Kings Park State Hospital & Cemetery

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO They’re Buried Where? by Seth Voorhees

On January 1, 1891, the farm colony at St. Johnland was renamed, Kings Park. On July 1, 1895, the Kings County Lunatic Asylum at Flatbush and Kings Park became the Long Island State Hospital. After 1895, Kings Park State Hospital served the counties of Kings, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk.

1851 Kings County Lunatic Asylum at Flatbush, New York.
The Lost Kirkbrides: Brooklyn State Hospital.
1916 Kings Park State Hospital.
Erasing the Past at the Ghost Hospital – New York Times.
Kings Park Psychiatric Center – OPACITY
KINGS PARK-STORIES FROM AN AMERICAN MENTAL INSTITUTION – A Groundbreaking New Documentary – Lucy Winer.
Kings Park Psychiatric Center’s Building 93 – AbandonedNYC – Will Ellis.

VARIOUS ARTICLES ABOUT KINGS PARK STATE HOSPITAL:
“Besides the regularly organized institutions, there are two asylums for the insane poor, which, as they are separate from the other almshouse departments, and receive a pretty large number of patients, claim attention in this place. During the last fifteen years, the insane in the Almshouse of King’s County, New York, the county which embraces the city of Brooklyn within its limits, have occupied a building erected especially for their accommodation, disconnected from the other edifices of the establishment, and at some distance from them. It is at Flatbush, and is called the King’s County Lunatic Asylum. The report for the fiscal year ending with the 31st of July, 1854, is signed by Dr. E. S. Blanchard, the resident physician.

Patients in the asylum at the beginning of the year: Men 74; Women 113; Total 187.
Admitted in the course of the year: Men 59; Women 78; Total 137.
Whole number in the course of the year: Men 133; Women 191; Total 324.
Discharged cured: Men 41; Women 81; Total 122.
Died: Men 14; Women 10; Total 24.
Remaining, July 31, 1854: Men 78; Women 100; Total 178.

Died of peritonitis, 4; phthisis, 3; cholera, 3; empyema, 3; diarrhoea, 3; exhaustion, 2; marasmus, 2: epilepsy,2; “typhoids,” 1; softening of the cerebellum, 1. But two patients in the course of the year were subjected to mechanical restraint. One of these had the suicidal propensity, the other was labouring under violent mania. Of the 178 patients remaining in the asylum at the close of the year, 134 were foreigners. It appears that some pay-patients are received, the expenses of 16 of those who were in the asylum during the year having been defrayed by their friends.

At the time this report was written, a new edifice, to be occupied by the insane, was in progress. It “is erected on the county farm, on a beautiful site, and commands many delightful views of the surrounding country. When finished, it will compare favourably with any other institution of a similar nature in the world. It is 250 feet in its extreme length, 84 feet in its extreme breadth, and the height to the top of the dome is 86 feet. The halls and dormitories present a light and airy appearance. The rooms are 7 by 11 feet. The height of the ceilings ranges from 14 to 10 feet. Each room is lighted by a large window, on the outside of which there is a light iron guard frame. The whole building will be heated by steam,” the radiating pipes being in an air-chamber in the cellar. “The entire structure is of brick, trimmed with stone. This establishment was opened on the 1st of November, 1855, under the medical care of Dr. Robert B. Baiseley. Although it was intended for but about 150 patients, yet, ever since it was opened, the actual number present has been as high as from 190 to 200.”
SOURCE: The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, Edited by Isaac Hays, M.D., Volume XXXIII, Philadelphia: Blanchard & Lea, 1857, Pages 164-165.

Kings county and New York county provide for their insane under special statutes. The former county provides for 800 or 1000 insane and the latter for over 1,700. On Ward’s island is situated the State Emigrant Insane Asylum which provides for the insane emigrants for the term of five years from the time of their landing in this country. This asylum furnishes accommodations for about 200 patients. The annual expense per patient in this institution is $150. The per capita cost of building $1,138 and the total annual cost, $22,500. There are upward of 500 patients in private asylums so that the insane population of New York state is probably not far from 7,000 or 8,000 at the present time. . .

The annual expense per patient in the two New York county institutions is in the New York City Asylum for the insane $92.89, and for the New York Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s island $73.84. The annual expense per patient in the Kings County Lunatic Asylum, situated at Flatbush, L. I., is $120. The total annual cost for these three county institutions for the insane is as follows: New York City Asylum for the insane, Ward’s island, $53,504 ; New York Lunatic Asylum, Blackwell’s island, $89,420 ; Kings County Lunatic Asylum, Flatbush, $92,400. . .”
SOURCE: Proceedings of the Conference Of Charities, Held In Connection With The General Meeting of the American Social Science Association, Detroit, May 1875, Tolman & White Printers, Boston, Mass., October 1875, Page 56.

“In 1885, the decision was made to purchase eight hundred seventy-three acres of farmland out on a rural stretch of north central Long Island in order to build a farming colony that would act as an annex for the hospital. Three temporary wooden structures were built on that land, until proper facilities could be later erected. These structures were located in the small village of St. Johnland, a part of Smithtown, which is located in Suffolk County, New York. The three temporary structures were used to house the first fifty-five patients of this new hospital annex.”

“In 1891, the town of St. Johnland changed its name to Kings Park. Many believe the name derived from the Kings County connection with the hospital, but that is not the case. The name actually came from the Long Island Railroad Station located on Indian Head Road, which had only changed its name when the St. Johnland Society complained about the railroad using its name without permission. The railroad station was renamed Kings Park Station and the town changed its name soon afterwards for the same reasons. By 1895, the asylum was taken over by the state, after complaints of corruption became rampant. It wasn’t until the year 1900 when it also took on a new name, as it became known as the Long Island State Hospital at Kings Park. Only five years later the name of the hospital was changed, again. This time it was named Kings Park State Hospital, which is the name it would maintain for many years to come, until the mid-1970s when it would eventually become the Kings Park Psychiatric Center.”
SOURCE: No Hope For The Hopeless At Kings Park by Jason Medina, Tribal Publications, Inc., Yonkers, New York, 2013, Pages 334-335.

As far as I know, there is no group for this cemetery and I have no idea where these deceased patients were buried.

I have created a page for each state hospital and custodial institution cemetery that I know of in the hope that some group: historical societies, former patients, concerned citizens, may be interested in forming their own cemetery restoration, beautification group in order to memorialize and honor the people buried in anonymous, unmarked graves. Of course, we need the names of these people to be released in order to memorialize them properly.

What you would need to do first is to find the forgotten cemetery, take photographs (which I would be more than happy to post), and organize your own group. You can also leave comments on this page in order to get more people involved. This isn’t something that can be accomplished in a few weeks, this will take dedication, an ongoing commitment, and lots of time.

1. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO They’re Buried Where? by Seth Voorhees
2. Cemetery Information at the NYS Office of Mental Health
3. New York State Hospitals, Custodial Institutions & Cemetery Projects.
4. New York State Senate Bill S840A-2015
5. HIPAA UPDATE March 2013!

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8 thoughts on “Kings Park State Hospital & Cemetery

    • The U.S. Federal Census is available at FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com. These will show the list of names of patients who were present at the taking of the census which is done every 10 years, but a list of patients who died and were buried on the property still remains in the hands of the NYS Office of Mental Health. As of today, March 12, 2015, the names have not been released to the public.

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      • Sad isn’t it? One would think they were hiding something. I found this great aunt listed on the 1925 but not the 1930 census. Can only assume she died there. Now there is no way to know for sure, her husband passed years before her, he is buried in Huntington Rural Cemetery in their Military section. Thanks for your reply. Joy

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        • I had an ancestor who died at the Kings Park State Hospital in 1941. She had Huntington’s disease and couldn’t take care of herself. We got a copy of her Death Cert from the Town of Smithtown. They said anyone that died in Kings Park was under the Town of Smithtown so you might try there for a record. My ancestor was removed for burial to the family cemetery in Bayville.

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        • My ancestor was in King’s Park because she had Huntington’s Disease and couldn’t care for herself. She died in 1941 at the asylum. We contacted the Clerk of the Town of Smithtown and were told that the death records for persons who died at King’s Park were held by the town. We were able to get a copy of the DC for my ancestor. Contact Smithtown and see if they can help you.

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  1. My ancestor died at King’s Park in 1941. She had Huntington’s Disease and was unable to care for herself so she was put there. We contacted the Clerk of Smithtown and were told that they held the death records for persons who died at King’s Park. We were able to get a death cert for my ancestor this way. If they have her death cert it should show where she is buried. Good luck.
    Marsha

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