Seaside Regional Center
|Seaside Regional Center|
|Opened||June 12, 1934|
|Building Style||Single Building|
|Architecture Style||Tudor Revival|
Opened in the early 1930s, the building itself was designed by the renowned architect Cass Gilbert, who also designed the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington as well as the famed Woolworth Building in New York City and the landmark Union Station in New Haven. Its first young inhabitants were sent there as a remedy for their affliction as it was thought the fresh air and sunshine would be beneficial. In 1958 the tuberculosis program ended and in 1959 Seaside reopened as Seaside Geriatric Hospital. In Feb of 1961, admissions to Seaside Geriatric Hospital stopped. In May 1961, it was converted to Seaside Regional Center for the Mentally Retarded under the administration of the Dept. of Health and Office of Mental Retardation.
By 1996 the facility was closed. In 2016, the state of Connecticut announced plans to make the property a state park. The goal is “to expand shoreline recreational opportunities for state residents and visitors.” A few of the architecturally significant buildings are being renovated, and the grounds are being spruced up. Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration announced this week that it has ended its quest for a developer after two different proposals for the property failed to “sufficiently [meet] the criteria” set by state officials in 2019.
It was showcased in the expose book named: Christmas in Purgatory, A Photographic Essay on Mental Retardation, by Burton Blatt and Fred Kaplan. It was written to show the appalling condition in various state schools. The majority of the institutions shown in the book were not named. Yet, the last chapter within the book did name one institution: Seaside Regional Center. This institution was not named because of anything bad, but that it was an example of how state schools should be run. The book commented on how the staff really cared for the patients there and that there was never a real occasion of overcrowding like in other similar institutions.
Images of Seaside Regional Center
Main Image Gallery: Seaside Regional Center
- Christmas in Purgatory, A Photographic Essay on Mental Retardation, by Burton Blatt and Fred Kaplan, 1966.