Rockland Psychiatric Center, known initially as Rockland State Hospital for the Insane, was established in 1927 in Orangeburg, New York. It was a time when mental patients were segregated from society and new psychiatric institutions were essential to relieve older overcrowded ones.
By its peak in 1959, Rockland had more than 9000 residents and a staff of 2000. Its grounds contained a power plant, a farm, a bowling alley used to entertain the patients, and various shops where patients produced things like the hospital's furniture. Once, Rockland State Hospital was named the best planned state hospital in history.
However, as more and more patients were admitted into the hospital, escapes became a regular occurrence. Many murders taking place around the grounds of Rockland were attributed to the hospital's escapees. The situation became worse during World War II when many male attendants left to join the armed forces. The overcrowding and lack of personnel led to many instances of abuse and negligence. Shock therapy and lobotomy were the only treatment methods available for severe cases of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.
From the 1960's the development of antipsychotic drugs meant that many patients were now able to live independently outside of the asylum system. Since the 1970's Rockland Psychiatric Center has been mainly operating as an outpatient facility. By 1999 it housed less than 600 patients while today the inpatient treatment center has 410 beds.
Starting in the 1930s and 1940s, buildings on the majority of the site have been abandoned and are closed to the public. The abandoned hospital buildings represent one of the largest intact psychiatric hospital facilities in the United States. During the last years, the exterior of these buildings has been used as a shooting location for the tv series Orange is the New Black.
SEE ALSO: More abandoned places in New York // More abandoned places in the United States // More abandoned hospitals // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES
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