Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital, Marlboro Township, New Jersey

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5QxUEgM6h7kq-531H9daNe3NI_bVqOVzE2C-215jGyEOn June 30, 1998, Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital closed, 67 years after it opened. Construction on the New Jersey State facility began in 1929, and the hospital finally opened in 1931. By 1995 the hospital treated approximately  780 patients and employed 1,157. Marlboro Hospital’s budget in 1998 was $68 million.

Designed to accommodate 500-800 patients, the hospital was built on a 468 acre campus, enclosed entirely by a perimeter fence. Although built in a primarily rural area, Marlboro Hospital replaced a large distillery previously on the property. There were  17 “state of the art” cottages and central buildings on the campus. Marlboro Hospital treated adults and children, but in 1978 the children were transferred elsewhere. Adolescent patients left in 1980.

DagT1s_gAvhVvpRXQ5fE7Q26RtHMSbmiB8BRveWkUuwMarlboro Psychiatric Hospital had a troubled history, including a food poisoning incident in 1973 that made 131 patients ill and killed four.  One female patient who disappeared  was found frozen to death outside. Another female patient choked to death on a peanut butter sandwich. A male patient died from blood clots after he was strapped to a bed for 80 hours over 5 days.

Marlboro Hospital finally closed after three years of opposition from unions, families of patients, and homeowners who did not want the hospital nearby. The hospital was also the first of its size to close pursuant to New Jersey’s plan to deinstitutionalize patients with schizophrenia, manic depression, and severe depression, among other things.

T0KBL5N41uMH9g2ItLayjx_KwnJHtFYHrPemcg8creAGreg Roberts, the chief executive of Marlboro, noted he was sad to see the hospital close, but not sad to see the patients moved elsewhere.  ’This is the kind of place people were talking about when they said someone had been ‘put away,’ ” Mr. Roberts explained. ”For a long time, that’s what happened — people were put here and all but forgotten.”

Carolyn Beauchamp, executive director of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey, was happy with the decision to close the hospital. ’For the most part, people go through the state hospitals rather quickly,” Ms. Beauchamp said. ”They are stabilized, they got some care and they were moved out. But the people who were in Marlboro a long time really suffered the most — they spent long periods of their lives locked away, not really learning anything new and getting just custodially cared for — and there is really no excuse for that.”

Photo credit: photo 1, photo 2, photo 3

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Posted: February 14, 2011

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Category: All, Lost Hospitals, New Jersey

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