you for this site.
I have lived in Worcester all my life and have always been fascinated by WSH. Last year I inquired about getting inside with permission to do some filming, etc. and was basically told "no" since it is still a functioning hospital (outpatient) and it was not safe. Have tried to get a group of people to go with me some night and "sneak" in, but no takers!!!
Hello. I was dissapointed to find out that most of this building has been torn down. I recently found the directions and am planning on photographing it. As well as exploring the inside. I will also be going to Norwich State soon. If anyone wants to tag along email
B Hatstat Gibbs - Report this comment
This site gives lots of info on many asylums and such...My great grandfather died here (George C. Bond, Sr.), a mentally challenged granddaughter walked in on HIM taking a bath and his family stuck him here....My great aunt was a nurse here (Etta M. Bond) and was actually thrown down the stairs by a Grandfather (Ralph C. Hatstat, Sr.) Worked in the boiler room of the hospital(s) and got electocuted but lived to tell about it. It was so good to see this...yet so very sad...To get more history go to this website
Andy Bigwood - Report this comment
Worcester State Hospital Look Like a Castle was built in 1877 instead of 1352
This building is beautiful. It draws you in and won't let you take your eyes off of it. It calls to you in a slow, quiet, eerie tone. I assume it is haunted, from what I hear of the torture and deaths that took place inside the hospital. Even the grounds would hold sad, detained spirits. I plan on taking a trip up there to photograph it. If they restored the old railroad building to their current beauty, they could easily do the same for this building....or does no one want to touch it because of it's chilling history??
What very interesting site. It kept me intrigued by all the writings shared. Just think this would be the makings of a good book and photography. I would to go see The WSH.
The architecture of not only WSH but the rest of the state hospitals is amazing. The remains of these buildings should remind us of the memories of those who silently passed within their walls. As a former guard and officer for the DMH, I worked at the old Grafton State Hospital and occassionaly at WSH back in the late 1950's through early 70's. I saw alot of "medical treatment" for the "insane". Back then, there wasn't a great understanding of mental illness. At the very first display of odd behavior, people (often children) would be brought to these hospitals and abandoned as their caretakers did not want to be burdened with them. Some where legitimately mentally ill and were subject to some rather barbaric procedures. Whatever the degree of illness, many of these patients spent thier lives in these institutions, forgotten about by the rest of the world. Upon thier passing, they were buried in institution cemetaries on or near the hospital grounds with nothing more than a small number marker upon thier graves. Some, who were veterans, were afforded a small American flag and marker to honor their service. One such cemetary exists near the old Grafton State. The remaining institutions are reminders of our past, they are monuments symbolizing early beautiful architecture and they are the bearers of haunting memories. Many of these buildings still stand decaying from the interior, many have already been disposed of. Hopefully some of these institutions will be preserved as historical landmarks for future generations to view and learn about the heritage within.
Claire Cameron - Report this comment
I was born and raised in Worcester. Have a relative, now in his 70's, who worked at WSH in his last year of high school. He told the family of pretty sadistic abuses of the inmates there. I think his feeling rang out that most folks living there were treated in just about the same way, no matter what their illness was. Amazingly, he found there, a girlfriend of my mother. She had been placed there by her parents solely because she had become engaged to a young man of another faith. I don't know the exact scenario, but I do know that my mother somehow got to her friend and was able to get her released. (The parents had died.) However, there had been a passage of perhaps 25 years, and the friend had that strange, frightened look that you sometimes see on people held in places such as WSH. She was a funny, adventurous kid according to my mom. The parents told the community that their daughter had died. Whenever I venture to the nursing facility on Salisbury St in Worcester to visit with my mother who was placed there by a "well meaning" relative, I get that same feeling of foreboding that I had as a child passing by the WSH on the way to Boston on Rt 9. The exteriors of these buildings are amazing and well kept. Sadly, the inside of institutions like these still in existence, have that sense and often the smell ... of neglect. I could go on even more. Being an actor and a writer, my dramatic side is overly heightened. I watched SESSION 9 also, and was taken right back to Worcester. Thank you for this site. I believe we can learn much from each other.
It is great to see these pictures and read some of the history on this beautiful building. My grandfather was chief engineer of the power plant at the hospital for many years. I can remember Sunday dinners as a child where he would head out the door in the middle of a meal because his pager went off and he had to respond to a problem at the hospital. In the early 1990's the power plant was officially named after him and a name plaque was set in the building above the doorway.
Festus Boombarlard - Report this comment
I think the University of Massachusetts is in the area of the place that still open, now. I checked it out once and saw how tiny the rooms were with those wide-mesh, metal security screen walls. I got put into Gardner State Hospital by the court when I was seventeen. I think they were involved with each other. Some say Gardner was worse. I saw some horror I'll never forget. They were sadists. That stuff really happens. So the judge felt sorry for me and dismissed my case. Just being there scarred me for life. The people working there are more disturbed than the disfunctional victims. There were some sexy chicks working in there, but the place was a nightmare. The downs they gave were all right, though. They gave this naked guy a shot of metrozol, and he went into violent convulsions. And they caught me watching them do to him.
I've been readin up on this for a long time, a very big history of Worcester that not many know about. I've heard many horror stories, which I dont doubt. As you know the medical practive back then was much diffrent from now, you could have had a large mole and could be sent here. My Grandfather told a story of a friends father who was sent there, becuase of domestic abuse, and later died in there. The stories go on. I've heard many stories, and decided to go tonight, I went around 4:00 and looked outside, and drove around. I went back at night and there was a cop on patrole. I'm looking into going in and Photographing. The horror that went on in there is scary, and to think the vibe you will get, Im considering it, if you are please email me
Judy Leite - Report this comment
My grandmother was a patient here in the 1920's. She was out on a weekend pass and died during that weekend. Probable suidide they say, she was found in a floating dead in a pond in Fall River. I've tried to get her medical records years about with no luck. Wow, how sad mental illness was back then. Several memember of our family suffer from mental illness and how lucky we are to have the treatment and help that we havve today. My hearts breaks from what she must have gone through. She is resting in peace knowing this granddaughter loves her and will never forget what pain she must have gone through. Love you always Grandma Maud
I've heard so many horror stories about people who have gone to WSH at night and different people who don't even know each other share the same paranormal stories. Im going there soon to see if something out of the ordinary happens. Have any of you heard of these things? Also is it true about all the rapes and murders that were occuring just before the place was closed down? i can't find any websites about that.
Leslie Frederick - Report this comment
I found a check from "Asylum for the Chronic Insane" at Worcester, Mass dated Dec. 10, 1879 in the amount of $18.10. It was signed by Albert Wood, Treasurer. The check was drawn on an account from City National Bank of Worcester, check no. 1420 and made payable to F.P. Oliver. I've also noticed for the first time that "Putnam & Davis Stationers, Worcester, Mass." is printed under the check no. I have it framed and displayed in my office. Does anyone know any more details about that time, the Treasurer or what the check could be written for? $18.10 was a lot of money then! Thanks!
Margaret Hebert - Report this comment
Very interisting site. I would love to see the pictures mentioned above of the Hospital that Erica took as my husband and I are paranormal investigators. I would really like to check them out. Thanks for your time. Margaret Hebert Co-Author--Shadows Among Us Regional Director for GA. for GAPEC, Georgia Paranormal Educational Council
Ive been there before and it was very scary. I've seen it from far away also and i think about why these people were placed in there and what kind of treatment was used on them.
I just happened to look at these pictures on the website. The background, with the trees, are quite stunning, and beautiful. But, the hospitals, sort of freaked me out. You see, while I grew up, I went through major child abuse, and my brother was insane, in addition to being evil. One can be insane, and still know right from wrong. He knew that sins made God angry, but he didn't care. Insanity is no excuse when it comes to abusing an innocent little child. No excuse at all. My family, and doctor says that it takes years for victims of child abuse to overcome it. And, I have come a ways. Exposure to these pictures of the hospitals will help me overcome my fear of them. I thank the people who submitted them. Thanks a great bundle.-Mary
MauriceScannell - Report this comment
I do not have a picture, but I was born on the grounds at worcester state I lived at 269 belmont st the house was called prospect cottage my dad was the chief supervisor at the hospital I lived there from 1925-1940 when I went in to the army.I loved seeing the pictures thanks .
Mexis Ulrich - Report this comment
My mother was in Worcester and I do remember visiting her. I was still young then, but I will never forget the big doors and the small room she was kept in.I never wanted to go and visit her, because I was so afraid of the people end the whole setup. I do remember an old lady singing in her room as she heard us walk past. and as soon as you"d stop, she would stop singing. I really don"t think my mom was crazy, I think she just suffered from severe depression. There was no sign that she was a lunatic. She kept saying to my dad "get me out of here, please! nothing is wrong with me". And thats the last words I heard coming out of her mouth. Unfortunately I never saw her again, because my dad decided to move to South Africa. My mom was left alone. I can only imagine how she must of felt, hoping to for that every day you might see your family, and one day, they just never return. I just hope that she forgave us for leaving her alone.
I am a resident in worcester. and i have been to the worcester state hospital many times. weve taken many pictures , but havent yet gained access. hospitals we have been inside are Northapton and Metropolitan in waltham ,MA next on are list is Danvers figured id share
Sharon Yavorosky - Report this comment
In 1982 I did a nursing internship at Worcester State Hospital.It was a fascinating experience coupled by a daily view of the old, unused buildings which captured my fullest attention because of the beautiful architectural structure and an active imagination about if "those walls could talk..." Two of us befriende a social worker who was kind enough to take us on a personal tour through most parts of the old building before the fire. It spoke in and of itself of history, the patients and a milieu environment. We had the opportunity to find such treasures as glass negatives of former patients and old checks from the 1800's with the artistic wording of Worcester Insane Asylum. One day I did some marvelous black and white photography of the exterior on a rainy, foggy day which captured it's profound essence. I have since written a lengthy short story which I hope one day will be published. I think the clock tower has fascinated many who have seen it from a distance as well as close up.
Stef Fuller - Report this comment
Also once known as the Worcester Lunatic Asylum and the Bloomingdale Asylum, this psychiatric facility's history dates back to before the main building was built. On January 12, 1833, the old Worcester Insane Asylum opened, and was the first of it's kind built in the state of Massachusetts. It was build to hold 120 patients and when overcrowding became a problem, a new hospital was to be built - a massive structure laid out in the Kirkbride plan. Construction began in 1870 and the newly built Worcester State Hospital opened seven years later. Designed by architect Ward P. Delano of the firm Fuller & Delano of Worcester, the flagstone and brick building stood four stories tall, and between the 500 foot wings stood a beautiful clock tower, looming above the administration building. The building seems to reflect more of a prison complex in the styles, layout, and sheer size of the institution. On an interesting note, Sigmund Freud visited the hospital in 1909 during his only trip to America. A massive fire engulfed the Kirkbride building on July 22, 1991, destroying almost all of the roof and floors, save for the right most wing and the administration building. The hospital still functions as a psychiatric facility in a large, newer building near the Kirkbride. Again my great grandfather was the Fuller from Fuller & Delano of Worcester and I have seen all the sketches of the building that his firm made and still have them some place in storage. I will see if I can find them when I clean out this summer.
Stef Fuller - Report this comment
Oh and the movie Session 9 was filmed in Danvers at the Danvers State Hospital not in Worcester at this building.
Stefanie Fuller - Report this comment
Once known as the Worcester Lunatic Asylum and the Bloomingdale Asylum, this psychiatric facility's history dates back to before the main building was built. On January 12, 1833, the old Worcester Insane Asylum opened, and was the first of it's kind built in the state of Massachusetts. It was located on 1833 and in the first year alone 164 patients were received. Overcrowding became a problem, and Merrick Bemis, the superintendent at the time, called for the construction of a new asylum - a massive structure laid out in the Kirkbride plan and located on Belmont Street. Construction began in 1870 and the newly built Worcester State Hospital was completed in 1877 at the cost of well over a million dollars. Designed by architect Ward P. Delano of the firm Fuller & Delano of Worcester, the flagstone and brick building stood four stories tall, and between the 500 foot wings stood a beautiful clock tower, looming above the administration building. The building seems to reflect more of a prison complex in the styles, layout, and sheer size of the institution. On an interesting note, Sigmund Freud visited the hospital in 1909 during his only trip to America. A massive fire engulfed the Kirkbride building on July 22, 1991, destroying almost all of the roof and floors, save for the right most wing and the administration building. The burned out shells of the other areas were bulldozed and the extra stone was used to seal up the gaping holes left by the connections to the remaining sections. The hospital still functions as a psychiatric facility in a large, newer building near the Kirkbride, which now threatens to close as well. In 2004 a proposal to build a new facility on this property was put into the works and calls for all of the remaining newer and old building to be torn down. The current patients in the newer building have no air conditioning and the room tempters get up to and over 100 in the summer. Erecting the new hospital will take the place of both the current Westboro and Worcester State hospitals. Summer Again my great grandfather was the Fuller from Fuller & Delano of Worcester and I have seen sketches of the buildings that his firm made and still have them some place in storage. I will see if I can find them when I clean out this summer. One last thing the Movie Session 9 was not filmed in Worcester as someone had stated it was filmed in Danvers State Hospital Danvers MA. As of June 2006, all of the Danvers State Hospital buildings that were marked for demolition have been torn down, including all of the buildings on the lower grounds and all of the buildings on the hill except for the center most sections of the Kirkbride building. Housing properties will be located on the former grounds available for rent/sale if they are not already.
Taylor Phillips - Report this comment
The west wing of the hospital along with other parts of the hospital were either condemned or burned down. Permission from the city was granted to fox film corporation for the filming of an episode of the X files to take place in the building.
my friends and I are taking a tour of most of the abandoned psychiatric buildings on the east coast since we live next to Kings Park,Central Islip,and Pilgram Psychiatric Centers we wanna get out and see the other ones. this one is on our list to check out
Patricia Schlag- July 01, 2007 - Report this comment
I had two Great Aunts placed in Worcester State Hospital for the insane. They were placed there by someone we don't know who. Elsie Lincoln in about 1915 at age 22 or 23 and Caroline Lincoln on May 13th 1921 age 25. No one would talk about them ever. It is a very sad story they both lived to be over 80. Their father abandoned them as young girls and their Mother had a hard time bringing up her four daughters. I can not imagine the horror they must have been through. We don't even know were Elsie is buried.
Shirley Burchfield- July 08, 2007 - Report this comment
For all of you who had relatives at WSH and are trying to get their medical records, let me tell you of my experience. Maybe I was just lucky and talked to the right people at the right time, but maybe this will help you. I needed Aunt Isa's death certificate to prove that she was indeed my aunt. No one alive knew that she was there. She had just dropped out of sight, but I found her in the 1920 census. Everyone thought she was a dressmaker in Boston, so no one believed that this person in the listed in the census at the State Hospital could be the same person. I talked to a very helpful person in the Worcester City Clerk's office. I was assuming she died there and gave her a date range of about 20 years. She happily checked their records and within just a few minutes was reading me her death certificate. It was indeed my aunt. I then called WSH to find out how to get her medical records. I needed to have myself appointed a "volunary executor" for medical records only. This entailed driving to the City Hall, getting the death certificate, walking next door to the courthouse and filling out the paperwork, handing over $120 and within minutes, I was appointed her voluntary executor. I then just needed to mail a copy of the death certificate, together with the court order to Worcester State Hospital and within 6 weeks I had most of her records. They even included an original photo of her that was in her files. It is the only photo known to exist of her. They were absolutely wonderful and helpful to me. Good luck to all of you. Don't give up.
jenna- July 16, 2007 - Report this comment
does anyone have directions or where it's near?
laura- August 21, 2007 - Report this comment
does anyone know if it is still open or if not can you go there?
cas- September 20, 2007 - Report this comment
A relative of mine was an inmate there on several occasions. He was a Civil War Vet and suffered PTTS from the Battle of Fort Fisher. I have a letter from 1865 noting his presence there in CW pension records. The letterhead, "Worcester Lunatic Hospital" is even unsettling. He was in and out all the remaining years of his life; the last mention we have is 1900 census records placing him there. Go here for some awesome picture of WSH both inside and out:
Bob Gordon- November 04, 2007 - Report this comment
Worcester State is an amazing series of buildings. I had seen a few pics online and decided to go and check it out for myself. I was glad to see the constant presence of police driving around through the campus - a place like this needs to be protected and saved. Unfortunately, it seems that most of them become the victim of short-sighted city officials, who always seem to forget the history and amazing architecture and think only of potential profit NOW...This is how Northampton State Hospital was lost, and no matter what, we can never get it back. This place was devastated by a fire many years ago, but the buildings that are left are still beautiful and they stand as monuments to our history. I would love to be able to gain access to the inside of the hospital to take pictures, just in case some idiot politicians and developers decide to rip it all down instead of saving it.
Jane- December 10, 2007 - Report this comment
Reading all of your stories have been most revealing about the history of the WSH. My mom worked for a time as a Nurse's Aid in the late 50's so I remember her talking about her experiences there. Plus over the years there was talk of some people walking about and hearing someone say that they actually lived at the WSH. But some of your stories are quite sad because of what people could do back then as far as having someone committed for no apparent reason other than to get rid of them because you can't deal with them. It's too bad that these buildings were taken better care of over the years because they are beautiful pieces of craftmanship. It's too bad also that Martin Scorsese could not film his next movie there because of construction that will be taking place on the property at the same time that he wants to film. Can we get a petition going about this?
Kari- January 14, 2008 - Report this comment
I am a student at Mississippi State University. I am researching the culture of early asylum/state medical would be very helpful if any of you who knew someone in this facility (patient/faculty) could chat with me over email. i am very interested in this side of the story. i think personal accounts are the only way to know the truth. thanks! please respond to this if you would like my email; or if you would like to correspond over this page
wayne- March 22, 2008 - Report this comment
Kari, email me @
Danielle Hergenrader- March 22, 2008 - Report this comment
Grew up in Shrewsbury and remember Worcester State Hospital very well. My grandmother Grace Joubert worked there for many years as an LPN on a locked ward and used to tell us some interesting stories of her day. My Uncle Patrick Hehir worked there as well in the laundry dept., he was the Supervisor/boss. and my father Bernard Ducharme (Duke) also worked there as well in ground maintance. So sad to see such a wonderful pierce of work reduced to just one building and with such a sad history for some. I hope they at least try to save this last structure so least we never forget what once was.
Mike- March 29, 2008 - Report this comment
I have been working up at the WSH complex this week. I have been in the old tunnels and in the old buildings, getting them ready to be demolished. The Clock Tower and a few other buildings are staying. The buildings are very DANGEROUS. There are holes in the floors and the ceilings are coming down. I get a deep sense of sorrow when I go into these structers. The tunnels are wet, creepy and have four legged creatures in them (raccoons, ect..). I beleive that the new complex will be a much better place and the treatment will be better for the patients.
Heather- April 04, 2008 - Report this comment
I have stumbled upon this page because i do look for haunted places to investigate the history of. I am amazed and astounded by what i have read thus far. I would love to speak to some people who have worked/known someone or had family there, and if anyone know more about the fire that would be fantastic. I do have email and Instant Messenging. Please share your stories with me if you are willing i would appreciate it hmf5722 @ (omit spaces) May 29, 2008 - Report this comment i ve been obsessed with the buildings 4 years
Lauren T.- June 15, 2008 - Report this comment
Pete Talor, Stefanie M Fuller, Erica (whose grandmother was Lillian Reinholdt), and Pam B. I was very intrigued by your stories and relatives who either were patents of Worcester State Hospital or worked there for a number of years. I am a student and very interested in their stories so if you ever see this message please email me at Lauren T.
BUBBA- July 01, 2008 - Report this comment
i weent herrre...
jake- July 05, 2008 - Report this comment
used to jog up there before the fire in 91. I was with a friend and we were jogging around back, near that weird circular merry go round of johns looking thing(what the hell is that anyways?)and some loud eerie sobbing was coming from inside..yes, it was loud..coming from a totally boarded up place..well, either someone was screwing with us or someones soul is forever interned there...
Jenn- July 16, 2008 - Report this comment
I am wondering if anyone can tell me where the insane asylum is in fitchburg ma. please email me and let me know. i hear that it is haunted and i wanted to check it out. my email address is
Fedora- August 19, 2008 - Report this comment
If anyone is looking for more information on Old Worcester State Hospital (one of the original Kirkbride Buildings) there are fantastic pictures here: There are two galleries of the building, one done a few years back, and one done shortly before the demolition of the building. The building was being looked at by Paramount Productions at the end of last year for the filming of "Shutter Island" (directed by Martin Scorcese) however the filming was not allowed to take place here due to the fact that it was in preparation to be demolished. ( For anyone looking to view the building/what is left of it: The building is located on Belmont Street (Rt. 9) in Worcester, beside the newer Worcester State Hospital, and behind Abbott Bioresearch Center. The clock tower can be seen from many parts of worcester though, namingly the dining room of Vinny T's down by Lake Quinsigamond.
Anon- September 22, 2008 - Report this comment
Wow, I was a patient at the state hospital a few years back and i knew someone there called Andy Delano...
Jim- October 27, 2008 - Report this comment
My parents met at Worcester State Hospital in the 1930s. My mother was a nurse and my father an orderly. Interesting to see these pictures. I intend my autobiography to start with the phrase "My parents met in an insane asylum..."
Marybeth- November 02, 2008 - Report this comment
To one that commented that the movie Session 9 featured Worcester State Hospital- that is incorrect- It actually features Danvers state hospital which has now mostly been converted into a housing complex.
dave millbury mass.- November 09, 2008 - Report this comment
i can relate to the fire because i started it totaley by mistake i was on the clock leagaly punched in scraping stainless steel out of the condemed cafeterior section of the old galley we were three bodies only the boss 80 years old stands and observes charlie and i do the work we are cutting stainless with full permishion as this is far from our visitwe were running oxy acetalene cutting torches to harvest stainless steel from the main kitchen where during the 1920s all the meals were prepared for the inmates which could have numberd up to three thousand many mounths before the fire my crew was responsible for i explored the entire building from the inside alone second visit i was acompenied by a female i worked with we fought our way to the dungeons in the lowest levels of the catacombsflashlight in hand two stories below ground level offers no windows and no light if you can get in alone fight your way to the lowest level this is where i observed underground holding cells with stone floors stone ceilings and stone walls and one small drainage ditch in the middle of the floor the cell was to be totally dark there were no bars on the base level cells the doors were cast iron square on the bottom oval on top no window and one food slot 18 inches wide by five inches tall i stood at the end of this atrocity and gazed on down the hall i quickley estimated seventy holding cellsthirty five on the left and thirty five on the right the visual was very sugestive and profoundley disturbing ican onley guess this section most likley seen its last inhabitants before the turn of the century moving up one level you are still below ground level if you look up to the apex of ceiling meets wall you see some sunlightfirst sign of ground level window strange medical equipment on this leveli wittness first hand most times alone stainless steel bathtubsnot for the general population numbers are limited to three tubs again population 3000 on the average im may be spittballing here and i have no proof i am guessing the tubs in question contained water and ice to instill hypothermia in a subject known at the time to cure many types of mental disorders moving across the hallstill in complete darkness sits an examanation room mind you we are still in the cattacombs and here is the reason i fought my way down in the first place looming out of the dark like a septer wasthe chair nothing like i had expected it was more sinester it held an air of doom torture travels many avenues i believe such things will quite possibley go to the level of medium discomfort at the norm and major discomfort at the extreme who can tell? moving right along totaly alone without a guide or other human let me proceed to the first level above ground there are five to follow alldormatories with iron bars over all windows it looks like a russion gulag sincerley for those of younot familiar with the visual on a russian gulag in generaldownload photos of the worcester insane asylem i have been in many times and usualy go alone during the fall of 1991 i was 33 years of age my boss was 83 years of age my right hand man and helper charlie was 53 years of age there were no other employees on our team at any time my boss went to the powers to be in the city of worcester mass. and asked if he could haul abandoned metals to scrap? they said one truck and one visit per day nothing more cool for an elderly senile old bastard we were in well chuck and i haul the oxegen and acetalene tanks and hosesin to the cattacombs devoid of light and we visulize the galley about as simpleas visulizing the lower decks of the titanic during her desent we set up our equipment and prepared to cut meatal charlie was at the controls charlie and i go back a ways this has longjevety charles was cuttin stainless in the old galley i was running for water in five gallon buckets to pour very slowley on areas that threten to smolder like incence will but wont bust out in flame the old steam pots as large asthree 55 gallon trash canscombined are suspended over a sturdy plywood deck cool in theory however not today the ply wood was begging to decompose therefore producing decomposed woodpowder thatwill smolder viciosley without a visable flame we dragged 700 poundsof stainless that morning it was not our first visit we left at 3pm charlie called me at 6pm and said turn on your tv to ch six and the baloon went up iin the course of fast time i was responsible for the biggest fire being a nine alarm to sweep the county or state for that mater weren runing hot stuff in there and fire broke out one hour after we went home
dmonahan- December 19, 2008 - Report this comment
it was an incredible blase bar none we managed to leave a fraction of the existing building thank god
Lizzy- January 13, 2009 - Report this comment
I work there and i've been pushed down the stairs and heard screaming and crying! I'm a nurse and I think I will quit my job. I've seen tools they used to torture people and it's so sad.
Lizzy- January 13, 2009 - Report this comment
I work there and i've been pushed down the stairs and heard sobbing. I've seen the tools they use and it's so sad. I've been in the tunnels and and many of the old rooms. it still looks like someone sleeps in the bed. The graves are sad to there are only numbers no name. I am a nurse there and take care of people. I'm quitting my job.
Karen- January 13, 2009 - Report this comment
I work there too and I'm quitting my job! I've been locked in aroom for an hour I've been pushed down a garbage shoot and I heard moaning and screaming and loud bone crunching noises. it was the worst expierence in the world. I feel bad for you!
Steph- February 09, 2009 - Report this comment
I've visited this place twice. Sadly I never got to see it when it was still a whole structure, but I did see the last of the buildings before they were destroyed, leaving only the clock-tower building to remain. I find it in so many ways, Impressing,oppressing and depressing. So many people were subjected to miserable lives and death in that place. Many I'm certain that were perfectly good people, but from all the story I've read so far it only leaves my insides buckling, like I'm about to cry.-The tightening feeling in your thought.. I am 27 now, but when i was either 6 or 7 years old, my parents decided to have me put under psychiatric observation at U-Mass memorial. It must have been the mid to late 1980's, and this hospital was almost right next-door from that creep show on the hill. Why my parents placed me in there is anyone's guess.You can imagine today I'm somewhat angry about it. Like any other little girl I was simply a child, but because I did not have any friends and wrote my name backwards apparently bought me a one way ticked to the 4th floor ward of U-mass for what was planned to be 3 weeks. I remember the first room they put me in was at the very end of the hall on the right, and in that room every night after five I had a picture window view of the sun setting behind that haunting clock-tower up on the hill. At some point I just had to ask one of the nurses what that place was and they told me. it scared me.I was young, but not young enough to not be unable to make the association between the mental ward I was on, and the mental hospital up on the hill. The entire site of it has me both curious and creeped out at the same time, but what scares and sedans me most is how much I can relate to the poor souls that once dwelled that place. While I might not have ever been treated with high voltage shock therapy, or spun around in a chair hanging from a sealing, I was locked in a little room one night. I never forgot about the shots, the blood drawings, the odd medications and tests they kept running me through. Everyday meant a new activity of some kind.I knew what it was to be the only sane person among a bunch of insane children. I knew what it was to look out the window the way those patients once did and wonder how I ended up where I was, wondering why and weather it was because of something I had done wrong, when the next time would be that my family visited, weather the next visit would be someone to help pack my things and bring me home.How desperate I was to be home with my family where i could play in my back-yard with my sister and sleep in my own bed... I was dismissed close to 2 weeks early because my parents knew it was destroying me. But by then it was pretty late, and to this day the scar still runs deep.
verneice richard- February 10, 2009 - Report this comment
My dad worked there for years, 1960's to 1997, had to quit for cancer took him on. He was a head cook, name Clyde Newell, He loved it when the kids were there. He said one little girl would always come in and give him a flower and say thank you for a good meal
Heather- February 15, 2009 - Report this comment
I want to thank Shirley Burchfield for her comments. I had a great grandfather who died in Worcester State in 1923. I knew from his death certificate where he died but I didn't know how to research further. I followed what Shirley did. I became an executor of his estate through Worcester Probate Court for $130.00. I then submitted that document to the Worcester State Hospital Medical Records Dept. They informed me that they had all records. None were shreaded. I was shocked. I work in the medical field and records may be destroyed after seven years. After 8 months of back and fourth between medical records, I had given up. Then I received a phone call that they found his records. I received 20 pages of interesting records about him and even some good secrets. Of course, it opened up pandora's box. Thank you, Shirley, for your post.
Chris B- February 18, 2009 - Report this comment
Festus Boombarlard!
Jen H.- February 21, 2009 - Report this comment
Festus Boombarlard?
Judy D.- March 08, 2009 - Report this comment
ATTN: PETE TAYLOR - Our mothers had about the same work history at WSH. My mother, a nurse, worked there from 1960 to 1985. She also started as a social worker, so she could get home for our lunches, then as a nursing supervisor and retired as Asst. Director of Nursing. She just died 2/07/09 at 90 years old. I have found a folder containing a series of articles in the T&G about patient abuses at WSH. My mother "said" these articles resulted in an undercover operation by the State Police that resulted in a large roundup of people involved in multiple types of illegal activies that went on withing the hospital. This roundup occurred all on one morning at 6am, while the evening shift were sleeping and before the night shift left the hospital. the alleged abuses took place mostly during the evening and night shifts. There were 99 people arraigned and they used the worcester auditoriumas as the arraignment site. Do you have any info on these matters?
A- June 02, 2009 - Report this comment
my mother was a patient at worcester state in the 1950's. she was there for 5 years. she became pregnant while a patient there 3 times. i would like to know if anyone has had this same thing happen to them.
Bella- June 18, 2009 - Report this comment
To A above-I just recently found out that a friend of mine was born at WSH in 1968. His mother died years ago (before I met him) and I don't know the reason why she was there or if she became pregnant while she was a patient or what. My friend has kept this a secret all the years I've known him, I knew he was born in Worcester but not exactly where. I also knew he never met his father, but my friend and other members of the family all claim they knew who he was, and nothing else was said about the father. I was talking to his aunt the other day about birth certificates and she mentioned he was born at WSH, I didn't ask any further, I was a little surprised at the fact. I don't know if my info was much help to you, A, but I'm still suprised that children were actually born at WSH, wouldn't you think they'd send a patient in labor to another hospital to have a baby? Did WSH have a maternity ward? I'm going to ask the aunt for more info the next time I talk to her, I'm curious.
Scott L- September 08, 2009 - Report this comment
I know behind that area in the woods is a large stone tower, not the clock tower. It is about 60 or so feet tall. About 15 or 20 feet in diameter, and is located in a field. There are some small stone markers in the field grassy area. Is this a cemetary for WSH? Also, does anyone know what the stone tower was used for? I have always been told it was a crematorium but after reading the stories, it seems none existed.
Macy- September 20, 2009 - Report this comment
Im 14 years old and im doing a project. I was wondering if asylums had different places/sections for different kinds of mental people. for example people who thought they could see the futuse, was there an entire house full of them, or were they mix in with every other person? thank you for the information, it helps olot with my project !!!
anyinfo- September 27, 2009 - Report this comment
I'm wondering if anyone out there knows information about a man who committed suicide while he was a patient at the Worcester State Hospital. This would have happened in 1973 or 1974. He got off grounds and ended up on a bridge over the highway?
Marc- October 07, 2009 - Report this comment
I spent many of my summers as a kid in the early 60s at the house of a doctor who worked at the hospital. The house was across the street from the hosptial. We were told not to play up on the hospital grounds. Instead we played on our side of the street, which probably was Plantation St, although at the time it was much smaller and quieter than today -- as kids we could cross the street ourslves. On our side of the street there was the doctor's house, some garages and maintenance sheds and a long dirt road leading down to a cow barn, where we would peek in and watch the animals, and then down to Quinsigamond Lake. Most of the area now occupied by Memorial Hospital and the Medical School were corn fields. The irony for me is that I have visited the medical school many times over the last 10 years for my work, and never realized until now that it was the same place I spent my summers as a kid.
Richard Ayres- December 24, 2009 - Report this comment
On the east side of the hospital grounds, there are miles of stone wall boarders, to be seen. all of these well built stone walls was built by one patient, who spent his full life there.
Alyssa- January 10, 2010 - Report this comment
I live in Grafton, where there is also An old state hospital that is now occupied by Job Corps.although there are numerous buildings that are left abandoned. I want more than anything to get inside both of these buildings. If there is anyone else intrested in getting a group together to make this possible please email me. I am intrested in taking pictures. my email is
Paul- January 31, 2010 - Report this comment
I remember a childhood friend who was voluntarily admitted as a 'daypatient' sometimes in the70's -he eventually committed suicide I heard -I visited thelace a few times...zombied folks sitting wearing a helmet of somesort...this had to be one of the most foreboding places to end up - if you weren't insane went you went certainly were before you came out!
Sandy- March 07, 2010 - Report this comment
Back in the late 1940-1950s, my birth father's (Harry Gagne) wife was there. Her name was Helen Pratt Gagne. Is there anyone out there that can shed any light on her? Harry had got together with my birth mother (Ida Cyr) and they had 3 children together. I'm trying to track down Harry and Helen's 5 children--Raymond, Richard, Arthur, Joan and Carol. Anyone know anything on these people?
Erica- March 16, 2010 - Report this comment
My Grandmother (I believe her name was Solange Dobson) also spent approx. 20 years in Worcester State Hospital. I think she was admitted in 1944 and stayed their until she passed away. She was pregnant with my father when she was admitted. She gave birth to him in July of 1944. After he was born, they handed him to my grandfater. I know he tried to go visit her once and they wouldn't let him see her. Has anyone had any luck getting copies of records? And if so, How did you go about doing it?
theresa- April 10, 2010 - Report this comment
i had a cousine who was in and out on a volintery bases for 20 years she was 45 when she surpose to have commited suiced afture getting a pass to leaveto go shopping. they found her 3 days later dead in the river down from the hospital, she had no marks on her or broken bones her insides were perfect for a women her age . so her you have a patiencewith a perfic body and no lake water in her lungs but they say she drown and commited sueicid blu crap i went to get her death certifercate 15 years later and it hadent been sined and said it was pending .also at this time alot of patence were coming up missing like 115 in less than 3 months and 2many suacides and people started to ask ? and the nrws paper started to about all these so called problens and why .now im talken about 1986and thene a few years later they stared to talk about closing it down do to money problems bull crap , they bwere getting scard that some body would find out there dirty secrets of the fact pepole were missing and dieing because of thereso called help so all i got to say is ill be checking out this problem god willing i can get the money to do iti or were going to be told on and some one mite determined to prove my cousine didnt commite suicied. so if any one out there wants to help and get answer come gone me.because i no she didnt kill her self as i am beathing.god bless all who have lost some one to this god off f.ull place called a hospital and all those unmark graves got nows howmany soles were lost from them nuts called doctores
June- May 20, 2010 - Report this comment
My grandfather was an inmate at Gardner, Worcester, MA in 1910 and a patient at Westminster, Worcester, MA in 1920 according to the U.S. Federal Census for those years. I cannot find a death record on him and would like to know where they buried their patients. His name Was Henry N. Trask and he was about 65 in 1920.
7 hills- May 26, 2010 - Report this comment
Hello. People often fail to realize how massive that building was. I was in the new section of the hospital for a period of 4 years. In a youth program.... I have been through parts of that beautiful building. Seen massive wood fired ovens that u could stand up in . A cafeteria, intererior courtyards with trees growing in them. The showers had Marble dividers. Massive carved oak tables . one with like demon claws on the bottom. lots of stuff left inside. This Hospital was was state of the art at the time. I have also seen the left over electronics for shock therapy. My few short visits through the interior were too brief. I wish i could have done a proper exploration. The granite blocks that made where used to make this building where the size of volkswagon beetles . It was a castle. I was also there during the fire and subsequent tearing down. Dave from millbury MA is full of it. No one ws allowed to cut scrap or anything else out of there. It was placed on the historical register. That is a blessing and a death sentance to a historical building. Cause no one is allowed to tear it down. But, on the other hand, no one is allow to maintain or fix it in screwed up MA. All the beauty and craftsman\\\\\\'s ship was left rot . Not that there was much to rot it was all granite and steel for the most part. Except the roof.. this was a 5 story ediface in stone. The city wanted to do something else with the grounds. This hospital it self was visited by kings and queens and had the rarest tree collection on the ground . The trees being gifts. The would have been no salvage allowed in any case. The city and state could have made a mint just by having antiques auction for heck\\\\\\'s sake. Anyway, trouble was city local wanted to use it or tear it down but it was a historical landmark. Now the story at the time was a \\\\\\'mental patient\\\\\\' got into the records room near the clock tower and started the fire cause he thought it was the new building. However on this day \\\\\\'conviently\\\\\\' they had shut off the big water line up the hill . they were working on the lines down on Plantation or Belmont i don\\\\\\'t remember. So when the fire started the fire trucks could only use the water on the trucks to fight the fire. The Roof and the roof only burnt for the next 8 or 9 hours. could see the smoke miles away. The fire trucks mainly were contained in the front . It being hard to have access to the rear at that point. Which is why the clock tower is still up. Oh and the fire started in the morning not the evening. . The Roof burnt .Basically. And i watched as they tore the rest of it down . It took months to power through all that stone. Bottom line for me I suppose is this. The Death of that old castle was planned and executed by local authorities to get around the historical listing... Offically "vagrants" were blamed.
Ann- June 22, 2010 - Report this comment
I had a college professor who said he was taken to the WSH by his parents because his lack of emotions scared them. He didn't really venture into what went on there, but he moved with his family to Worcester around 1970 (which means he was 6 or 7 at the time) Sometimes I wonder if he simply was taken there for therapy, or if it had been more long-term. The place looks frightening.
Mary H.- July 05, 2010 - Report this comment
I grew up not to far from WSH. The sad thing that I witnessed while visiting there was the number of people put there because they had epilepsy. It was a very sad place to visit.
KIM- July 20, 2010 - Report this comment
chris b- July 26, 2010 - Report this comment
the clock tower is being renovated
Paul- August 12, 2010 - Report this comment
Hillside Cemetery is located on Lake Street in Shrewsbury. It was once the site of a 120 acre Hillside Farm operated by Worcester State Hospital for the mentally ill. Patients who died at the hospital ended up being buried at Hillside. There are two sections with a total of more than 1,900 graves, each marked only by a concrete brick into which was inscribed a number. People from the Department of Mental Retardation's Glavin Regional Center are now replacing these bricks with flat granite stones that has the names and dates of the deceased.
Rae- August 12, 2010 - Report this comment
Is it possible to obtain records for a patient who died in this hospital in 1875? My husband's great-great-grandmother's death certificate stated she was a resident of Lowell, but she died in Worcester on 6 Aug 1875; the cause of death was puerperal mania (postpartum mania?). She did have a son in Sep 1874 who died in Lowell of diptheria shortly after she died in Worcester. Would records from that era still exist and where would they be held?
Tom Malamud- September 27, 2010 - Report this comment
I grew up on the grounds of WSH during the '40's and have many memories of the people I met; patients, staff, and families. I remember the stone mason and the many state employees he supervised in making stone walls, using no cement, many of which walls stand today. I remember when many of the staff (attendants, maintenance, kitchen, housekeeping, garden,etc) went off to WWII,their places were filled often by "trustee" patients, who, while they did these jobs well, were reduced to patient status after the war when the staff returned. Of course, I have many other memories, and I am very interested in hearing from others who remember that period, and might be interested in collecting these experiences into a "bank" which might provide thoughtful learning for the current mental health field. I will add that I have made the mental health field my career, having spent nearly 50 years helping to reintegrate those most severely ill back into the work, social, educational, and residential community. I would gratefully receive such memories at my email address:
Lynne- October 09, 2010 - Report this comment
Anyone heard of a Doctor Bointon who worked there in the late 1950s?
Katrina- October 29, 2010 - Report this comment
I am a graduate student at UB doing reseach into Kirkbride hospitals and their treatment programs. Some of you mention having papers or stories of family members if any of you would be willing to share with me please contact me at Thank you.
catherine- November 06, 2010 - Report this comment
I am interested in finding out more about my maternal grandmother, Monica Zulkus. I believe she was admitted in 1938 and died at WSH in 1963. To my knowledge she spoke only Lithuanian, and was admitted by the Shrewsbury police following a fight with her husband.Please email me: Thank you.
beverly- December 26, 2010 - Report this comment
I was told that my grandmother was in a psychiatric hospital in western Mass. for most of her adult life until she died. I think that was in the 1970's. My father would never talk about it as an infant he and his two brothers were victims of her mental illness. I am trying to learn if anyone knows or remembers Jeanette Burbank or maiden name Dubois? I would appreciate any info you may have.
Melissa- February 27, 2011 - Report this comment
My great grandmother worked at the hospital doing all the laundry. Her name was Eleanor Heath. I am in the process of trying to find any information on her or records of her working there. If anyone knows any information out there, please let me know Thanks!
jon doe- April 02, 2011 - Report this comment
Hi, Please everyone support and spread the word. The remaining Clocktower and Hooper Hall Turret are´╗┐ in grave danger of being demolished. Please help save an important and historic part of our past. worcester state hospital. like on f a c e b o o k
Ben- July 26, 2011 - Report this comment
does anyone know anything about an asylum in westminster massachusetts? i was running with my friends from the xc team in the woods when we found a road.. we followed it and we found what looked to be an old asylum in the middle of the woods surrounded by graves..
Terri- August 05, 2011 - Report this comment
I think my great grandfather, James Archibals, was a patient in Worcester some time between 1890 and 1895. I know he was transferred to Medfield Insane Asylum in 1895 or 1896 and died there in 1907. Am looking for any records of his existence in Worcester.
Dina Harris- August 29, 2011 - Report this comment
I grew up in Holden and spent many nights wandering the grounds of those beautiful, creepy buildings. My father did not like the fact that I was up there (for the obvious parental reasons). But he also found the place depressing. Turns out, my great-uncle, who had a stroke and suffered some depression after, stayed at the hospital for a brief time. One arm was paralyzed as a result of the stroke. One night, a nurse was attacked by another patient and my Uncle Bill saved her from strangling. Sad stories all around, especially the destruction of those beautiful buildings.
Kirby Wright- September 13, 2011 - Report this comment
Am trying to find out info on my Great Uncle PAUL FORD NOLAN, who was admitted to WSH in the 1930s and apparently died there in the mid to late 1950s. I have a photo of him standing in front of the hospital building and have uploaded this photo today on this site, thank in advance for any info--i'm at
Andraste- October 06, 2011 - Report this comment
We have to remember that WSH was functional until relatively recently. I worked with patients from the hospital in a day treatment program during the 80's. After extended psych hospitalization myself at UMMC, I was faced w/prospect of transfer to WSH. Even in the 80's, it was a pretty inhumane environment. I agree with posters who sense that it is haunted by the tortured souls who once inhabited it. It is a very sad history.
Jenny- October 07, 2011 - Report this comment
Was such a beautiful building. I hope Worcester preserves it's old structures. So much history to them. Worcester needs to know where it began.
Sydney- October 23, 2011 - Report this comment
I am writing an historical fiction work that takes place in WSH in the 1910s. I am desperately seeking anyone who can help me understand the day to day operations of the asylum. Even info in the 20s and 30s is fine as I can work backwards from there. Thank you!!!
Sarah D- November 17, 2011 - Report this comment
So as a nursing student I am currently doing my clinical rotation at WSH. It has such a long and colorful history about it but I must say... Some of the building still give me the creeps!
Roz Roberts- January 09, 2012 - Report this comment
Hi Does anyone know if there are any records of patients, & their deaths and where patients would be buried? I'm tracing my family history & think I have spotted a relative in the 1930 US census who was then in her 90's, so presumably died there as she was a spinster & as far as I know had no other relatives in the state. any suggestions/info? Roz
Janice- January 13, 2012 - Report this comment
My father was a medical resident at Worcester State Hospital in the early 1950s and my mother worked as a nurse in the Male Outpatient Department until I was born in 1955. My parents lived in one of those little cottages on the grounds and I lived there as an infant until my father completed his residency. Years later, while in high school, I was writing a paper on Louis Carroll and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Some people had proposed that he was mentally ill and/or a pedophile, so I went to the library there to get a copy of an article in a medical journal. It was scary with the locked wards and I remember a man dressed as a woman and wearing heavy makeup waiting on the other side of the locked door. Other people appeared to be in catatonic-like states. This was circa 1974. Other than that I went past it probably hundreds of times while growing up in Worcester and as a young adult and always admired the stately architecture. My father was a compassionate and caring young doctor in training at that hospital. I know he came away from there with definite ideas about the treatment of mental illness that he carried with him his whole life. Because of his experiences and training he was not a proponent of routine shock therapy and saw medication as a last resort - at least until new, safer, and more effective medications became available decades later. And the law allowed people to be involuntarily committed which he had mixed feelings about. There were abuses where people could get committed when they shouldn't be, but at the same time, severely mentally ill people aren't necessarily in the best state to realize that they need help. After leaving WSH my father had a private psychiatric practice in Worcester for many years. I grew up with the children of other doctors who also trained with my dad back then. Thanks for all the memories, even the sad ones. Those hospitals didn't always live up to their early expectations, but in their heyday they represented a hope for a better future for the mentally ill, one that unfortunately wasn't realized for many people who ended up there. Today in hindsight a lot of those treatment methods look barbaric. At the time they represented the best hope that medical science could provide. I'm sure others who have commented are right that there were abuses that took place, and that is truly tragic. There were also many kind, compassionate and caring people who tried to make life better for the people who ended up there. These old institutions had their place, and once they were all closed, there was no longer a place to house mentally ill people who needed shelter and a home. Now many mentally ill people are out on the streets homeless or locked up as criminals when what they really need is treatment. And the pendulum swings...
Pam- January 17, 2012 - Report this comment
I recently discovered that my great, great grandmother died at the "Worcester Lunatic Hospital" in 1884. Her son, my great grandfather, said he was an orphan. He either didn't know about his mother or didn't want anyone to know. I understand that virtually all patient records are still available. You need to get the patients birth certificate from the Worcester City Clerk and then go to court and be appointed a "voluntary Executor" in order to obtain records. Does anyone know where those that died before 1920 are buried? I understand that those that died and were buried are in a cemetery that is restoring the patient markers to reflect their names (currently there are only numbers). But I do not know where earlier grave sites are.
Samantha- March 08, 2012 - Report this comment
I was actually born at WSH in 1963 and lived there for the first few years of my life. My mother was a patient there when she gave birth to me. I have obtained over 500 pages of records from my time there. People need to look at the MKULTRA experiments conducted there and the Army's involvement. Dr. Ewen Cameron was head of research there and did horrendous experiments of patients. I also think that I may have been subjected to experiments as an infant involving ESP and LSD research. I have a huge story to tell but I don't know if I will ever publish it.
Rochanna- March 15, 2012 - Report this comment
Does anyone know who to contact to do a photoshoot in the old WSH asylum thats left? Who do you contact, please email if you know thanks
Robin- April 07, 2012 - Report this comment
I think my great uncle (Nick Galbrowski) did construction work there. My Grandma (Clara Zalneraitis - lived in Morningdale, then later in Worcester at the 'Project') used to always tell me when we drove past there, "Uncle Nick built all those stone walls", (all the way around the hospital grounds - all along Shrewsbury Street). I assume she meant he was on the crew, not that he did it all himself. Perhaps he was the crew foreman ... he built a lot of other stuff, in his life.
Shawn Jacobs- August 02, 2012 - Report this comment
I have been doing Genealogy research on my family for the last 6 years . I lost the trail on my Great Great Grandfather,Low and behold, he has showed up as a patient at WSH on the recently released 1940 census. His name is Dennis M. O'Leary. I am going to try and use some of the advice on this Blog to see what i can find out about him. Does anyone know if I need to be a resident of Massachusetts to apply as administrator. I currently live in PA.
Hannah- September 25, 2012 - Report this comment
Please, someone tell me who William T Voltair is?? He recently sent my mother a very disturbing letter from this mental hospital. It was 6 pages back to back full of satanic things. My mom has called this place, but they refuses to give us any information.I've never heard of this place in my life nor do we know who this person is, until we received this letter. PLEASE HELP!
Chrissy- October 09, 2012 - Report this comment
I wasn't a patient at Worcestor State Hospital but I was a patient at Westboro State Hospital from 1992-1995 on the Adolescent Ward. It was a very scary place to be as a teen, I can only imagine how the adults were treated. My only real memories are that of the so called quiet room and the restraints they used on us contenually for days. So sad that us "Insane" people had to be treated like that. If you were in the hospital at this time please post. I miss all my old friends (my real family).
Annika- January 12, 2013 - Report this comment
The same thing happened with my mom as Hannah's mom. (Hannah is the girl two comments above)
Nathan Dowd- February 15, 2013 - Report this comment
I used to go there when I was in High School around 2000-2001. It was pretty delapitated at the time and pretty spooky.
Debra- April 30, 2013 - Report this comment
My mom worked at the WSH in the 1960's. I remember my sister and I would ride our bikes up to visit her. Mom was kind and loving and they would give her the difficult patients and she would go outside with them. They were like lambs with her. I remeber visiting the clock tower once where she worked. The place had tunnels underground that were like prison cells. It is not a nice place, even though it is old. My mom told me stories of how some of the patients were treated and she thinks were even murdered by employees that worked there. I am glad it is gone. The ground are beautiful though.
Crystal Helton- July 22, 2013 - Report this comment
I have recently discovered that my GREAT grandpa (whom I never met) actually was a doctor at this hospital. My great grandpa adopted a boy, born feb 8 1925 who is now my grandpa. However we have no known informatoin about his birth, real parents or any info what so ever. I am trying to connect dots on where he came from. I want to know and I have become unable to sleep, and after reading several posts on this website I am not sure I am proud to say my great grandfater was a doctor at this hospital. If anyone out there can give me any advice on getting info on babies that were born because I am now beginning to believe my grandfather may have been born at this hospital. He never spoke of anything he knew.... Shame maybe? He knew and took it to the grave with him. Now I need to find out, I need to connect these dots or I will forever be in limbo. My great grandfather named leon emile duval shot and killed himself in 1938 he was 46 years old, I believe it may have had something to do with guilt. Thanks to anyone who reads this.
Samantha- September 10, 2013 - Report this comment
Crystal. I hope you see this comment. I do know that there were babies born at WSH because I was born there in 1963. I have my records. I contacted WSH in 2011 and they kindly sent me all my records. I was shocked they had me for the first 3 years of my life. What I do know if when your grandpa was there is when Dr. Ewen Cameron was research director at WSH. You need to understand who this man was and what he did: The experiments being conducted at the time in the mid to late 30's may be linked to why your grandpa wanted to check out. There is also a whole book about this place called Asylum by Dr. Enoch Calloway which you might want to read/
Kirby Wright- November 12, 2013 - Report this comment
I dedicated my Collection of Flash Fiction to my great uncle, who was a lifelong resident of the Worcester State Hospital. You can find SQUARE DANCING AT THE ASYLUM on Amazon.
jan dee- January 10, 2014 - Report this comment
remember going there as akid the patients woked large gardens on the land now U Mass med-also was my first job after graduation as rn- what a horror of a place already described here by others
Steve- May 30, 2014 - Report this comment
Doing ancestry work. A great uncle was a patient in the 1930s. Anyone have a site listing patient names and reason for being committed to Worcester State Hospital. e-mail : if you have such a site.
Michelle- August 04, 2014 - Report this comment
I work at a member service assoc for critical care nurses and today we received the same type of letter described in Hannah's comment above "Please, someone tell me who William T Voltair is?? He recently sent my mother a very disturbing letter from this mental hospital. It was 6 pages back to back full of satanic things."
MC- November 05, 2014 - Report this comment
Michelle and Hannah.. William Voltair was a resident at Worcester State Hospital for many many years. I know this because I was previously employed there. He's all talk....
Faye- November 07, 2014 - Report this comment
I am researching Worcester State Hospital because of a journal my mother wrote from her stay during the 1950's. I have one journal from age 45 written 6 years after leaving WSH. She was very angry about what went on there. The stories were hard to believe of the injustice she witnessed and experiences there. Maybe there is some truth to what she was writing about from the notes that people have left.
BH- November 07, 2014 - Report this comment
We received one of William Voltair's letters on September 5 at the Benicia Herald... yes, a newspaper in Benicia, CA! The letter itself, which is four pages front and back of very... interesting... ramblings, is photocopied. However the envelope is completely covered on both sides with more of his writing. I did a little research and I've seen mention of these letters as far back as 2010 so far. I wonder how long Mr. Voltair has been sending his message.
Jaken?- December 04, 2014 - Report this comment
My friend received one of Mr. Voltair's letters today. He has tasked me with finding out more. So far my search has brought me here.
Allison- December 11, 2014 - Report this comment
I work at a Radio Station in CA and we received one of William Voltair's letters today.MC it seems that he has sent many of these letters to many people. Is he currently in a facility that we can contact to help stop the letters? My email is
Sandi Downs- December 29, 2014 - Report this comment
This is sad to read all the posts with people who are trying to find out info about their loved ones without any luck. My grandfather Gaetano Corsetti was placed in the facility and I have been trying to get info. I was told died there and was buried there. But I am reading that the graves are only numbered.
Stoney- February 08, 2015 - Report this comment
2/8/15 My dad, Henry Stone, worked in the maintenance department during the 1950's and 1960's.
Mike C- February 21, 2015 - Report this comment
I was born in the State hospital while my biological mother was being treated there. 1959. Have some records they did elector-convulsive therapy on her while a patient. I was placed in a Catholic Agency for adoption with 1 of my brothers. I have papers stating my mother went to a square dance held there met a fellow named O'Conner another patient and I was the result of that brief union. I believe the dance was in Worcester but she could have been in another location prior to my birth in Worcester State Hospital. Even on my birth certificate issued by the City. Will be trying to obtain more records on bio mother whom passed in 2002 in a Waltham nursing home. Sadly my brother met her I never got the chance.They refer to me in communications as a secret and the shame my mother was put through. Her husband died in 1962 and knew I was not his child. Quite a story really all started ended up me staying in Worcester after being adopted and moved to Middlesex County near Tewksbury State Hospital no less were the Little League fields where. Thanks for letting me post.
Mary- June 09, 2015 - Report this comment
Mike, Please email me at I want to pick your brain about your birth circumstances. Thank you, Mary Croteau
Cheryl Daigneault- July 09, 2015 - Report this comment
My poor Grandmother was often a patient at this facility. She got shock treatments here. I was told whenever she was admitted they would cut her hair and shower her with a hose. I think in those days they didn't know how to handle people with severe depression. My poor Grammy would come home all drugged but I guess when it wore off she would be brought back. My Grammy has passed but I will never forget the stories that I was told about her illness. I will always love you Grammy. I wish life was different for you while you were here. Rest in peace in the loving arms of God.
Lynne- August 04, 2015 - Report this comment
The name I asked about before of a doctor may be spelled Boynton. My mother was there for two and a half years -- approximately 1955-58. Does anyone know who this doctor is?
Betty- October 08, 2015 - Report this comment
I was a patient there in the mid 1980s. I was raped by a patient. I came out of my room early in the morning to tell the nurse I had been raped by a patient who happened to be sitting nearby. The nurses response to me was "Shutup and go back to bed, he does that all the time." Yes, bad stuff happened here. It was a horrid place even in the 1980s. You don't have to go back to the turn of the century or even the 1930s to read horrible stories about MSH. I was here for about a week twice I think. I am 60 now. It was 30 years ago and it remains the most horrible time of my life. Memories that last a lifetime. Just Horrid. There were group showers. You were stripped naked and put into the shower when you arrived. The nurse there would just stare at you while you and the other women showered. You were thoroughly "examined" by that nurse after the shower. I remember the water was very cold and it just dripped out. You had to wash your hair with this really smelly shampoo and because of the lack of water, you couldn't really wash it out or get the soap off of you. I remember being put into a hospital gown with the back open, no underwear and no robe. The bed had no sheets or blankets. It was just a plastic mattress I slept on. That's the night I was raped. I also have memories of being in a bed in a room with about 30 other women. The people there were very very ill. I remember laying there so scared, my arms held close to my side, as I listened to the sounds of women masturbating all night long. I was sent there because there were no open beds at Cambridge City Hospital psych unit. I was only depressed. I was just depressed and I paid a huge price for asking for help that night in the ER. Nothing good happened in these buildings. Nothing good! I am sure many women were raped and probably murdered here even right up until it closed - by patients and staff. I wish I felt safe to leave my contact email here, I would gladly talk about other things that happened to me here. Being locked up, tied up and raped in this hospital has contributed to the PTSD I live with today. Tear down these buildings. Regardless of the architecture, this land carries with it nothing but pain. For the sake of those abused here, tear down these buildings and let the poor souls trapped here for years finally rest in peace. For those thinking I am just another "lunatic" locked up behind these walls, I am an RN. I was only depressed. Sorry this is so long. I just wanted you all to know the truth of this place. It took a hearing before a judge to get myself out of there. Only to return home, still depressed but now a rape victim as well. Nothing good happened on this land. I hope when they finally do tear it down, they leave the burial ground as a grim reminder of what happens (still happens!) to psych patients. People still die in psych hospitals all the time. They are still trying to pass laws to make people safer in state hospitals. To read current horror stories in these places, all you have to do is google.
Kevin Casillo- December 06, 2015 - Report this comment
I worked here in the early 1970's. As an orderly then, mu job took me al over the building and the entire campus. Although I could conjure up a few nighttime ghost stories, it really would not be fair to all the loving care these patients received around the clock. It was a teaching hospital then and some amazing residents and physicians provided exemplary care to even the most emotionally traumatized patients. The Registered Nurses, LPN's and PT's were some of the most dedicated I have seen. I remember nearly every name we cared for, the nurses and some employees from HR and the old canteen. The clock tower still stands as a testament to all those that struggled with their mental health and survived long before todays medication. It was a hospital designed to do what they did best, helping the less fortunate cope and overcome the disease and the stigma of mental illness.
Kevin Casillo- December 06, 2015 - Report this comment
Sandy, if it is the same Helen Gagne back in the 1970's I cared for I may be abe to help. Helen Gagne was approximately 50 -60 back then....Happy to help. Everyone LOVED her too!
Sue B- December 14, 2015 - Report this comment
My grandmother, Helen Bish was a patient here from about 1933 until she died 1968. I never met her but learning she must have had very bad depression from the death of one child 1928 and postpartum depression from another born in 1932. We finally found in in the census from WSH and where she was buried in Ware, Ma. Looking into getting her medical records...wish me luck!
E Dwyer- January 07, 2016 - Report this comment
Hello! I am doing my final project for history on the transition from almshouses (poor houses) to asylums. Specifically we are tracking a woman who lived in Wayland, and was repeatedly moved between the Wayland almshouse and Worcester Insane Asylum. I've read many of your stories about personal connections to Worcester, and I was wondering if any of you would be willing to contact me and tell me about your experiences?
Dane Hicks- February 24, 2016 - Report this comment
Interesting... I'm publisher of a weekly newspaper in Garnett, Ks., and received one of William Voltair's letters. Same format, scralled all over the outside in handwriting and several pages inside photocopied front and back- all raving about Jesus being the devil. Maybe he has a national media directory of some kind??
Tim Engel- March 28, 2016 - Report this comment
I'm publisher of a weekly newspaper in La Crosse, KS and I also received one of William Voltair's letters today. At first the pages looked hand written but after searching I found the exact copies on the internet.
Carla- July 21, 2016 - Report this comment
Hello, i too have worked at the WSH on Belmont ST. on ward 6 in 1979. when i worked there i had to escort a Pt. down to the shock therapy location of the building it was a scary place to walk around.
Pam- November 30, 2016 - Report this comment
Looking for info regarding births in 1967. I was adopted and believe I was born at WSH.
Jessica- December 17, 2016 - Report this comment
My great grandmother was placed here by my great grandfather. I know for certain she was there from 1935 until her death (I suspect at any rate) We do not know when she died. Her name was one variation of Margaret Amato Spadea or another.
Marna- June 11, 2017 - Report this comment
This is regarding the message by Pam 2 previous to mine. I was born in 1967, was placed for adoption from Memorial Hospital and lived with my family all my life. When my mother died in 2000 she told another family member that my biological mother had been in a mental institution. That is all the information I have about my birth mother. I am strongly considering requesting my original birth records to confirm what my mother told my sister, but at the same time I am afraid of what I may uncover.
Rose- August 03, 2017 - Report this comment
I believe the my mother was in this hospital for major depression during the 1950 or there about. I am looking for anyone who may have know of her. Her name was Regina Fidalgo. She often came home to visit and I do remember once visit to see her when I was very young child. If anyone knows of her or where I can find any of her records please respond.
Tony Taylor- November 12, 2017 - Report this comment
I was admitted to Worcester State in winter of 1972-3. I had graduated from a NYC high school and had won a scholarship to Yale. However my family dynamics were unfavorable and I experienced an adolescent crisis. I took art therapy in the basement of the Bryan building with John O'Reilly, a clinical psychologist and also a noted collage artist and photographer. Our small classes were a safe space to explore one's emotions by doing artwork. Insight therapy was limited to a small fraction of the inmates who were considerd educable. The rest were basically just warehoused. The lobby of the Bryan building was used as a patient lounge of sorts with lots of smokers in big arm chairs. I greatly benefited from creating pictures that symbolized my condition, and talking about my issues. One time I had an emotional breakthrough so vivid I had to lie on the floor because of a stomach ache. At first I had a "flat" or difficulty in feeling any emotion. Part of my therapy involved running laps in the stone Hooper Turret in the 1877 asylum building, which was connected to the newer Bryan building with a tunnel. The basement of the stone asylum was used as a corridor and there was a nice snack shop in the administration building. At lunch I would bring a portable tdio and walk up the hillside path behind the stone building. The path led up to the summit of the hill, which had a commanding view of the lake at the top of a cliff. I heard stories about the aylum's "summer people" who would check in for the summer, and "winter guests" who would be admitted for the winter. One female patient who would sing to herself bragged to me about having sex behind the curtain in the hospital chapel. She sung a funny song with these words: "Louisiana woman went to bed with a fountain pen/The rubber broke; the ink went wild/ and now she has a 'boogie-woogie' child. Also I remember a young man from a prominent beacon Hill family who went to Clark as a math major, had a nervous breakdown after people in the apartment building he was staying in got into a feud with teenagers from a nearby low-income housing project. He became distraught, wandered around town looking disheveled, and finally was admitted to Worcester State. Soon after, he pulled his eyes out. Living in the churning environment of inner city Worcester had unhinged him. His dad, who might have been the source of his emotional distress, tried suing the state, but lost. In 1909 Sigmund Freud visited the hospital while in town to deliver his historic lectures at Clark. He wrote in his journal of the neatness and beauty of south Main Street, where today's conditions are a mental health risk to its residents.
Crystal- January 25, 2018 - Report this comment
Samantha I am seeing your comment several years later. Thank you! I have learned getting records from an insane hospital is rather difficult. If you see this my email is Thank you again I will be looking into this.
Sandra Downs- March 20, 2018 - Report this comment
I believe my grandfathers name was Gaetano Corsetti and was a patient there. I saw a post before mentioning his name but I cannot find it now. If anyone is related to him on this page please contact me at
Irene- May 28, 2018 - Report this comment
I was born there in 1963 and given up for adoption. My BM has passed on, but I have no information about my BF. Is there any way to find out/confirm an inpatient name at that time? He's probably passed on...but I have a need to look.
Jen- June 16, 2018 - Report this comment
I have recently discovered my bio parents. And that my bio father may have been a patient at the hospital. He was released 1970. I am curious as to what kind of illnesses were treated there at the time.
M- September 25, 2018 - Report this comment
I'm responding to the person named "A" I have been doing some research on my family my grandmother stayed here in the 1950s I believe she also became pregnant at least once during her stay
Lisa- January 19, 2019 - Report this comment
My grandmother was in WSH from 1930 to 1940 and probably longer. She had 6 children at the time and an alcoholic husband. Her name was Mary Prokopovich. Her daughters (my mom was one and 2yrs old at the time) were placed in foster care. My grandmother eventually ended up in Metropolitan State Hospital, Lexington MA, where she died in 1968. I will be trying to obtain her patient records and thank those who have left some suggestions as to how to do so. State Hospital
Diane- March 09, 2019 - Report this comment
I am so thankful for this chance to reach out. My Grandmother was a patient sometime around 1935 until the hospital closed. (Grafton State Hospital)My father is 89 years old and cries to this day about his separation from his mother. He was placed in foster care and told she was in the hospital and very sick. He only found out by opening mail one day that she was institutionalized. He never spoke of his mother until I was 13. He was crying ...and told me of her death. He does not even own a photo of her and knows nothing of her diagnosis. I am trying to find any medical records available. Does anyone know anything at all about my grandmother. Her name was Jane E Punchard.
Amy R.- July 08, 2019 - Report this comment
On a 1922 map of Worcester, there is a Grafton State Hospital for Chronic Insane in Worcester (not Grafton) between Summer and Mulberry and on the south side of Central opposite where the County Jail used to be. Jeff Cote commented that there used to be two mental hospitals in Worcester, the one every knows about and the one on Summer St. Does anyone know anything else about this hospital?
Amy R.- July 08, 2019 - Report this comment
I found a book on Google from 1916 called The Institutional Care of the Insane in the United States and Canada, vol. 2, that has old information on both hospitals, but nothing newer.
ghiguera- January 02, 2020 - Report this comment
My great grandfather was a patient there in 1915 as was his wife in the 1929-30. My grandfather worked all his life until a few years before he died when he was placed in Gardner State. After his death my great grandmother moved in with my grandparents who lived in Athol. When my grandmother was pregnant with my mother they moved to New York where my grandfather had a job with the RR . I believe they could no longer care for her physically or financially so they placed her there she was only around 62 . She died in there too. I would some day like to find out more detailed info on both of their stay in this place. The only records I have is the 1930 census and telephone address stating my grandfather was in this place. He had relatives that were prominent in the surrounding areas he was from the Bates family line. Please post where you find your information so as to help others in their searches. Thank you
Jackie- July 30, 2020 - Report this comment
Hello, My Mother was born there in 1959. Her Mother was a patient there. Her name was Lucy Ducharme. She died there in 1985. My Mother went to foster care. We do not know who her Father was. We do know that he was a patient there. If anyone has any information that would be great. Thank you. My email adress is
Kristy Lord- August 23, 2020 - Report this comment
I just found my great great great grandmother died there at age 44 in 1912. Her daughter and husband were living with his parents in Worcester and working in a factory. Her daughter Eva was 11 when she died. 1910 census says that he was widowed but she was STILL ALIVE in WSH until 1912. So sad. I wonder if they told Eva that her mother was dead when she wasn't. I wonder what her diagnosis was, who committed her, did she try to commit suicide before maybe tried to kill her baby or lost a baby and was grieving. She died of paralysis and contributed by bed sores. She was admitted and died within 2 years of being there. When she was admitted her daughter was 9 yrs old. She was born in Canada and immigrated around 1860 with her parents. Name was Flora Caron Thibodeau. I can't find her marriage certificate. Would they have wiped it out? Her death certificate in 1912 says that she is married. He is alive and says he is widowed in 1910. Can anyone suggest any leads? Harvard University has all the WSH records in 2020. He childs name is EVA VIRGINIA THIBODEAU JOSLIN

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