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Rockland State Hospital
Construction began in 1927 on a 600-acre rural campus, Rockland State Hospital, as it was then known, initially had 5,768 beds. With a working farm, its own power plant and industrial shops staffed by patients who manufactured everything from mattresses to brooms and furniture, Rockland was then considered among the best-planned psychiatric hospitals in the world. In 1931 the hospital opened to 60 male patients, all transfers from Manhattan State Hospital.
"The hospital fostered the idea of the therapeutic suburb," Andrea Bergbower, a sophomore social work major, said. "The thought was that it would be beneficial for these patients to leave the noise and pollution of the city for the isolation of the suburbs to bring them out of their illness." Within 10 years, Rockland's population grew exponentially, along with such attendant problems as overcrowding, disease and staff shortages.
"Much of the staff was drafted during World War II and replaced with nonqualified workers," Sara Fisher, a junior studying psychology at Marymount, said. "Beds were placed in day rooms; infections spread, and there was just one psychologist to care for each 300 patients." Click here for more...