Metropolitan State Hospital

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Metropolitan State Hospital
Metropolitan State Hospital
Established 1912
Construction Began 1928
Opened 1929
Closed 1993
Demolished 2006
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Cottage Plan
Architect(s) Gordon Robb
Location Waltham, MA
Architecture Style Colonial Revival
Peak Patient Population 2,200 in the 1960s


It became apparent that while the mental health system as a whole was overcrowded, the most urgent need was in the metropolitan area. Intense debate over possible solutions occurred in 1908-1926. The Trustees of the newly acquired Boston State Hospital advocated for expansion of their facility to a 5,000 patient capacity, but were unable to convince the State Board of Insanity of the merits of that proposal. The need for a second metropolitan area hospital was identified as early as 1908.

Introduced to the state legislature in 1912, the board authorized spending in January of 1915. A site that was in close proximity to the Walter E. Fernald State School was immediately acquired. Plans were prepared for a 1,900 patient facility to be built on the cottage/colony plan. No action was taken for several years due to the Trustees of Boston State Hospital continue to argue for their own expansion and the first World War diverted state attention and funds.

Finally, in 1927, the State legislature responded by appropriating $1,500,000 for preparation of the Waltham site. The ground breaking ceremony took place on December 27, 1927 at the Administration Building. Cornerstone laying ceremonies were held on October 17, 1928. Construction costs were kept down by the use of the plain red brick buildings of early American colonial type. Trim elements, including pedimented pavilions and quoins, were deleted from the ward buildings. As the first campus developed in the automobile age, Met State did not require immediate adjacency to railroad facilities. As the most recent of the State's institutional treatment centers for the insane Metropolitan State Hospital represented the third and final stage in the evolving form of hospitals for the mentally ill. Like its predecessors, the Kirkbride and cottage/colony, it responded to increases in patient populations within the constraints of a publicly funded budget which both often failed.

Most of the buildings were demolished in 2006 with the exception of the Administrative building, the Auditorium and portions of the CTG, which were renovated as part of a housing complex.

Images of Metropolitan State Hospital[edit]

Main Image Gallery: Metropolitan State Hospital