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!