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Danvers State Insane Asylum

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v [05 Oct 2008|05:20pm]

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[10 Mar 2008|01:52pm]

under construction.
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looking for Danvers State t-shirt [19 Jan 2007|10:09pm]

[ mood | curious ]

Yesterday, I saw someone wearing a t-shirt with an old photo of the hospital and the text "It Was Crazy to Tear It Down, Danvers State Hospital, 1874-2006" (or something like that). On the back was a diagram/map of the entire grounds. The guy wearing the shirt had received it as a gift and didn't know where it came from. I'd love to buy one of these shirts; does anyone have any idea where they might be for sale? Thanks!

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DSIA Article [21 Mar 2006|02:41am]

[ mood | restless ]

I wrote the following article for my school newspaper, The Pennon, at North Shore Community College:


Lament for a Loss:
By: Avril Duncan

On December 15th, 2005 it became official that the property grounds on which Danvers State Insane Asylum lies had finally been sold. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After 22 years of debate between developers, preservationists and the Town of Danvers, and 14 years of debate against AvalonBay the transaction was passed.
Bought by AvalonBay Communities, Inc. for $12 million the 77-acre site has already been attacked by wrecking balls and cranes. The history, beauty and memories of DSIA are now coming to an end.
The property area and beautiful grounds are now crowded with heavy machinery equipment, workers, and police. The police are also on watch more than in past years as they don’t want anyone on the property for a last look or to try and interfere with a legal and binding deal. Like it or not, they own the property and we as preservationists have lost the battle.
From an opposite perspective it is correct to state that having an abandoned insane asylum in our town is a disgrace to it. As beautiful as the architecture is, the structure is a reminder of how Danvers failed to take care of its patients in need of help. The hospital was closed on June 24th, 1992 after severe budget cuts to the mental healthcare system.
“Danvers resident John Archer, one of the most vocal critics of the project, said officials missed a perfect opportunity to restore a structure with rich history and fascinating architecture,” as quoted on DSIA’s official website, Archer had a strong belief that the hospital could be rebuilt for another attempt at mental healthcare. But the town doesn’t have the funds to rebuild a hospital complex or their reputation.
The buildings themselves have attracted many a crowd of people and were featured in the movie Session9 in which DSIA was the setting. Unfortunately since January 12, 2006 the following buildings have been destroyed; Our Lady of the Hill Chapel (Built 1955), Lukes Chapel (1964), Female Nurses Home (1930), the Bonner Medical Building (1955), the Mechanics Garage (1927), the Male Tubercular (1927) and Male Nurses Home (1907), the Laundry Building (1912), as well as the J-section and I-section ward annexes of the main Kirkbride complex (1878) that was named after Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride who believed that the beautiful scenery restored patients to a more natural "balance of the senses."
Dr. Kirkbride had a vision, and he turned that vision into what became known as the “Kirkbride Plan.” He built hospitals and asylums across most of the U.S., most of which are now abandoned. There are a small number of his buildings that still stand, and are in use. But after the nationwide budget cuts on the healthcare system Kirkbride’s empire was beginning to fall. The Clarinda and Independence Kirkbrides are still currently in use as psychiatric care facilities. Cherokee is used in part as a prison and in part as a psychiatric care facility. The Columbus, Elgin, and Nevada Kirkbrides have all been destroyed.
A copy of John Archer’s letter was posted on DSIA’s official website. In good spirit he writes, “I want future generations to know that there were people who fought bravely to preserve the Kirkbride including Richard Trask, Danvers town archivist; the Danvers Preservation Commission; Michael Ramseur; Kathy Morano; Wayne Eisenhauer; Charles Wilson; and Pat Deegan (a former resident of Danvers State), along with John Gray and Mike Turcotte, urban explorer-historians).” A petition had been written and continued to gain followers until a final count of 5382 signatures were added. These people as well as others took their case to court to try to prevent the sale of the property. After the two attempts with the courts had failed, spending $25k trying to stop the development they lost the battle.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts will receive $3.2 million of the sale money to build affordable housing for Department of Mental Health clients. About $6 million will go into the state's general fund. Danvers will receive about $2 million, which will be set aside for education, historic preservation and affordable housing. The town will also see a boost of about $1 million in annual property tax revenues. And 70 units will be added to the town's affordable housing stock.
So, what does the future hold for the grounds of DSIA? Well, AvalonBay plans to build 497 apartment units on the site and demolish most of the Kirkbride building.
The good news there is that not all of the Kirkbride complex will be demolished. The official website reports that only two thirds of the Kirkbride building will be torn down. Scott Dale, president of AvalonBay, said that they will leave up the main administration building, the center of the Kirkbride complex. Since the sale of the property brought in money to the state, some of it will be used to make life for mental patients more comfortable and affordable. About 50% of the tax profit will go to the High School Stabilization Fund and be used to expand the facility on Cabot Road.
In the end of this article I hope I have instilled the memory of DSIA. I regret never having the chance to see it or know it while it was in its prime. I have friends and teachers who had been a part of DSIA while it was open and I hope they will remember it as it was at its peak and not the downfall of a North Shore mental healthcare program. This article was not meant to conflict, or debate the event of Danvers’ loss. I wrote this in hopes that we will all keep the beautiful property in the back of our minds.
Please go to http://www.danversstateinsaneasylum.com for more about the history of the hospital, recent news, photos of the buildings, tunnels and grounds, as well as a video taken last year.

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[25 Mar 2006|02:03pm]

Name: Kitty

Location:Rhode Island

Have you ever been to Danvers State? Inside?: I've been on the ground twice. Once two days ago and it was sad to see it go.

Where did you first hear of it? I love abandoned buildings and I found it through a search five years ago

What got you interested in it? Session 9 and my interest in mental health
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demolition update [20 Mar 2006|06:14pm]

[ mood | sad ]

I noticed yesterday that the sign for "Avalon Danvers" is up already. You can also see that some of the buildings on the outskirts of the property are starting to be torn down.

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new here [29 Dec 2005|11:29pm]

Name: Steen
Location: North Shore, MA
Have you ever been to Danvers State? Inside?: I drive past it just about every day since I live about a mile away, but I've never actually been on the grounds or inside it.
Where did you first hear of it? Probably from my boyfriend, who grew up on the North Shore.
What got you interested in it? Session 9 and my interest in mental health (I'm in grad school to become a therapist/counselor).
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[ mood | depressed ]

It's official.


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[06 Dec 2005|10:58am]

[ mood | awake ]

Name: Syd
Location: Arlington, Texas
Have you ever been to Danvers State? Inside?: No, I would say I wish I could go, and I do, but the fact that they plan to tear it down doesn't help. hehe.
Where did you first hear of it? When I saw Session 9,I wanted to find where it was filmed..and yeah :)
What got you interested in it? I've always had a huge interest for old asylums, or ones that were still in use. For awhile I just focused on McLean, I never really tried to find other ones or historic ones until recently..hehe :)

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From the Danvers State Hospital Chronicles

Yesterday, a Superior Court judge paved the way for the town to issue a demolition permit to AvalonBay, which plans to tear down most of the 130-year-old former insane asylum to build apartments and condominiums.

A group of local preservationists, the Danvers Preservation Fund Inc. tried to block the demolition, saying the developers failed to follow local regulations when they sought building approval.

The judge's decision appears to clear the last hurdle in AvalonBay's attempts to buy the property for about $20 million and build 419 apartments and 64 condominiums there. About two-thirds of the Victorian Gothic-style Kirkbride building, the site's main attraction, would be demolished.

More... unfortunatelyCollapse )
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[16 Nov 2005|12:24pm]

Name: Sara
Location: Ricmond, RI
Have you ever been to Danvers State? Inside?: been to the property but not inside
Where did you first hear of it? Researching old buildings online three years ago
What got you interested in it? The history of the place
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from 10/21/05 [25 Oct 2005|12:00am]

it's really beautiful there right now with the trees turning and everything.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
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[17 Oct 2005|11:53pm]

Name: Avril
Location: Georgetown, MA
Have you ever been to Danvers State? Inside?: Yes, not inside
Where did you first hear of it? From Amanda
What got you interested in it? I love creepy shit, we're always there at night.
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dsh [22 Oct 2005|01:46am]

i went to dsh thursday afternoon. things are pretty lax- drove around before they told me to leave...but then climbed up the hill no problem. can't wait to get my photos back.
anyone ever go on the tours? i'm wondering how much they let you roam...
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[10 Oct 2005|07:09pm]

[ mood | calm ]

Name: Amanda
Location: Danvers, MA
Have you ever been to Danvers State? Inside?: been to the property but not inside
Where did you first hear of it? i always knew about it its up the street
What got you interested in it? The history of the place

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hello and photos to come. [07 Oct 2005|11:39pm]

Name: sofija
Location: salem, MA
Have you ever been to Danvers State? Inside?: yes, and yes. i haven't been inside in almost 5 years though.
Where did you first hear of it? i think i found out about it when i was around 15.
What got you interested in it? anything asylum or abandoned pretty much grabs my interest.

i am going to the hospital later next week to shoot some photos (legally) and will post them ASAP.

also saw on the news last night that 3 people were arrested by the state police for trying to break in. they certainly have tightened up security. a lot.
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[07 Oct 2005|04:04pm]
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[29 Aug 2005|09:26am]

Name: Sylvia
Location: Tampa
Have you ever been to Danvers State? No, but I'd love to Inside?: Hopefully someday ...
Where did you first hear of it? I found some amazing photos of old asylums online and one thing led to another ...
What got you interested in it? It's history, the essence of it ... everything.

If anyone can point me to some links (other than the main ones) I'd really appreciate it. I'd like to research the history and I keep getting sent to the same places.
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[04 Aug 2005|05:04pm]

Hey I noticed on the background picture that the date it was taken was June 25, 2005. How did you guys get up there to take that picture without getting in trouble? I have always wanted to go up there and check it out. Please let me know, Julia.
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[16 Aug 2005|02:13am]

so i'm driving down route 62, from the danvers area, just about to enter wilmington, and i see something on my left that catches my attention. it resembles danvers state in many ways, so of course my first guess is: hey its another insane asylum. so i come back home hours later and try to look for information on it, but failed to produce any results of substance. the closest state hospital i found sites for was in tewksbury, and its not on this highway..

so, my question to you guys: anyone know what those buildings are? and are there any websites or pictures of it?
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