North Jersey Developmental Center

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North Jersey Developmental Center
Established 1925
Opened 1928
Closed 2014
Demolished 2018
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Totowa, NJ
Alternate Names
  • North Jersey Training School for Feeble-Minded Girls
  • North Jersey Training School


Originally known as the North Jersey Training School, the Center opened in 1928. The clients then consisted of females who had moderate developmental disabilities. Programming and activities for the clients was geared to the basic necessities of daily living. As years passed, public awareness grew and began to positively affect the future course of programming for the intellectually challenged. The patients, who are now both male and female, were helped to lead more productive and satisfying lives.

During the 1980's, the facility was renamed the North Jersey Developmental Center to properly reflect the change in services and programs which were based on the philosophy of normalization. The basic premise being that developmentally disabled persons be provided the most normal environment possible where they develop life skills to the greatest possible extent. In 2012 it was announced that 2 of the states developmental centers were to be shuttered for good. The North Jersey Developmental Center officially closed in 2014. The buildings were immediately boarded up with plywood, and a private security company was hired. The site sat idle for a few years, but in December of 2017 the state allowed the sale of the property to go through. It was sold for $1 to the boro of Totowa, who then sold it for five million dollars to a developer.

Demolition of the campus started and most of the dormitory buildings were completely leveled by mid 2018. Not only were the buildings gone, but the surrounding land had been blasted and reshaped to better suit redevelopment.