Craig Developmental Center

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Craig Developmental Center
Established 1890
Opened 1894
Closed 1988
Current Status Closed
Building Style Cottage Plan
Architect(s) George J. Metzger
Location Sonyea, NY
Alternate Names
  • Craig Colony
  • Craig Colony School & Hospital
  • Craig State School
  • Groveland Correctional Facility (Current)


The Craig Colony for Epileptics was established in 1894 to meet the needs of New York’s indigent population who had epilepsy. The first patients were admitted in 1896. Craig Colony was constructed on over 1,900 acres using the “cottage plan,” a cluster of smaller buildings rather than one large structure. This institution also began to admit people with intellectual disabilities in 1935. Eventually known as Craig Developmental Center, it closed on December 6, 1988.

Craig Colony, named after Dr. Oscar Craig of Rochester, N.Y., was the second institution specifically for epileptics in the United States. At the time of the opening of Craig, it was believed that the inmates would be able to “sense” an oncoming seizure in the other patients, and would be able to prevent injuries due to falls. Craig, like the other institutions had a working farm, craft shops, school, and hospitals.

In 1968, the facility was phased out of existence as a specialized institution and became a facility for care, treatment, education, and training for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. In 1974, it was re-named a Developmental Center and operated under the authority of the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities before closing in 1988.

Patient Records[edit]

The consecutive admission number was used to file the Patient's "history" in the record room. If a patient left the Craig Colony by discharge, elopement, or what have you, and subsequently returned to become a patient again, a new consecutive was assigned, and the older history was incorporated into the new history. There were some exceptions to this and there were (are) a number of patient records with two "histories" whose records were sent to central office in Albany when the the institution, now with the name Craig Developmental Center, O.M.R.D.D., closed its doors at Sonyea, NY. The entire collection of patient histories was archived in Albany. The roster of all patients ever admitted to Craig Colony, Craig Colony School, Craig Colony School & Hospital, Craig State School, and Craig Developmental Center was archived in Albany.

Images of Craig Developmental Center[edit]

Main Image Gallery: Craig Developmental Center