Sampson State School

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Sampson State School
Construction Began 1942
Opened 1955
Closed 1971
Current Status Closed
Building Style Single Building
Location Romulus, NY
Alternate Names
  • Sampson Naval Training Center
  • Sampson Naval College
  • Sampson Air Force Base
  • Willard State Hospital Sampson Annex
  • Sampson State Park


Sampson Army Airfield: The Air Force spent about $6 million on renovations and beginning mid Feb 1951 started traing what would be 16,000 Air Force recruits. The base employed about 700 civilians and had 600 permanent party troops. The Base was closed in June 1955. Starting in 1957 to 1960 the Air Field and some Officer Housing on the lake shore (449 acres) were transferred to the Seneca Army Depot, the hospital, now listed as 1,000-beds was transferred to Willard State Hospital (dated 9 Sep 1958 and filed 24 June 67), and 1265 acres of the Station were sold to NYS for park use 7 June 1960 (two parcels totaling 355 acres were auctioned to private individuals). One of the old rifle ranges is still used by the Town Police.

The Station was used by NYS for use as a temporary college for 15,000 GI Bill students in July 1946. (5 barracks were moved to Hobart in Geneva, 7 were moved to Syracuse University) Sampson College operated from September 1946 to June 1949 and had matriculated 7,500 students of which 950 received two-year degrees.

In March 1950 Sampson was proposed to be a State Park, but by October it was determined that the Air Force wanted it for training. The Center was transferred to the Air Force, for use as an indoctrination center similar to Lackland AFB in San Antonio. Willard vacated the hospital area.

Sampson State School[edit]

The former hospital area was operated as a State School by Willard. In 1960 the State of New York purchased and assumed ownership of all tracts of land on the former base at a cost of $500,000. Most of the buildings were dismantled and materials were sold for re-usage throughout the Finger Lakes Region.In 1964 it housed 470 developmentally disabled male and female patients 16 years and older, and provided care for an additional 515 male mental patients. In 1971 the State closed the School due to budget cuts. While empty a fire destroyed most of the main hospital complex. Contaminated by asbestos the site was cleaned and is still owned by the Department of mental Hygiene but remains vacant.[1]


  • May 17, 1942—Sampson Naval Training Center created by the U. S. Government
  • Sept. 15, 1945—official separation center opened to get many naval personnel officially out of the U.S. naval forces and back as “civilians”
  • Oct. 1946—Sampson Naval College dedicated
  • Dec. 1947—NYS Dept. of Mental Hygiene takes over the Sampson Hospital as an annex to the Willard State Hospital
  • June 1949—closure of Sampson Naval College
  • Nov 1950—former Sampson Naval Training Center transferred to U.S. Air Force
  • Jan 1951—first U.S. Air Force trainees arrive at Sampson Air Force Base
  • Dec 21, 1953—first official landing at the air strip of Sampson Air Force Base
  • Jan 1954—first 10 patients at the U.S. Air Force Hospital at Sampson, which will soon become the second largest hospital in the U.S. Air Force with 1500 beds (1054 patients in Nov. 1954)
  • June 1955—U.S. Air Force Hospital at Sampson decommissioned and turned over to Willard State Hospital and becomes the Sampson State School
  • June 30, 1955—closure of the Sampson Air Force Base
  • June 7, 1960—U.S. Government’s General Services Administration (GSA) sells 1265 acres to NYS for park use for $500,000
  • Oct 15, 1960—NYS assumes ownership of Sampson Air Force Base
  • July 1964—Sampson State Park facilities opened for camping and beach use
  • Oct 1, 1971—Sampson State School closed


Main Image Gallery: Sampson State School


  1. From the New York State Military Museum and Veteran's Research Center