4. Hudson River State Hospital, Poughkeepsie, NY
The Hudson River State Hospital, a former state psychiatric hospital in Poughkeepsie, was constructed in 1871 as a part of the Kirkbride Plan. This plan was pioneered by Thomas Story Kirkbride and utilized a new method to treat those with mental health issues. As opposed to being thrown into county jails and prisons, called “Moral Treatment,” the new philosophy called for patients to visit specialized centers for care.
Kirkbride envisioned treatment facilities that were humane, with hospitals that boasted massive buildings where air and light circulation were key to patient treatment. Some of the country’s best architects, including Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, worked with Kirkbride to design the facility. The Hudson River State Hospital was operational from 1871 to 2003 when the 160 acres and countless buildings became too crowded and were forced to close. In 2016, a major development plan dubbed Hudson Heritage broke ground at the site with a bulldozer instead of a shovel. As a result of the development, many of the historic buildings at the abandoned hospital site will come down in exchange for new retail, residential, and hotel spaces. The price tag is believed to be nearly a quarter of a billion dollars and construction is expected to last for eight to ten years.