Saturday, March 15, 2014

Northern State Hospital (Part 2)

The previous post included photos from a tour of the hospital and administration buildings at Northern State Hospital, a tour taken last autumn.  This post is of a visit to the 700 acre farm and cemetery, now a public park.  My wife, who had not been to the farm before, and I, visited as part of an day's outing for photography a few weeks ago.

When in operation the hospital was pretty much self-supporting with stables, a huge dairy, chickens and a fruit cannery which provided work and income for the hospital and its patients.  The fruit, mainly strawberries, was grown on the rich land at the southern end of the farm.  The cannery buildings are now the most dilapidated and dangerous of the buildings on the property

I had been to the farm a little over a year ago, but now found several buildings, the stables and one of the old cannery buildings fallen down.  There seemed to be a lot more graffiti also and considerably more deterioration of the buildings that were still standing.  We enjoyed exploring where we could and the weather was warm and sunny, so it was a veyr good day.

At the northeast end of the farm, the old cemetery has been cleaned up and a monument erected to the 1,487 patients buried there.  I found the cemetery a very sad place, the graves with small concrete markers that had only a number and a set of initials.  In its day, however, the place was a reasonably happy home for the patients, providing a decent life for them.

Because I have so many pictures to post (I had trouble leaving any out and we spent the whole morning and part of the afternoon there), I am going to do the farm and dairy buildings in this post and the outbuildings, the cemetery and the cannery in another post.  I hope no one is overwhelmed or bored by all the pictures.  I think they record something worth remembering.

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