Blythewood Sanitarium

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Blythewood Sanitarium
Opened 1890
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Single Building
Location Greenwich, Connecticut


"Perhaps fortunately for Marty's remaining shreds of pride, charity patients were never identified at Blythewood. As she rode through the big iron gate of the sanitarium, the contrast with Bellevue was "like going from Hell to Heaven.

Blythewood Sanitarium, once a private estate belonging to the notorious Boss Tweed, had opened in 1905 under the direction of Mrs. Anna C. Wiley, a nurse who had proved exceptionally successful with mentally disturbed patients.

Situated on fifty acres of rustic, wooded land bisected by a meandering stream, Blythewood at it's peak had eight main buildings, eight cottages, a chapel, a building for occupational therapy, and even a little golf course. Handsome naturalistic landscaping and shrubbery graced the grounds."

Most of the buildings are gone today, it was hard to figure out what building was what, but on my visit up to the present-day Church, I saw that the Chapel is still there.

Four separate buildings housed the seventy-five patients. Marty checked in at the main house next to the gate. This gracious mansion with white columns was the estate's original house. Blythewood's administrative center, it contained the doctors' offices as well as the "graduate house" for patients soon to be discharged...

..After being admitted, patients were sent to the "lockup house." There they would be held a few hours or days for observation. Farthest from the road was what was called the "violent house." Many of the patients in this building arrived by ambulance. The violent house contained a padded cell. Marty could hear occasional screams when she was walking back from pottery class. Patients in the violent house were often restrained, with their hands tied. Closer to the road was the "middle house". It had two floors, a finished attic, common rooms, and a small central dining room."

"Though the sanitarium had been established as primarily a psychatric facility, its location in Greenwich was ironic regarding services to alcoholics. The town, a moneyed, educated, urbane bedroom community of New York City, had a reputation for widespread inebriety. As late as 1979, the problem of alcoholism was so pronounced that national study, reported in the Greenwich Time of July 30, 1979, called Greenwich the alcoholic capital of America, second only perhaps to the San Fernando Valley of California."


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