Marlboro State Hospital

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Marlboro State Hospital
Established 1928
Construction Began 1930
Opened 1931
Closed 1998
Demolished 2014
Current Status Closed
Building Style Cottage Plan
Alternate Names
  • Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital



March 9, 1931, five buildings had been erected to accommodate 500 patients; as of June 30, 1931, a total of six buildings had been completed and four more patient cottages were 60% completed. The buildings were considered fireproof - the floors were of concrete covered by linoleum, and the walls and partitions were made of hollow tile. The Medical Director was Dr. J. Berkeley Gordon. It was anticipated that when the buildings under construction were completed, the hospital would accommodate 2,000. In 1931, the hospital received 632 transfer patients, 123 male and 509 female. It was decided to take in only those patients who were well institutionalized because the hospital did not yet have facilities for hydrotherapy, seclusion, or other means for treating disturbed patients. At the end of the year, the patient population was 1,094. At the end of the year, the hospital had 1,094 patients, 598 males, 496 females. The reception hospital was completed in November 1932. In February 1933, the nurses' home was completed; construction had begun in the fall of 1931. As of July 9, 1932, two gatehouses were completed and windows and frames on five of six dormitories were being scraped and painted. The cottages which were built to house 99 patients were overcrowded. Women were housed in the hospital and cottages G, H, I, and J. Cottage G was used for the "untidy" and "more deteriorated"; H for those in fair condition who were in industrial therapy, I for the "colored," and J for those whose condition was in between those in cottages G and H. Occupational therapy for men was in the weaving shop - activities were weaving, brush making, basketry, cord knotting, rug hooking and braiding, raveling, and winding - and in the woodworking shop. The women also had two shops.

At the end of 1934, the second full year of direct admissions, the hospital had 1,892 patients in residence, 99 on "parole," 952 men and 940 women. The Medical Director complained of overcrowding.Each of the 10 cottages had a design capacity of 99 patients. At the end of the year, the senile building was in use. It had opened February 10, 1936; the one for the disturbed was mostly completed. The senile building had dining rooms on the first and second floor and there were plans for a diet kitchen and dining room in the center structure. As of April 3, 1936, the senile building had a fully equipped kitchen and dining room on each floor. Both buildings had electric elevators. In February 1936, the workers provided a temporary phone line from cottage 13 to the new senile building. The disturbed building lacked a tunnel connection as of November 1936.

The women's senile and disturbed buildings opened in July 1939. Women were moved from two floors of the other senile building and men moved in to replace them. The dining rooms in the new disturbed and senile opened in July. The TB building opened in September. Two WPA projects were not moving forward because of lack of funds - the two doctors' cottages and a crop keeper for one of the cow barns.


The children's units were ready for occupancy as of December 8, 1939. According to a December 14, 1939 newspaper article, two red brick buildings for "mentally crippled" children were to open in several months. They would be the first hospital in New Jersey for "mentally crippled juveniles." Pennsylvania and New York already had similar units. The $120,000 cost was from W.P.A. and State monies. The State would use manual instruction instead of reading, writing, and arithmetic. By January 12, 1940, the hospital was at capacity. It had just received the last of 100 transfers from Greystone. As of the end of January 1940, the hospital reported that it had 1,294 men and 1,229 female patients, total 2,423.

In January 1942, it was reported that the hospital was understaffed by 132 employees out of 640. It was also noted that Ft. Monmouth was paying higher wages. The shortage was particularly acute on the men's wards. In that year according to the Medical Director, admissions had leveled off. At the end of the year, 2,557 patients were in residence.


After more than six decades of the hospital running under state funding, it was shut down after a state investigation, prompted by an undercover operation. On July 1, 1998, the state hospital closed its doors for good. Closing the state hospital came 11 years after State Senator Richard Codey went undercover in the hospital, hired as an orderly. Codey chronicled his experience in New Jersey Monthly magazine, saying he witnessed “inhumane care and treatment of mental patients,” as well as poor living and working conditions. According to the Senate’s executive summary, the Marlboro State Psychiatric Hospital was one of seven state-run psychiatric institutions in New Jersey. In its final years, it served 780 patients per day and employed 1,157. The report cites the the hospital’s 1995 state budget, which was $55.5 million. On Nov. 18, 2011 Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno officially announced it will clean up the property, knock down and clean up 600,000 square feet of buildings, all without costing Marlboro taxpayers money. The Township will purchase the property in 2014, through open space funds, to preserve the large piece of land. As of January 2015, nearly all of the structures have been leveled. The remaining few buildings have been gutted and prepped for the wrecking ball.


There is a patient cemetery on the property with 924 graves, all marked by numbers but one that had been replaced by family members of the deceased.