1896 State Care System Complete


The Governor has approved the bill creating the Manhattan State Hospital and providing for the transfer of the lunatic asylums of this city and the care of their inmates to the State. Thirty days are allowed for carrying its provisions into effect, and then the system for the State care and maintenance of the dependent insane will be completed, save for perfecting the accommodations and facilities required.

Sixty years ago all the indigent insane in this State whose friends or relatives could not or would not take care of them were sent to the county poorhouses. The care they got and the condition of their wretched loves may be imagined. In 1836 the State hospital at Utica was established for the reception and treatment of acute cases of insanity only. Nearly thirty years later, in 1865, the movement originated by the State Medical Society for the State care of the chronic insane was carried to partial success by the establishment of the Willard State Hospital. That was a formal adoption of the State-care policy, and was followed by the opening of the Hudson River Hospital, at Poughkeepsie, and the Homeopathic Hospital, at Middletown, in 1871, the Buffalo State Hospital in 1880, and the Binghamton State Hospital in 1881.

Instead of fully carrying out the policy thus adopted, the Legislature began to exempt one county after another from the operation of the act of 1865 and to permit them to retain the milder cases. It caused a relapse in about a third of the counties of the State to the old poorhouse system, with all its horrors. This was deprecated by the State Board of Charities, the Commission in Lunacy, and the State Charities Aid Association, and many reports and recommendations were made in favor of completing the State-care system and transferring all the dependent insane to the State hospitals, whose accommodations and facilities should be enlarged correspondingly. It was in 1886 that the State Charities Aid Association took the first active steps in formulating a plan and preparing for legislation. Its first bill was introduced in 1888 and was defeated. It was defeated again in 1889, but in 1890 it had rallied public opinion to its support with so much effect that the State Care bill was carried through both houses, in the face of vigorous opposition from county authorities, and was approved by the Governor. The same year the St. Lawrence Hospital was completed.

The act of 1890 established the hospital districts and placed the administration of the system in charge of the Lunacy Commission and the first special appropriation f $454,850 was made in 1891. This was for enlarging the facilities of the existing hospitals and preparing for the reception of patients from the county asylums and poorhouses. The three counties of Monroe, Kings, and New-York had been exempted from the operation of the act because they had adequate institutions of their own, but provision was made for bringing them into the system by their own voluntary action upon the transfer of their asylum property to the State. Monroe County took advantage of this in 1891, and her asylum was reorganized as the Rochester State Hospital. The first appropriation for maintenance of the system by a special tax levy was made in 1893, and amounted to $1,300,000, and by the beginning of 1894 the transfer from poorhouses and the miserable “asylums” of counties was completed.

New-York and Kings still remained outside the State system, though they had to contribute their share of the special tax for its support. This payment was contested by New-York, but not by Kings, and last year the act was passed which took possession of the Kings County institution at St. Johnland and made of it the Long Island State Hospital. The bill effecting the corresponding result for this city would have become a law then also, except for the litigation over the unpaid arrears of State taxes and the condition imposed in the bill of their payment and the abandonment of the suit then pending on appeal. A short time ago the litigation was ended, and now the Manhattan State Hospital act is a law of the State. This will bring the dependent insane of the whole State, now numbering 18,898, under one uniform, enlightened, and effective system of care and maintenance.

For this gratifying result much credit is due to the State Charities Aid Association and the Commission in Lunacy, which worked persistently and zealously together for years, and the completion of the system will redound to the honor of the State of New-York.

SOURCE: Reprinted from The New York Times. Published January 30, 1896. Copyright @ The New York Times.


Creedmoor State Hospital & Cemetery

Creedmoor State Hospital, Long Island, New York

The Lost World Of Creedmoor Hospital – New York Times.
Fear And Brutality In A Creedmoor Ward – New York Times.
Inside Creedmoor State Hospital’s Building 25 – AbandonedNYC.
Creedmoor Psychiatric Center – Wikipedia.

To the State Hospital Commission, Albany, N. Y.:

Gentlemen. – We respectfully present the annual report of the Board of Managers of the Long Island State Hospital for the year ending September 30, 1912. The operations of the hospital during the year have been described in sufficient detail in the report of the Superintendent, which we adopt and present as part of our own…..The beginnings of the development of the Creedmoor property have been made with some success and a promise of much larger achievement. The report of the Superintendent gives details. Plans for an institution with a capacity of over 2,000 have been presented to the Board by the State Architect, discussed at length and finally adopted. It is earnestly hoped that definite action to carry them out may be made possible by legislative appropriation. The necessity for such provision is apparent to all who have given even slight study to the problem of the metropolitan insane. We are gratified that the need of thorough rehabilitation of the present hospital has been recognized by the Commission to the extent that the report of the Superintendent shows; and that in addition, appropriations are being considered for further alterations in the buildings and the erection of several new ones.

Respectfully submitted, A. E. ORR, President, Board of Managers of the Long Island State Hospital.

CREEDMOOR – The land and premises situated at Creedmoor in the town of Queens, thirteen miles distant from the main hospital, acquired by legislative act of 1908, have continued subject to the control of the Commission and the board of managers of the Long Island State Hospital. This property originally comprised 192 (200) acres, but at a time when it was decided to sell this land and acquire a new site, nearly seven acres for roadway purposes were sold to the Long Island Motor Parkway, Incorporated, for $18,942. This money was reappropriated by the Legislature for the alteration of the existing buildings and for new construction generally. The roadway passes through the grounds diagonally in a northeasterly direction, and for the most part through the wooded, upland portion of the premises. It is below grade and properly protected by a fence and an overhead crossing. The parkway would not seriously interfere with the erection of new buildings for hospital purposes in the level area southeast therefrom, and some preliminary steps have been taken and are still under way to plan for such buildings, since the difficulty of acquiring a new site on Long Island is fully recognized by the Commission and the Managers. In April, 1912, the Governor signed, among other items in the Omnibus Bill, an appropriation of $50,000 for the commencement of the erection of buildings, including a railroad switch, power house and farm cottages.

As soon as a suitable block plan for a hospital is approved, the expenditure of moneys already appropriated will be made, since it is necessary to first decide upon a general hospital scheme before the installation of a railway, system of sewage disposal and other initial steps can be properly gotten under way. In the meantime, however, the property has been put to use to the extent of colonizing it with thirty-two patients. This was done early in the summer. The patients have been located in one of the twelve regimental buildings, and the necessary money to put this building in order was taken from the special legislative appropriation as a result of the sale of the strip of land. Patients have been employed daily at farm work, and the area of farm land under cultivation has been somewhat over forty acres. Care has been observed in the selection of the patients who have resided at Creedmoor, and no complaint has resulted from their presence in the neighborhood. There is no reason why the colony system cannot be enlarged. There are sufficient buildings to accommodate two hundred or more patients conveniently. On the following page is shown a view of the building at Creedmoor which is occupied by patients.”

Long Island State Hospital - Creedmoor

Long Island State Hospital – Creedmoor

SOURCE: Annual Report of the Long Island State Hospital to the State Hospital Commission For the Year Ending September 30, 1912, Albany, J.B. Lyon Company, Printers, 1913, Pages 6, 16, 17.

Creedmoor. A tract of land in east central Queens, one mile (1.6 kilometers) north of Queens Village and centered on Braddock Avenue and old Rocky Hill Road (now Braddock Avenue), named for the family that farmed there. The name is used only locally and does not refer to any village or settlement, past or present. Conrad Poppenhusen of College Point ran a railroad through the area parallel to Braddock Avenue in 1871 and donated some of the surplus land to the National Rifle Association for use by the National Guard, which opened firing ranges in 1873. The growth of Queens Village from the 1890s and the hazards connected with the firing ranges led to the eviction of the National Guard in 1908. In 1910 the tract became the site of a large state mental hospital.”

Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. State mental hospital on Winchester Boulevard near Queens Village, built on land originally owned by the Creed family. It opened in 1912 as a “farm colony” for the Brooklyn Psychiatric Center in facilities formerly used as barracks for the National Guard. With the construction of new buildings in 1926, 1929, and 1933 Creedmoor became a separate state hospital. Although its nominal capacity was 3,300 patients, there were 6,000 patients by the 1940s, and overcrowding was exacerbated by staff shortages and limited funds. During these years various new treatments for mental illness were introduced at Creedmoor, including hydrotherapy, insulin therapy, electroshock therapy, and in a few cases lobotomy. A more important innovation was the introduction of antidepressant and tranquilizing drugs, which became widely used in the state mental health system in 1955. At Creedmoor the new drugs meant quieter wards, fewer injuries to staff members and patients, and a dramatic increase in the number of patients who could manage daily life in the community. As a result the number of inpatients at the hospital declined to 1,100 by 1991, while outpatient services and residential placements were expanded in keeping with the new policy of deinstitutionalization. When it became clear during the late 1980s that many of the homeless in New York City had urgent psychiatric needs, Creedmoor established a special impatient program of psychiatric rehabilitation intended specifically for the homeless. The Living Museum, presenting art by patients, was founded by Bolek Greczynski in 1984 in the hospital. In 2001 the city sold part of the mental hospital to residential developers and used another portion to develop three schools and athletic fields.”
SOURCE: The Encyclopedia of New York City: Second Edition, Kenneth T. Jackson, Lisa Keller, Nancy Flood, Yale University Press, 2010.

Brooklyn State Hospital, Brooklyn.
The institution is very greatly overcrowded, but it is hoped to obtain relief at an early date. There is under construction, and to be soon completed, a reception hospital and a building for the care of the chronic type of patients. The reception hospital will accommodate about 150 patients, while the building for the chronic type will accommodate 450.

Foundations for a new store house and cold storage building have been laid. A large number of repairs have been accomplished during the last year. The domes of the main building have been renewed and painted. A large quantity of flooring has been laid and a number of the wards have been repainted.

A number of cottages at Creedmoor are being remodelled and made ready for occupancy, and it is expected shortly to house at least 150 patients at this branch.

This hospital has been visited during the year by the State Finance Committee, the State Hospital Development Commission and the State Hospital Commission, and it is the concensus of opinion that the present old building should be razed and new ones built. There is planned a new and modern psychopathic hospital that will accommodate the needs of this portion of Greater New York.

When plans have been consummated, this site will accommodate about 2,100 patients, while at Creedmoor plans are in contemplation for about 2,500 patients.

The medical service is very active at this institution. At least 51 per cent of the cases admitted are of the feeble and exhausted type, or of the very acute maniacal type, and are brought in on stretchers. Those who are physically able are sent to Kings Park. The admissions here during the year were 626. Beginning July 1st, we organized a school for male patients and a male instructor was appointed. It is hoped to obtain very beneficial results from the re-education of certain cases.

In August, 1916, a social worker was appointed who has been of great benefit to the institution and to the paroled patients. She visits all patients who are paroled, attends the clinics, inspects environmental conditions, obtains positions for recovered patients, and assists in obtaining proper histories for the physicians. Three outdoor clinics are held weekly, one at the Brooklyn State Hospital, one at the Williamsburg Hospital on Saturdays; and one at the Long Island College Hospital on Fridays. These clinics are of great value, as it is through them that information is spread that is of great use to the general public. The present census is 925; the certified capacity is 637, and 70 patients are on parole.

At the east of the institution there is an old potters’ field which has been used for years for the burial of the poor of Kings County. This land was turned over to the state two years ago, and it is now proposed to construct buildings on this area. Therefore the Charities Department of the City of New York was requested to remove the bodies buried there by that department during the last two years, and several hundred bodies were taken away during the summer.
SOURCE: The American Journal of Insanity, Volume 74, 1917, Pages 353-354.

BROOKLYN (Brooklyn State Hospital)
An investigation of the sanitary conditions of the Brooklyn State Hospital at Brooklyn was made by Mr. C. A. Howland, assistant engineer in this Department on August 15, 1919. Previous examinations of the sanitary condition of this institution were made by this Department in 1915, (see page 906 of the 36th Annual Eeport) and in 1917 (see page 642 of the 38th Annual Report).

Location: The main institution is situated in the borough of Brooklyn, New York City, while Creedmoor Farm is located north of the village of Creedmoor close to the eastern boundary of Queens borough.

Site of institution: The hospital is situated in Brooklyn on Clarkson avenue just east of the Kings County Hospital. Although the grounds of the institution in Brooklyn are somewhat flat they are apparently well drained. At Creedmoor the farm land, much of which is under cultivation, is also flat but appears to be well drained.

Area of grounds: 25 acres in Brooklyn; 195 acres at Creedmoor; total, 220 acres.

Number of occupied buildings: 14 (2 practically complete but not occupied, one in course of construction).

Capacity: 343 men, 457 women, 305 employees; total, 1,105.

Present population: 441 men, 603 women, 206 employees; total, 1,252.

Class of inmates: All classes of insane except the criminal insane.

Water supply: The water supply for the main institution in Brooklyn is obtained from the Flatbush Water Company while the water supply for the Creedmoor farm is obtained from the Jamaica Water Supply Company.

Milk supply: The milk for the main institution in Brooklyn, which amounts to about 400 quarts of fluid milk, grade B, pasteurized, and 40 quarts condensed milk, are purchased per day from the Delancy Milk and Cream Company of Brooklyn. At Creedmoor farm the milk supply is obtained from a herd of five cows. The cow barn in which the milking is done is an old wooden structure which was not in a satisfactory sanitary condition at the time of the inspection.

Sewerage and sewage disposal: The sewage and storm water of the institution in Brooklyn is discharged through combined tile and brick sewers ranging in size from 6 to 18 inches into the sewerage system of the city of Brooklyn. At Creedmoor the sewage is at present discharged into two large cesspools located about 300 feet northwest of the building. A sewage disposal plant which will treat the sewage from the hospital to be ultimately constructed at Creedmoor is in the course of construction. This disposal plant will consist of Imhoff tanks, siphon chamber and sand filters, of which the inlet chamber, Imhoff tank and siphon chamber have been completed.

Refuse disposal: The garbage of the institution is fed to pigs at the Creedmoor farm. The garbage not suitable for feeding is disposed of in the institution incinerator. At the time of the inspection it was found that the piggery was not in a satisfactory condition and the engineer was informed that a new piggery is to be constructed. It was found that the barrels in which the garbage is stored at the institution were in some cases without covers. Rubbish, such as broken crockery, etc., is removed by the city street cleaning department. Waste paper is baled and sold and similar disposal is made of the rags. Combustible refuse is collected twice daily and burned in an incinerator of the Morse-Boulger Destructor type.

As a result of this examination the following recommendations were made in regard to the improvement of certain insanitary conditions found at the institution.

1. That the garbage receptacles be kept covered at all times.
2. That a modern piggery of proper design and construction be built as soon as possible.
3. That every precaution be taken in the handling of the milk at the Creedmoor farm in order to prevent the communication of disease by this means and that a plant for the pasteurization of the milk be installed as soon as practicable.
4. That the sewage disposal plant for Creedmoor be completed according to the plans approved by this Department and be put in operation as soon as possible.
SOURCE: State of New York, Fortieth Annual Report of the State Department of Health for the Year Ending December 31, 1919, Volume II, Report of Division of Sanitary Engineering, Albany: J.B.Lyon Company, Printers, 1920, Pages 421-422.

I’m not sure if Creedmoor State Hospital had a cemetery, they may have used a public cemetery.

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

THE BAD NEWS: Thousands Remain Nameless! 6.15.2015.

THE GOOD NEWS: One Man Is Remembered! 6.14.2015.

Long Island State Hospital & Cemetery

After 1893 Long Island State Hospital (Flatbush) served the counties of Kings, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk.

1916 Long Island State Hospital.
1851 Kings County Lunatic Asylum, Flatbush, New York.
1893 Shocking Desecration Charged, Flatbush Insane Asylum.
New York City Map.

I’m still trying to figure out all the different “lunatic asylums” of New York City. From the beginning, New York and Kings Counties were exempted from The Willard Act. In 1893, the State of New York purchased these properties and brought them into the State Care System, the State Care Act being passed in 1890, and under the control of The State Commission in LunacyOn July 1, 1895, the Kings County Lunatic Asylum at Flatbush AND Kings Park (re-named in 1891, formerly St. Johnland) became the Long Island State Hospital. From everything that I have read, the New York City area asylums and poor houses of the 1800s were the worst in the state, mainly because they were so over crowded.

New York City is composed of five boroughs: Manhattan (New York County), The Bronx (Bronx County), Brooklyn (Kings County), Queens (Queens County), Staten Island (Richmond County). LONG ISLAND contains four counties: Kings, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk. Apparently in today’s vernacular, “Long Island” refers to the suburban counties of Nassau and Suffolk only, in order to differentiate them from New York City even though all four counties are located on Long Island. MANHATTAN is a separate island.

was an independent city until January 1, 1898, when, according to the Charter of Greater New York, Brooklyn was consolidated with the other boroughs to form the modern City of New York. Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County since 1896.

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

THE BAD NEWS: Thousands Remain Nameless! 6.15.2015.

THE GOOD NEWS: One Man Is Remembered! 6.14.2015.

1906-1907 Elopements, Suicides & Accidents at New York State Hospitals

“The Commission is pleased to report an unusually small number of untoward occurrences at the State hospitals during the year. At the Utica State Hospital a somewhat unusual case was that of a woman patient who, escaping from the institution, found means to reach Albany where she obtained employment as a clerk in a department store. Here her peculiarities were noticed after a few days and her services were discontinued. She also received notice from the mistress of the boarding-house in which she had found domicile that she must look for quarters elsewhere. The excitement which followed these events brought on an attack of considerable violence necessitating her commitment to a local institution for safe keeping. When she became quieter efforts were made to send her to the home of her husband but she declined to consider this, alleging that he was, in the first instance, responsible for her unjustifiable commitment to a hospital for the insane. Through the good offices of a local attorney she consented to return to the Utica State Hospital, upon condition that she would be granted a parole within a short time. As she was able to exhibit considerable self-control she was discharged upon the hospital books within a short time afterward and has not, up to the close of is report, required recommitment. A woman patient at this hospital was paroled by the authorities for the purpose of spending Thanksgiving with her husband at home. Although she had not at any time previously exhibited suicidal tendencies she seized the opportunity thus afforded her to swallow a powerful drug, and although prompt measures were applied she died in a short time.

At the Willard State Hospital a patient secreted binding twine about her clothing and seizing a favorable opportunity hanged herself from the door of a room. At the same institution a male patient died from asphyxiation due to the lodgment of meat in the larynx.

At the Hudson River State Hospital a male patient left the grounds without permission, and was afterward found dead on the railway tracks near the hospital pumping station, his skull having been fractured evidently by contact with the locomotive or cars.

At the Middletown State Hospital a male patient committed suicide by drowning. It appears that he carried a pail of water to his room and held his head far enough in the pail to become asphyxiated. At the same hospital a male patient left the institution without permission or notice and remained for some months about the neighboring counties enlivening the situation at different times by transmitting to the authorities of the institution souvenir postal cards. At the same institution a male patient committed suicide by wading out into a small ice pond in the rear of the institution and lying down in the shallow water until this reached over his head.

At the Rochester State Hospital a woman patient committed suicide by suspension, using a bed sheet, one end of which was attached to the window guard. At the same institution a male patient committed suicide by drowning subsequent to an unsuccessful effort to persuade his wife to remove him from the institution.

At the Kings Park State Hospital a male patient met his death under somewhat unusual circumstances, and the hospital authorities called upon the local coroner to make the usual investigation. The patient’s relatives, not being satisfied with his report, requested the Commissioners to make a special inquiry which was done. Physicians and attendants were placed under oath, and all testimony that could throw light upon the patient’s death was adduced, but nothing was found to contradict the findings of the coroner.

At the Long Island State Hospital a woman patient, while on parole and in the charge of her friends, was accidentally killed by a trolley car.

At the Manhattan State Hospital a woman patient after leaving a dining-room started straight for the river. A nurse went in immediate pursuit and a hospital watchman also tried to intercept the patient, but she outstripped her pursuers and plunged into the river. No trace of her body was afterward discovered. At this same institution a male patient becoming very noisy in a small dormitory to which he had been assigned was attacked by a fellow patient whose rest he had disturbed and struck on the head with a small serving table. The patient died in a few days as a result of the injury. At the same institution a woman patient secured a poisonous drug, died, and upon investigation by the coroner evidences of mercurial poisoning were found. At this institution a male patient was found hanging in the closet in which are usually stored the brooms, polishers, etc., of the ward. The patient had placed a broom handle across the top of two shelves, and with the girdle of his dressing gown about his neck had produced asphyxiation. At this institution a male patient succeeded in throwing himself into the river. His body was taken to the Fordham Hospital, and afterward identified by the institution clothing. Another male patient committed suicide in the same way. At the same institution a woman patient eluded observation while patients were preparing for bed. The premises of the institution were searched throughout the night and the following day, but no traces of her was found. It was supposed she was drowned while attempting to swim the river. A Russian patient, while walking about the exercising court with other patients, eluded observation and rushing to the point of the grounds opposite Hell Gate plunged into the river, and after swimming a few strokes was carried away by the strong tide and soon disappeared. A second patient who had observed the first one escape attempted to throw himself into the river at the same time, but was prevented by the nurse who had started out to overtake the Russian patient.

Owing to the situation of the Manhattan State Hospital on Ward’s Island, it is at all times necessary to detail several attendants to specially guard the river banks and an attendant is also detailed to patrol the river near the shore in a row boat. Almost daily attempts are made to break through this line, but the escapes are relatively few in number. Owing to the proximity of this hospital to the city of New York, and the fact that all occurrences of an unusual character in an institution for the insane are seized upon eagerly by metropolitan dailies, occurrences of this kind are frequently exaggerated as are also injuries received by patients though these may not be actually serious. Charges were made against the Manhattan State Hospital in connection with the somewhat sudden death of a patient named Rodesky. Allegations of cruelty and maltreatment were made by the relatives of this patient, and the managers and the coroner made an investigation of the circumstances attending his death. It appears that he was a bed-ridden paretic and a few days prior to his death, on the thirtieth of July, was found to be suffering from a fracture of the sternum and three fractured ribs. The coroner reported the cause of death as septic poisoning from several large abscesses owing to the patient’s general septic condition. The managers at the close of their special inquiry reported that the patient was not handled in any rough manner.

At the Central Islip State Hospital a male patient who had been given parole of the grounds and was in the habit of taking long walks about the premises was found hanging by the neck in the woods some three miles distant.

At the Gowanda State Hospital two women patients committed suicide by hanging.”

SOURCE: Reprinted from State Commission in Lunacy, Nineteenth Annual Report, October 1, 1906 – September 30, 1907, Albany: J.B. Lyon Company, State Printers, 1908, Pages 39-42.  http://books.google.com/