Report - - Pilgrim Psychiatric Hospital, Power Station and Water Tower - Long Island, New York - April 2015 | European and International Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Pilgrim Psychiatric Hospital, Power Station and Water Tower - Long Island, New York - April 2015


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This place was first f 2 outings on my trip to NY.
I had scouted this 3 years earlier but was gutted at the time to see the main ward blocks half way through demolition.
Although hard to see in these photos both the power plant and water tower are huge. I was very dissapointed to find the water tower stripped of inards and stair case.
There was lots of activity in the power station with groups of youths doing 'diffferent' things. 2 Local explorer types were there who gave us a tour of the laundry wing. It is a very different game over there. Apparently, getting caught doing this in NY = a jail sentance, probably after a beating by the filfth. Thats if you are lucky enough not to get shot in the back, stabbed by a hobo or beaten by a gang. The 2 guys carried combat knives to deal with any flailing junkies and talked of self defence techniques.
On the other side of the coin of NY exploring are amazing huge sites that are very easy to access compared to our little treasures.

The power station has its own rail station feeding into it which can be seen raised in front of the building.

Not my best pics, I was feeling quite uneasy, especially when walking around with the 2 guys who I wasn't quite sure were friend or foe.

Pilgrim Psychiatric Center, formerly known as Pilgrim State Hospital, is a state-run psychiatric hospital located in Brentwood, New York. At the time it opened, it was the largest hospital of any kind in the world. Its size has never been exceeded by any other facility, though it's now far smaller than it once was.


By 1900 overcrowding in New York City's psychiatric asylums had become a serious problem. There were several strategies implemented to deal with the escalating patient overload. One was to put the patients to work, farming in a relaxed setting on what was then rural Long Island. The new state hospitals were dubbed "farm colonies" because of their live-and-work treatment programs and emphasis on agriculture. However, these farm colonies, Kings Park State Hospital, (later named Kings Park Psychiatric Center) and Central Islip State Hospital (later named Central Islip Psychiatric Center), became overcrowded, like the institutions they were meant to replace.

New York State began making plans for a third farm colony, which was to become Pilgrim State Hospital, named in honor of the former New York State Commissioner of Mental Health, Dr. Charles W. Pilgrim. The state bought approximately 1,000 acres (400 ha) of land in Brentwood and began construction on the hospital in 1929. Pilgrim State Hospital opened on October 1, 1931 as a close-knit community with its own police and fire department, courts, post office, a LIRR station, power plant, swine farm, church, cemetery and water tower, as well as houses for staff and administrators. A series of underground tunnels were used for routing utilities. Each set of buildings were known as quads, a pattern of four buildings situated around a center building, where the kitchen was located.

The hospital continued to grow as the patient population increased. Eventually, the state of New York bought up more land to the southwest of the facility to construct Edgewood State Hospital, a short-lived facility that was a subsidiary of Pilgrim State Hospital. In fact, Pilgrim State Hospital was so large that it reached into four Suffolk towns: Huntington, Babylon, Smithtown and Islip, and had two state roads passing through its bounds.

During World War II, the War Department took control of Edgewood State Hospital, along with three new buildings at Pilgrim State Hospital, buildings 81, 82, and 83. The War Department constructed numerous temporary structures and renamed Edgewood State Hospital and buildings 81–83 "Mason General Hospital," a psychiatric hospital devoted to treating battle-traumatized soldiers. Renowned filmmaker John Huston, who received a special commission in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II, made a documentary at Mason General Hospital called "Let There Be Light", which showed the effects of war on mental health. The film was highly controversial and was not seen by the public until 1981.

After World War II, Pilgrim State Hospital experienced an increase in patient population that made it the world's largest hospital, with 13,875 patients and over 4,000 employees. In the 1950s more aggressive treatments, such as lobotomy and electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) were implemented. The best known controversy about this surrounded the case of Beulah Jones, a patient there between 1952 and 1972 who received both such treatments and was left seriously impaired. However, Pilgrim State Hospital and the other state hospitals began to decline shortly afterwards with the advent of pharmaceutical alternatives to institutionalisation.