Author Richard A Kennedy, an amateur historian and past explorer of Essex Mountain Sanatorium, has amassed a collection of photographs culled from libraries, historical societies, and private collections to pay a final, lasting tribute to this once grand institution, which is now lost to time.
Essex Mountain Sanatorium, New Jersey (Images of America Series)by Richard A. Kennedy
Founded in 1907 amidst protests and a burgeoning suffrage movement, Essex Mountain Sanatorium was the result of two Montclair, New Jersey, women who successfully lobbied local government to establish a tuberculosis sanatorium in a then vacant cottage for wayward girls. From these humble beginnings, the hospital grew to become one of the finest treatment centers in
Founded in 1907 amidst protests and a burgeoning suffrage movement, Essex Mountain Sanatorium was the result of two Montclair, New Jersey, women who successfully lobbied local government to establish a tuberculosis sanatorium in a then vacant cottage for wayward girls. From these humble beginnings, the hospital grew to become one of the finest treatment centers in the nation, expanding into a complex of 20 buildings that encompassed nearly 300 acres. Ironically, medical advances pioneered at places such as the sanatorium and the advent of antitubercular drugs in the years following World War II led to decreasing patient enrollment, which made such large facilities unnecessary. When it was eventually abandoned in the early 1980s, the hospital began its second act as a haven for urban explorers, vandals, and arsonists, becoming shrouded in mystery and the source of local legends and myths. After suffering years of neglect and abuse, the main complex would finally fall to wreckers in 1993, ending an important era in county, state, and national history.
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Brilliant! Awesome! Wow! Richard Kennedy has written a book about an old sanatorium that existed from 1901 - 2002 in Verona, New Jersey. The sanatorium was actually on top of a mountain, and surrounded by miles of uninhabited forest. It was a huge estate with a series of giant, highly complex buildings, courtyards and underground tunnels. It was used as everything from a delinquent girls home, a renowned Tuberculosis hospital, and eventually a psychiatric hospital. It started to fall out of use some time in the 1950's, and much of it started deteriorating and becoming abandoned by the 1960's. Some time in the early 1970's, due to several complicated reasons involving the county and other problems, the enormous site and all its structures became completely abandoned. Yep... that's right... you know what it turned into: late night, teenage, drunken, party, graffiti museum, first-drug-taking, cherry-popping, fake heavy metal satanic ritual, murder scare-story mecca. In other words: paradise. It existed for more than three whole decades as a playground for young urban adventurers eager to create a sick, hilarious teenage memory... or just a nerdy adult thrill. The law really got involved by the 1990's, trying to keep people off the gargantuan property, but they didn't always succeed. The author has thoroughly documented the hospital's history and phenomenon as an illegal playground for thrill-seekers. The book is fascinating to peruse. I spent the better part of an afternoon browsing around, feeling nostalgic for a place I had never been. And the answer is: NO, IT'S GONE. One of the first things I did was to quickly look through and find out it if the property was still standing. It was totally demolished in 2002 and parts of the land have been redeveloped. D'oh! If only I had known about it a few years earlier. So buy the amazing Essex Mountain Sanatorium book! Bring your denim jacket, a bottle of Colt 45, some whippets and a copy of Penthouse. I heard if you read it at midnight on the 13th of the month, there is a real Satanic cult that conducts human sacrifices in one of the underground tunnels... no dude, really! A friend of my friend's older brother totally saw it! My friend's other girlfriend once saw them on the roof, and they all had black hoods on. I swear! Yea... okay... let's bring knives...