Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, Morristown, New Jersey

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New-Jersey-State-Lunatic-Asylum-Greystone-Park-Psychiatric-Hospital-1The New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum at Morristown opened on August 17, 1876. Due to the efforts of Dorothea Lynde Dix, a nurse and advocate on behalf of better health care for mentally ill patients, the New Jersey Legislature eventually approved $2.5 million for the facility.

Located on approximately 743 acres of land, New Jersey’s second mental hospital was positioned near Morristown, Parsippany, and Newark. The hospital officially changed its name to Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in 1924.

Before Greystone, New Jersey’s only mental hospital was located in Trenton. The original 292 patients transferred from Trenton quickly led to an overcrowded institution in Morristown, accepting patients from the northern part of New Jersey. Indeed, just four years after opening, Greystone had a census of approximately 800.

New-Jersey-State-Lunatic-Asylum-Greystone-Park-Psychiatric-Hospital-3By 1887, the exercise rooms and attic space became areas for additional patient rooms.  Additional facilities were built in 1901, but it was still necessary to convert the dining rooms on each floor into living areas that same year.

By 1914, Greystone housed 2,412 patients. Even the flurry of construction projects over the years could not accommodate the patient flow. By 1953, there were an estimated 7,674 patients at Greystone. The surge was due in part to the veterans of World War II needing treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Insulin shock therapy and electroconvulsive therapy were commonplace.

The trend away from institutionalizing patients in the 1970s and 1980s started the decrease in patient numbers. Medications used to treat mentally ill patients also contributed to the decline.

By 2000, Greystone’s census was only 550 when the New Jersey Governor announced the facility would close, a decision due in part to the aging buildings, but also as a result of the poor publicity the hospital received. There were reports of sexual assault in hospital elevators, some patients committing suicide, while other patients becoming pregnant.

Only a few of the 30 buildings are still used, and the rest of the facility remains in disrepair or partially demolished.

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Posted: September 19, 2014


Category: All, Lost Hospitals, New Jersey


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