The last standing building from the former Northampton State Lunatic Asylum campus…
Built in 1856, the Northampton Lunatic Hospital was the fourth Kirkbride building to be constructed; it originally consisted of a single three story brick building, designed in a Gothic Revival style, and had the capacity for 250 patients. Following the Kirkbride design, the central administration floors were flanked by two patient wings, one for male and one for female. After many different expansions and additions to attempt to relieve overcrowding, the building seems to have become a confusing maze of rooms and hallways.
At the turn of the century, the now renamed Northampton State Hospital housed 600 people in overcrowded living conditions. Infirmary wings were added to both sides in 1905 and frequent additions were made since, but the hospital remained congested and the old structure was decaying quickly. By the 1950’s, the patient population had peaked at over 2,500; the hospital began to serve only as a roof over the heads of the most unfortunate people, and the original ideals of “moral treatment” of patients were long forgotten.
In 1961, more patients were being discharged than admitted, and a slow deinstitutionalization process took place in 1978 and lasted 14 years. After many treatment reform efforts and legal battles, Northampton State Hospital finally closed it’s doors in 1993. During the beginning of the 21st century many of the buildings surrounding the main Kirkbride were slowly demolished. And after many failed attempts from preservation groups, the Kirkbride was finally demolished in 2007. Then, to add insult to injury, Mass Development, the company developing the former hospital site renamed it from “Village at Hospital Hill” to “Village Hill Northampton”.