Middletown State Hospital

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Middletown State Hospital
Middletown State Hospital
Established 1870
Construction Began 1870
Opened 1874
Closed 2006
Current Status Closed
Building Style Cottage Plan
Architect(s) Carl Pfeiffer
Location Middletown, NY
Architecture Style Second Empire & Colonial Revival
Alternate Names
  • Middletown Homeopathic Hospital
  • Middletown Psychiatric Center


This institution was originally founded in pursuance of an act of the legislature passed April 28, 1870, establishing at Middletown, in Orange county, a state lunatic asylum for "the care and treatment of the insane and the inebriate upon the principles of medicine known as homœopathic." The movement, however, which led to the ultimate establishment of the hospital had its inception in the address of John Stanton Gould before the State Homœopathic Medical Society at its session in Albany in February, 1866. The subject of the orator's discourse was "The Relation of Insanity to Bodily Disease," and in the course of his remarks attention was called to the necessity of a new state asylum for lunatic's in the southern tier counties of the state, and claimed as a matter of justice that when organized the institution should be placed under the homœopathic school of medicine.

This seems to have been the crystallizing point of the earnest desire of the homœopathic profession throughout the state, for at the next meeting of the state society in February, 1867, a resolution was offered by Dr. Paine of Albany to the effect that "Whereas, a bill authorizing the erection of a new lunatic asylum is now pending before the legislature," therefore a committee should be appointed to prepare a memorial asking "for such action as shall place said institution under the care of the homœopathic school."

But notwithstanding the laudable efforts of the advocates of the enterprise and their apparent zeal for its consummation, nothing was accomplished until some years afterward. In the meantime, however, Dr. Hilon Doty had come forward with a proposition to turn over his private asylum, "Margarettsville Retreat for the Insane," to a board of trustees or managers of an incorporated institution under homœopathic control, and while an act of incorporation was secured in 1869 through the influence of the state medical society, nothing was done until December of that year, when Dr. George E. Foote of Middletown presented to the homœopathic profession a plan to establish an insane asylum, founded by subscription and endowment, and organized as a close corporation. This proposition met with favor, and sufficient subscriptions were received to insure success, but it soon became necessary to give the institution a more public character and to enlist state support. Accordingly, it was planned to make it a state asylum ; the time was deemed ripe for such a movement, and the governor in his last message had pointed out the need of better and more accommodations for the insane charges upon the public bounty.

The friends of the movement were quick to see their opportunity and threw themselves earnestly into the work, leaving no stone unturned until their desires were gratified in the passage of an act, April 28, 1870, establishing a state lunatic asylum at Middletown under homœopathic management. It was not the first homœopathic asylum in the world, as has been asserted, but was the first of its kind in America under purely homœopathic management. It was formally opened for patients, April 20, 1874. The name was changed in conformity to the provisions of an act of the legislature, and then became known as Middletown State Homœopathic Hospital.

Middletown Psychiatric Center (MPC) offers contemporary treatment for adults with complex mental illnesses. The goal of treatment is recovery. Treatment and rehabilitation by an inter-disciplinary team of mental health professionals aim at equipping patients to manage their illness, strengthen their skills and better the quality of their lives. MPC¹s inpatient units and administration are located in Tuckerman Hall with Outpatient and Residential Services throughout Orange and Sullivan counties.

MPC's innovative 25,000 square foot Treatment Mall brings together, in one location, contemporary treatment and rehabilitation, specialized programs to build daily life skills, indoor and outdoor activities, hobbies and patient services. This program has been replicated in over 25 hospitals in 7 states.

MPC offers programs to meet patients' individual treatment requirements while responding with sensitivity to their diverse cultural backgrounds and needs. Specialized services include programs for: co-occurring disorders of mental illness and substance abuse; geriatric patients participating in the community through volunteer work (e.g., Meals on Wheels); patients requiring a structured, secure treatment setting; patients in need of comprehensive skills building; cognitive remediation to improve intellectual functioning.

MPC participates with Columbia University and Psychiatric Institute in advanced psychiatric training in Geriatric and Public Psychiatry. MPC serves as a nexus for consultations and dissemination of knowledge to the community, from information about new medications to assistance in the design of humane residential environments. Fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Health Care Organizations, Middletown Psychiatric Center has an outstanding record in surveys conducted by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and the Federal Health Care Finance Administration.

MPC has pioneered the development of a Community Campus, a dramatic departure from the isolation of traditional psychiatric hospitals. The hospital now shares the 226 acre grounds with a full spectrum of mutually supportive public and non-profit agencies serving the community in the areas of mental health, health, education, human services, housing and economic development. For patients, the Community Campus means convenient access to community services and skills building programs. By breaking down barriers which historically separated hospital from community, the stigma of mental illness is reduced.[1]

In the mid to late 1900’s, attendance at Middletown dwindled, as it did in all American asylums at the time, due to deinstitutionalization and refinancing of state medical care. Middletown changed is focus to outpatient programs, but ultimately closed in 2006. Various social services and rehab facilities continued to operate on the campus, which was mostly abandoned.

Images of Middletown State Hospital[edit]

Main Image Gallery: Middletown State Hospital


  1. From the NY Office of Mental Health