Elmcrest Manor

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Elmcrest Manor
Opened 1938
Closed 2003
Demolished Closed
Building Style Cottage Plan
Alternate Names
  • Elmcrest Manor Psychiatric Institution, Elmcrest Psychiatric Center


The Elmcrest Manor was opened in Portland, Connecticut in 1938 by Dr. Carl Wagner and his wife Magdalena. Three original buildings were used as part of the campus, dating back to the 1800s. The 17-acre campus held both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services for both adults and children, as well as a substance abuse treatment program. In June of 1976, the hospital opened the new Creative Therapies Building. The contemporary-style building contained rooms for art, music, dance, and occupational therapies. It was the fifth new structure built since 1974. The medical director of the time, Dr. Lios B. Finerman said, 'Elmcrest has a long-range plan to provide a comprehensive integrated hospital program for the treatment of psychiatric disorders from pediatric adolescent and adult to geriatric psychological problems."[1]

In 1997, Elmcrest had 26 buildings, with 129 beds, housing more than 150 hospital patients. Another 150 school special education children attended a day program at the facility, and a total of 475 employees worked at the facility in 1997. St. Francis hospital of Hartford, Connecticut purchased the facility from Dr. Louis B. Fierman and Dr. Lane Ameen, who had bought out the California-based National Medical Enterprises in 1994.[2]

After the purchase of the facility by St. Francis, reports of patient mistreatment increased and a number of lawsuits arose from wrongful treatment of former patients. On March 22nd, 1998, 11-year-old Andrew McClain, died as a result of suffocation from physical restraint. McClain, who was "mildly retarded and had a history of behavior problems", was killed only four days after being admitted, and the cause of death was ruled "traumatic asphyxia,(and) chest compression". After a thorough investigation, state officials determined the death was a result of abuse. Further investigations resulted in several other violations, and the hospital was fined and put under watch by the Department and Children and Families. [3]

The hospital never recovered from the tragic death of McClain. In 2000, "Barbara Beninato, a 30-year-old patient at the facility's adult unit, died from a drug overdose while in seclusion. Investigators later determined Beninato had taken a deadly mix of 12 tranquilizers and other drugs at the hospital, which by then was operated by St. Francis. A number of administrators were fired.

In 2002, state officials began investigating at St. Francis after records showed a significant jump in juvenile arrests and assaults on the campus. Hospital authorities argued the increase had to do with patients staying longer and having more contact with each other and staff." [4]

In 2003 the last remaining patients were moved from the 24-bed Portland property to the Mount Sinai campus in the North End of Hartford. Plans to purchase and demolish the vacant campus have been explored, but no action has been made.

Post Closure History

Images of Elmcrest Manor

Main Image Gallery: Elmcrest Manor


  1. "Portland Hospital Opens New Building," The Hartford Courant, sec. Local News: June 27th, 1976. Pg 6D. Digital. Accessed October 17th 2013
  2. MARTEKA, PETER. "St. Francis Hospital to Buy Elmcrest Facility ." The Hartford Courant, sec. Local News: March 4th, 1997. Digital. Accessed October 17th, 2013.
  3. "Hospital and Employee Are Cited in Death of Boy" The New York Times, sec. Archived: May 8th, 1998. Digital. Accessed October 17th, 2013.
  4. Seay, Gregory. "Former Elmcrest Hospital Moving Patients." The Hartford Courant, sec. Local News: August 2nd, 2003. Digital. Accessed October 17th, 2013.