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Binghamton State Hospital |+|
|Title= State Hospital
Built in 1858, the castle originally served as the country's first inebriate asylum. Founder J. Edward Turner belonged to a school of thought that alcoholism wasn't just a vice, but could be cured medically. The well-lit rooms and extensive grounds are an important marker in New York State's view of addiction. The asylum was the first of its kind in the country, but only served its original purpose for 15 years, at which point Turner's inebriate asylum was converted into a hospital for the chronically insane. The asylum faced financial woes for a decade after a great fire broke out in March 1870. Gov. Lucius Robinson deemed it a “complete failure” in 1879, suggesting that the asylum be closed down and renovated to house the insane. In 1881, its doors were reopened as the Binghamton Asylum for the Chronic Insane, later renamed the Binghamton State Hospital. Hundreds of patients were transferred to Binghamton from Utica, Poughkeepsie and Middletown; those patients lived, suffered and died in the palatial asylum. Treatment methods only worsened with the turn of the century. |+|
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|−|In 1942, the hospital instituted electric shock therapy, hydrotherapy and later lobotomy as methods of treatment for the mentally ill. These “treatments” were nothing short of brutally inhumane. Patients were restrained in wet canvas for up to six hours at a time and forced into seizures by means of electric shock. The worst and most terrifying of these treatments was the prefrontal lobotomy, a form of psychosurgery that involved scrambling the frontal lobe of the brain with a sharp metal instrument inserted through the upper eye socket. [[ Binghamton State Hospital|Click here for more...]] |+|
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Pilgrim State Hospital
At the time it was opened, it was the largest hospital of any type in the world. Its size has never been exceeded by any other facility, although today Pilgrim is far smaller than it used to be.
By 1900, overcrowding in city asylums was becoming a major problem that many tried to resolve. One answer was to put the mentally ill to work farming in a relaxing setting on what was then rural Long Island. The new state hospitals were dubbed "Farm Colonies" because of their live-and-work treatment programs, agricultural focus and patient facilities. However, these farm colonies, the Kings Park State Hospital (later known as the Kings Park Psychiatric Center) and the Central Islip State Hospital (later known as the Central Islip Psychiatric Center), quickly became overcrowded, just like the earlier institutions they were supposed to replace.
NY state responded by making plans for a third so-called farm colony, what was to become the Pilgrim State Hospital, named in honor of the former New York State Commissioner of Mental Health, Dr. Charles W. Pilgrim. The state bought up approx. 1,000 acres (4.0 km²) of land in Brentwood and began construction in 1930. The hospital opened on October 1, 1931 as a close knit community with its own police and fire department, courts, post office, a LIRR station, power plant, potter's field, swinery, cemetery, water tower and houses for doctors, psychiatrists, and asylum administrators. A series of underground tunnels were used for routing steam pipes and other vital utilities. Click here for more...