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Report - Letchworth Imbecile Village, New York, November 2015

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by zombizza, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. zombizza

    zombizza Pink
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    Another dark American sh$th£le. This place housed people with various physical and mental disabilities. The stuff lying around was ridiculous. I always love a bit of fire damage, and there was plenty here. It is also nice to find some photos of the flames in action. The place has the usual dark history of abuse and chaos. There is so much unfinished business for me here-it got dark and so I couldn't visit all f the buildings, and my photos were terrible this time. I just don't know why my camera wouldn't focus. I'll be back looking for the mortuary and unnamed graveyard.
    More on the history after the photos

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    Flames in action-
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    Some historical photos of some of the inmates-
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    Letchworth was described as an ideal center for the mentally challenged and praised by the state at first. Yet rumors such as the mistreatment of patients and horrific experimenting continued to circulate long after its closing. Former worker Dr. Little presented in an annual report in 1921 that there were three categories of "feeble-mindedness": the "moron" group, the "imbecile" group, and the "idiot" group. The last of these categories is the one that could not be trained, Dr. Little said, and so they should not be taken into Letchworth Village, because they were unable to "benefit the state" by doing the various jobs that were assigned to the male patients, included loading thousands of tons of coal into storage facilities, building roads, and farming acres of land.


    Many of the patients were young children. In 1921, the 13th Annual Report lists the number of patients admitted that year. 317 Out of 506 people were between the ages of 5 and 16, and 11 were under the age of 5 years. The negative energy surrounding Letchworth is heightened because so many of the patients were young children. Visitors observed that the children were malnourished and looked sick. The Letchworth staff claimed in the Report that there was a scarcity of food, water, and other necessary supplies but that was not the case. Children were often the subjects of testing and some of the most cruel neglect. Many of the children were able to comprehend learning but were not given the chance because they were thought of as "different."

    Patients were forced to dwell in cramped dormitories, because the state would not complete the construction of more buildings. Barely ten years after being constructed, Letchworth's buildings were already overpopulated, cramming 70 beds into the tiny dormitories. Nearly 1,200 patients were present during 1921. Over-population was one of the harshest conditions at Letchworth. By the 1950s, the Village was overflowing with 4,000 inhabitants. Quoting a spokesman for the State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, Corcoran confirmed that families abandoned their relatives there.[7] Families of patients seemed to be just as neglectful as caregivers of the facility.

    The patients at Letchworth appeared to be well-groomed, crisp and clean. In the 1940s, Irving Haberman did a set a photographs which revealed the true nature of what was going on. Until this point, the conditions of the facility weren't apparent to the public. Haberman's photos exposed the terrible conditions of the facilities as well as the dirty, not well kept patients. Naked residents huddled in sterile day rooms. The photos showed the patients to be highly neglected. These photos pushed the public to question the institution and demand answers. Haberman knew that these photos would bring attention to the Letchworth facility.[8]

    In 1972, ABC News featured Letchworth Village in its piece "Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace". The documentary, by ABC New York's investigative reporter Geraldo Rivera, looked at how intellectually disabled people, particularly children, were being treated in the State of New York. Although the documentary focused on the Willowbrook State School on Staten Island, Rivera conducted a series of investigations, which included Letchworth Village and facilities in California. While he found that a great deal of progress had been made in the caring for, and training of, disabled people in California, he saw the situation in New York's facilities as backward and cruel. He found that residents of Willowbrook and Letchworth Village lived in awful, dirty and overcrowded conditions, with a lack of clothing, bathing, and attention to their basic needs. The facilities were incredibly understaffed, and there was little or no actual schooling, training or even simple activities to keep residents occupied. Rivera saw the overcrowding and neglect as a direct result of inadequate funding and the ignorant attitudes in wider society. The potential of individual patients was far from being realized. The film is available for public viewing on Geraldo's website [1]. This confronting report helped lead to far-reaching reform of disability services throughout the United States.[9] The attention, however, did little for the immediate needs of those living at Letchworth Village. The institution remained inadequately funded and not satisfactorily managed.
     

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  2. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
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    Really fascinating read and a good set of shots. Thanks for posting :thumb
     
  3. The Queen

    The Queen Super Duper Moderator
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    Lovely reporting, thanks :thumb
     
  4. GK_WAX

    GK_WAX 28DL Regular User
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    very interesting! thanks for reporting :thumb
     
  5. urblex

    urblex 28DL Maverick
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    Really interesting report. Bet that fridge smelled pretty nasty
     
  6. Dr.Gusto

    Dr.Gusto Dont worry am a doctor
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    glad to have found this, truly good work
     
  7. Will Knot

    Will Knot 28DL Regular User
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    Really great report, like the pics, thanks for sharin' :thumb
     
  8. Bloodsweatgravyandegg

    Bloodsweatgravyandegg 28DL Full Member
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    Really interesting, thank you. Heartbreaking that places like this were functioning until relatively recently.
     
  9. ImmortalOwl

    ImmortalOwl 28DL Full Member
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    Nicely covered. Didn't realise there was this much of Letchworth left!
     
  10. YamYamSeeker

    YamYamSeeker 28DL Full Member
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    Good to see someone else doing a report on this place! I visited Letchworth whilst living in NY last year and I will be certainly going back to visit next year. The place is addictive! Looks like you explored places that I didn't. Nice report!
     
  11. Oort

    Oort The spice expands consciousness.
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    Jesus, that looks so much like Titicut Follies its scary!! Great report thanks for sharing :thumb
     
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