Rockland Psychiatric Centre
Located in Orangeburg, New York, this huge psychiatric facility offers in-patient treatment for adults and children. It’s 600 acre grounds include a still active 400 bed facility (an approximate figure) along with a number of closed and now abandoned buildings in various stages of decay.
Originally established in 1927, Rockland State Hospital provided approximately 5760 beds, a figure which by 1959, had soared to 9000. However cost cuts, asbestos issues, a drop in patient numbers and movements from the old facility across to the more modern structures have resulted in the abandonement of a number of the facilities older buildings. Now crumbling and falling apart, the forgotten interiors of these structures provide a nightmarish visual which could easily be mistaken as a set for horror films such as Silent Hill or a Nightmare on Elm Street.
The children’s section of the hospital contains an abundance of various decayed playrooms. Colorful toys and furnishings are strewn across moldy floors and photographs of previous residents still remain on cracked and peeling walls. Creepy long passageways connect to different sections of the complex with original murals depicting scenes of American history adorning the walls.
Rockland hospital had an intention in the 40’s and 50’s to be a state of the art mental facility which focused on physical activity along with a number of patient program participation initiatives. Evidence of this can be found in one of the larger buildings where an old crumbling bowling alley can be found in a basement, crumbling away in the dark as the years pass by. Bowling shoes still sit on tiny shelves and bags of bowling balls sit on benches untouched and covered in dust.
Above this bowling alley is a difficult to access gymnasium and hall. One floor up from this is an old projection room which still contains two original dust covered simplex projectors.
I am uncertain as to the fate of these buildings. Whether they will be saved under a heritage listing? or perhaps demolished due to their asbestos filled interiors? I am unsure. What I am sure of is that this place is perhaps one of the most unsettling places I have infiltrated. Filled with a creepiness that appeased my fascination with the macabre, along with a more responsible sense of sorrow for its past residents, I left this place with a feeling of unease. After my visit I spent some time reading the stories of experiences from the facilities past residents. Many stories of which can be found here via this link.