Gardner State Hospital
|Gardner State Hospital|
|Building Style||Cottage Plan|
Gardner State Colony was first established in 1902 as a colony for mentally disturbed patients who were able bodied and sufficiently cooperative to engage in construction work for the institution. The hospital served the North Worcester County area, and maintained both agricultural and livestock farm areas which were basically self- supporting. In 1970, a phase-down of in-patient facilities was instituted in the state of Massachusetts, and the Gardner facility was officially closed in 1975.
The North Central Correctional Institution at Gardner, as it is now known, is located on twenty acres of hillside near the Gardner/Westminster town line. The dedication of this medium security facility was held on June 18, 1981, with the first ten inmates accepted into the prison two weeks later. Within the facility are eighteen buildings, with a perimeter consisting of two chain-linked fences topped with razor wire. The perimeter is manned by three towers and foot patrols of K9 teams.
Reconstruction and renovation of the facility has continued for more than a decade, with many of the projects enabling the prison to increase the inmate population. In 1982, the school building and Thompson Hall East Wing were renovated. A year later, the perimeter was expanded and additional buildings were converted into inmate housing. In 1985, completion of the modular unit and a subsequent expansion of the unit a year later also increased inmate capacity. Most recently, a new kitchen and gymnasium were built, with two other buildings renovated in order to accommodate inmate housing. As a result of these projects and renovations, over 1,000 inmates are now housed at NCCI-Gardner.
There is a confirmed list of 132 former patients buried, however there may be as many as 600 unidentified former patients buried there. The cemetery is approximately 3 acres in size. Since being used by DOC, 4 former inmates have also been buried there.