Welcome to the Hudson River State Hospital, the first High Victorian Gothic institution built in the United States. Located in Poughkeepsie, New York, it opened in 1871 and spent 140 years consuming tax dollars in exchange for housing the state’s mentally ill. It was built during a “moral treatment” era of mental hygiene and enjoyed national prominence under the leadership of luminaries in mental health.
The hospital eventually attained a peak census of 6,000 patients in the mid 1950’s before sustaining a sixty-year decline. Advances in medicine and treatments, a high operating cost, and changes in social attitude contributed to its eventual closure in 2012.
Today the structures have crumbled under constant assault from fires, vandals, and exposure. One thing still intact: A spectacular history spanning fourteen decades.