Essex County Hospital
|Essex County Hospital|
|Closed||Feb. 27, 2007|
|Current Status||Partially Demolished|
|Building Style||Cottage Plan|
In 1896, a large portion of land was purchased by the Essex County board of Chosen Freeholders; the land was bought to build a new mental institution, known as Overbrook, to replace the overcrowding at the original hospital in Newark. The first building to be built on the property was the "Star Ward". It was a large, x shaped building on the eastern section of the campus. It soon became overcrowded, and The "Hill Buildings" were built in 1909. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, many buildings were built that housed mental patients and other facilities, such as a power house, laundromat, and theater. In the campus's history, it had a total of 47 buildings. In 1978 alone, there were 150 reports of patients gone missing from this complex, including one patient who strolled off in his pajamas, broke into a nearby home, took a knife and hammer and attempted to kidnap a woman in the house while stealing her car. He was later caught in a neighboring state.
During the 1940s and 1950s, the hospital's population peaked. However, during the 1960s and 1970s, new medicines were invented to help mental patients and the hospital's population decreased drastically. By the 1990s, the hospital had a very small population. There was no need for such a large facility anymore. The hospital fully closed on February 27th, 2007. The land was quickly sold to a developer, however the county decided to take back 90 acres in order to make a park. Demolition of the buildings on the grounds started in August of 2008.
Hospital scenes in the finals season of "the Sopranos" were filmed in portions of this asylum, as well as scenes from the movie, “Choke,” based on a novel by Chuck Palahniuk. In the movie, the hospital will be referred to as St. Anthony’s.