Norfolk County Hospital

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Norfolk County Hospital
Opened 1917
Closed 1997
Current Status Preserved
Building Style Single Building
Location Braintree, MA
Alternate Names
  • Massachusetts Respiratory Hospital


Norfolk County Hospital got its start in 1917 when the county commissioners took by eminent domain 98 acres of land at the intersection of Washington (Route 37) and South streets for a county-run tuberculosis hospital. When TB faded as a health problem in the 1960s and 1970s, the hospital took on a new mission and, eventually, a new identity. In 1987, it was renamed as the Massachusetts Respiratory Hospital, and the 110-bed facility it specialized in treatments of pulmonary diseases, such as asthma, emphysema and lung cancer.

In 1997, facing a running deficit, the trustees of the hospital voted to sell the facility and the 19 acres it sits on, to Kindred Healthcare, a national company. Kindred stunned town officials by quickly closing the hospital in 2008. At the time, the hospital had only 40 patients. The town purchased five acres of land from Kindred in 2007, which is now the site of a playground. In 2010, the town exercised its first-refusal option and purchased another 22 acres of the hospital property − at the time, it was the largest undeveloped parcel in town. The property included the former nurses quarters that had been used as a minimum security jail. Since the purchase, the land has been used by the Norfolk County Sheriff’s office for office space and youth programs. The Braintree Community Arts Center is also on former hospital property.

The main hospital building is now the home of CATS Academy Boston, a private high school catering to international students. The property underwent a $50 to 60 million renovation project, including the construction of dormitories with space for 400 students.