Saturday, April 19, 2008

Norwich State Hospital - Salmon (male forensic) building


Salmon building (r) with Administration building to its left.

The Salmon building at Norwich State Hospital, Connecticut's second public insane asylum, founded in 1904, was a building built for male forensic patients, those found not guilty by reason of insanity. An original construction building, part of the initial footprint of the hospital campus, Salmon was a milestone in terms of the construction of psychiatric hospital buildings for the violent insane. Every window was barred with prison-style 2/3 inch thick iron bars built into the brick, as well as a heavy mesh screen. In order to move down the ward, the door ahead would only be unlocked when the one behind was closed - airlock style - which would insure that even in the event that a patient escaped his room, he wasn't going far.

In nearly 70 years of operation, not a single escape was recorded from Salmon.

Flanking the Administration building, in direct contrast with the Kirkbride plan which dictated that violent patients would be housed far from the administrators, Salmon was echoed by a female forensic unit named Awl, which was situated on the other side of the Administration building.

These photos were recently taken on a trip with Nate Kensinger and Sylvie Bolioli's Law & Disorder: The Insanity Defense.


A hallway in the Salmon building, showing the heavily fortified doors typical of the structure.


One of the bathroms in the structure. If needed, attendants could slam and lock the heavy mesh door, isolating patients who acted out whilst using the facilities.


A patient registry, into which the names of current patients would be inserted for census and tracking purposes.


A patient's room, heavily collapsed. Even after over thirty years of abandonment, this room would be difficult to escape from if the door were locked - the barred window is still holding strong.


An intact sink in one of the nurses' stations.


The wheel on the bottom of a bedframe, sunk deep into thirty years' worth of disintegrating plaster.


View from a hallway into a patient's bedroom; this is on the inner part of the ward, which would have been the most secure section of the building.


The patient's bed in room 26, still almost ready for a nap after decades of desertion. These beds were stuffed with horsehair, as were the pillows. Thanks Nate!

26 comments:

redrawblak said...

these are the stuff of nightmares...thanks again for finding and posting these kinds of photos.

Sack Morris said...

Good stuff, Dick.

Jaki said...

this reminds of another insane asylum near upstate NY. it's on the way to taconic state park - anyone who visits these places know what an impression these places leave. i'm sure people come out crazier than when they come in.

Tom said...

i love right up the road from norwich state hospital and have been inside several times. easily the eeriest place i have even seen in my life

tammy said...

How on earth do you get to the hospital please,

Anonymous said...

there had been plans for this property to be developed into hotels and some kind of film studio/theme park (it is right across from one of the local casinos), which seem to have been scuttled. I don't know if they were going to keep the buildings.

Here's a link from one of the comments to a recent article about the site in the local Norwich Bulletin showing an incredible fireplace in the hospital:

http://www.opacity.us/image3692_extravagant_fireplace.htm

Anonymous said...

The hospital has not been abandoned for 30 years, it was closed in 1996. Anyone from out of the Norwich/Preston area who wants to explore the place, be warned that state cops patrol this place like they're guarding the Crown Jewels. Pretend you're Solid Snake and sneak past them, but be warned, they may or may not be armed.

Anonymous said...

I have driven by this area several times....this is a wonderful place to explore as long as you do not get caught...beware, you will be prosecuted, but you will also be scared beyond belief if you make it into the tunnels and have a look for yourself

Anonymous said...

Several men did escape from the Salmon Building in 1964. They were all recaptured. I'm sure that you can find information about this in the archives of THE DAY, the local newspaper.

Finbarr said...

I went by there today in the pourin' rain. The place is captivating for sure! What is the large, newer looking, set of red brick buildings that are also abandoned, at the end of the older campus just before the bridge. There were white colored(suvs) security, parked in several locations.

Anonymous said...

wow i liver in norwich for 30 years and i find this place creepy as ever i tryed to get in to take pics,but was shuned off by a gard,i know its hunted,i could smell death this place has ghost i know it!!! dave coombs

Anonymous said...

My mother was a nurse supervisor there for 25 years. Considering what the medical community understood about mental health in those days they did good work at trying to care for people no one else wanted around. The truth is today no one still wants behavioral health patients around and no one wants to pay for their care. I have memories of the property in Norwich when it was alive and well with staff and patients. I remember attending Mass at the Chapel on campus and going in the Administration Building with my mother. It should be preserved as a historical site.

francaise87 said...

The previous poster was exactly correct. I work for the State of Connecticut today and the state does not care for its mental health population whatsoever!! The people at the bottom must pay for the greed of those at the top. Think of all the very highly paid state workers and political figures in high places! They turn to the mental health population for cuts first and foremost. And they cut services for the otherwise mentally challenged folks like individuals with developmental issues. They want to completely privatize services for the developmentally challenged and many with dual diagnoses including mental illness. I really love my clients and this is too close to my heart. The state does not value these people and those who care for them. They prefer to place them in the care of people who are paid poorly and people with little education. Since the mentally challenged or mentally ill have no value, that is no problem.

Anonymous said...

This was in my dream o.o .. me and my crush were stuck in here and it was filled with crazy insane people and they were trying to kill us. Creepy.

Anonymous said...

It's on Rt 12 down from Rt 49! Very scarry!

www.muebles-en-jaen.com said...

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Anonymous said...

Salmon is going down, its pretty much already gone. The power house and laundry are already gone.

In response to another comment, many of the older buildings were abandoned in the 70's so yeah, they were abandoned for over 30 years. The only buildings that were still open in 96 were:kettle, the lodge and bonesky.

Irish Insurgent said...

Salmon, Awl, and the power station are smoked!

Irish Insurgent said...

Salmon, Awl and power station are dusted

Anonymous said...

Back in 1987,after going through some tough times,i tried to kill myself. Im not suicidal, i actually only had pms, which made me very emotional. Anyways,i cut both my wrists, and was sent to the NSH to wait for a bed in a place where there was only a few patients. So i spent 2 nights there at NSH..I was housed in a ward,with many other obviously suffering people, who looked at me, and acted like i was a monster, and walked away from me. I was afraid at 1st, then i just felt bad for them. Id heard the horror stories,of abuse, and filth, and saw none of that. it was just sad.

Anonymous said...

As of the late summer in 2013, is the area still heavily guarded?

Anonymous said...

The Salmon building was recently demolished. It's gone completely.

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Baltic Bastard said...

I notice that they dropped the church last year. Are the tunnels still there?

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