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Featured Article Of The Week

Westborough State Hospital


The Brigham Farm, later the Peter Farm, was purchased in 1846 for the State Reform School, later the State Hospital (1885). The Westborough State Hospital was established by Chapter 322 of the Acts of 1884 as the Westborough Insane Hospital. In a major departure from other state hospitals, its trustees were not directed to find a new site and make plans for new buildings, but rather to develop a scheme to reuse the structures recently vacated by the State Reform School for Boys. The site, which by then totaled 275 acres, had been developed around the 180-acre former farmstead of Lovett Peters, Esq., and adjacent acreage owned by the Rice family.

George Clough of Boston was engaged to remodel the building which had housed 400-500 boys and had been declared unfit for reform school purposes due to its large size and jail-like appearance. To adapt the building for occupancy by 325 "insane" patients, Clough demolished the center of the existing building, which dated from 1876, and replaced it with a gambrel roof section housing a congregate dining room on its first floor with a chapel above. The alterations began on May 18, 1885, and were apparently complete by December 1, 1886, when a reception was held for Governor George D. Robinson. A few days later, the first 204 patients (almost all chronic cases who were able to pay for their treatment) were received from Worcester, and then Danvers, Taunton, and Northampton. In the meantime, Dr. N. Emmons Paine, formerly assistant physician at the State Homeopathic Asylum for the Insane in Middletown, New York, had been appointed Superintendent and had begun to formulate the hospital's unique program of treatment along with the Board of Trustees. Two years later, Dr. Paine was appointed as lecturer in insanity at the Boston University Medical School. Click here for more...