11. Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, Trenton, New Jersey
The Trenton Psychiatric Hospital was founded in 1848 by Dorothea Lynde Dix, a pioneer in the advancement of mental institutions. The facility was New Jersey’s first public mental hospital. Like many of the psychiatric hospitals of the time, treatment practices eventually took a dark turn. In 1907, Dr. Henry Cotton began his successful tenure as the medical director of the facility, but in 1913 he developed some disturbing treatment theories. Dr. Cotton believed that mental illness was caused by infections within the body after discovering that an untreated case of syphilis could cause such disorders. He began to have his staff remove limbs and teeth to “treat” his patients, and consistently used surgery as a “cure.” These practices continued into the 1960s even after Cotton’s death in 1933.
Today, portions of the facility are still active as a psychiatric hospital, yet some of the older buildings are abandoned and strictly off-limits to the public. Nobel prize-winning mathematician John Forbes Nash was once a patient at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital in 1961.