Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital

Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, New Jersey’s second oldest insane asylum, opened its doors to the first 300 patients in 1877. Originally called the New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum at Morristown, it received its current name, Greystone Park, in 1924.

Greystone photo

Postcard published sometime before 1923. Source: Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital archives.

Dorothea Dix, a school teacher and crusader for the mentally ill, was instrumental in creating the new hospital. Her persistence and lobbying led the New Jersey legislature to appropriate $2.5 million to secure land for Greystone. Dix proposed the new hospital to relieve overcrowding at New Jersey’s first state hospital in Trenton, which she founded in 1848. Trenton Psychiatric Hospital is significant because it was the first mental hospital built according to the Kirkbride Plan, which emphasized humane treatment of the mentally ill.

The Kirkbride Plan

Thomas Story Kirkbride (1809–1883), a physician and advocate for the mentally ill, was regarded as one of the leading authorities on mental health care in the late 1800s. His ideals were based on the concept of “moral treatment,” where patients enjoyed attentive care with a minimum use of restraints, and his belief that the buildings and grounds could have a curative effect on patients.

Aerial view of Greystone

Aerial view of the Greystone campus depicting its staggered patient wings and remote location (date unknown).

Most Kirkbrides feature stunning architecture and amazing attention to detail, both inside and out. No cost was spared, it seems, in ornamenting the buildings. They were often built in remote areas, away from pollutants and noise so that patients could enjoy the beauty and peace of their surroundings in a natural setting.

Like many Kirkbride buildings, Greystone’s patient wings were staggered “en echelon” so that each section received adequate sunlight and fresh air, promoting more comfortable living spaces. The wings branched out from a central section that was used for administrative purposes, with males and females on separate sides. The most unstable patients were placed at the ends on the lower floors, away from the central administrative area, where their screams and outbursts were less likely to disturb others. More well-behaved patients were situated on the upper floors near the administrative center, with amenities such as stuffed Victorian furniture, pianos, wool rugs, pictures and fresh flowers. Some of the pictures still hung on walls when we visited in 2010.

Greystone photo

The Greystone campus, like other Kirkbrides, was largely self-sufficient with its own dairy and agricultural farms, power generating station, water utilities, staff housing, police and fire stations, a post office, and recreational and vocational facilities. Patients worked on the farms and performed hard labor and other tasks in the hospital and on the grounds. Kirkbride believed that putting patients to work aided their general well-being by providing a sense of accomplishment and purpose. In addition, the institution benefitted from the fruits of their labor, with readily available food and other products such as brooms, rugs, brushes, and carpets—all at a minimal cost to the state.

Overcrowding

Just four years after opening, 800 patients overcrowded wards designed to accommodate 600, and inadequate staffing exacerbated the problem. Attic space and exercise rooms were haphazardly converted to patient rooms with cots that were set up and taken down on a daily basis. Even hallways were utilized to provide space for overflowing patients to sleep.

Greystone photo

Hallway cots in 1914. Source: preservegreystone.org.

Greystone photo

Jon silhouetted in a similar hallway in 2010.

Relief came temporarily when a new dormitory building opened in 1901. But by 1911, the facility housed 2600 patients, 1.6 times its maximum capacity of 1600. At its peak in 1953, Greystone accommodated a staggering 7600 patients, many of them veteran soldiers recovering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) suffered as a result of fighting in World War II.

Congested wards created a health hazard, leading to at least one outbreak of typhoid fever. Poor care made matters worse. Patients often soiled their beds at night, yet nurses handed the cots out the following day without cleaning them. Even the hospital board confessed that the cots were a sanitary abomination.

Treatment

Kirkbride’s vision of moral treatment, popular in the late 1800s, eroded as treatment practices evolved based on current theories regarding mental illness. Around 1919, doctors removed teeth, tonsils, thyroids and prostate glands in a misguided attempt to alleviate psychiatric problems. Hydrotherapy was used from 1906 to the 1950s in various forms. Some methods, such as steam baths, are analogous to today’s health spa treatments. Others don’t seem so innocuous by current standards—depressed patients were sprayed with hot and cold water at extremely high pressure and piercing sharp streams in order to stimulate them. From 1940–1950, doctors performed lobotomies in an attempt to control impulsive and destructive behaviors.

Greystone photo

Later on, patients were treated using insulin shock therapy in the hopes that they could be “jolted” out of their mental condition. They were injected with increasing doses of insulin over a period of several weeks to two months, causing daily comas. Nurses also used electroshock therapy to induce seizures, a treatment practice that is still used today in cases of severe depression. Unfortunately, patients suffered long term side effects as a result of shock therapy, including gross obesity, brain damage, and even death.

Deinstitutionalization

During the 70s and 80s, patient numbers decreased dramatically as new drugs and budget cuts emptied the congested hallways. Thorazine alleviated psychotic tendencies such as paranoia and hallucinations associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, improving the prognosis of many patients. The development of patient’s rights, including new laws requiring minimum wage in exchange for their labor, forced operating costs to skyrocket as patients could no longer work to offset the price of their care. Public outcry concerning abuse and unsanitary conditions was also a contributing factor.

By 1988, patients and staff had vacated Greystone’s main Kirkbride building. Many buildings, including the dormitory, were subsequently vacated and demolished. The entire complex was slated to close in 2003, but the final remaining patients did not move out until 2008, when a brand new, 450 bed facility opened just up the hill.

Current State

The Greystone campus was purchased by Morris County from the state of New Jersey in 2003 for $1. Due to neglect, the approximately 40 remaining buildings—many of them historically significant—are in danger of being bulldozed.

Greystone photo

Jon Haeber and I visited Greystone in March 2010 to document the hospital before it was too late. Buildings are connected by a network of underground tunnels, some of them beautifully lined in original brick. The tunnels are a confusing labyrinth, making it easy to get disoriented and lost, but they helped us move around freely without any security patrols seeing us. We found wheelchairs abandoned in place by patients in the tunnels. A storage room in the basement contained thousands of patient records on collapsing shelves—admittance documents, physical exams and death certificates.

Greystone photo

Upstairs, the patient wards have sat in a state of arrested decay for the past 20+ years. On the ground floor, we walked past graveyards of chairs and other furniture piled up in dark rooms. A planter with fake flowers still hung in front of a boarded up window in a former patient’s room. Even though I didn’t feel a breeze, I observed the planter slowly twisted back and forth as if being influenced by looming spirits. Peeling paint, rotting wood, and extensive decay surrounded us. Bird carcasses rested in window sills, where they perished after being trapped inside. On the top story, patches of grass grow on the floor as Mother Nature begins to reestablish her dominion.

Greystone photo

Conclusion

Greystone’s demise is an all too common story in the institutionalized care of the mentally ill. The initial practice of providing adequate care was later tarnished by severe overcrowding and cases of abuse. The irony is that one of the central tenets of the Kirkbride Plan focused on moral treatment of patients who previously had been living in appalling conditions—often shackled in chains, neglected, isolated, and tortured by physical beating, starvation, shocking, and bloodletting. But bulging populations, inadequate funding and changing times resulted in the idealistic vision of humanitarians like Dix and Kirkbride being unsustainable.

View more of my Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital photos »

Sources

  • http://www.preservegreystone.org/history.html
  • http://www.kirkbridebuildings.com/buildings/greystonepark/
  • http://www.asylumprojects.org/index.php?title=Greystone_Park_State_Hospital
  • http://www.forgottenphotography.com/greystone/greystone%20history.htm
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trenton_Psychiatric_Hospital
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkbride_Plan
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Story_Kirkbride
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120 Responses to Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital

  1. Jessica said on 

    Hello, I loved your photos!! I live in Morris Plains and drove by it last night. It’s truly fascinating there! How were you able to take the pictures? If I were so inclined, would I be able to do the same? I’m a Psychology major and doing a paper on it, I’d appreciate any advice! lol

  2. barbara savis freestone said on 

    Your photos are fabulous. I grew up in the housing on Greystone Park. My dad was the foreman of the Upholstry Shop until it shut down. Back in the day, the grounds were incredible. My dad had many patients working for him in his shop. Such a shame when they closed it down.

  3. SAM GREEN said on 

    What a creepy place! Is this where the series Most Haunted USA was filmed?

  4. joe said on 

    Thank you for your work in documenting these important decaying pieces of North American architecture – I am really drawn to the truth I see in your images and your willingness to show some of the waste and sadness of such shadow realities as mental hospitals and rusting warships each with their own frightening histories and truths. Strong work… thank you again. Let’s see some more..

  5. Jen said on 

    I have been looking through your site. I love history and your photos are thought provoking. There is so much history here. It is a shame that it is left to rot away. I hope that the documents that are still there are removed and preserved somehow before the buildings disappear.

  6. Diana said on 

    amazing, fascinating and creepy. I hope you guys wear dust masks when you visit these places….

  7. Aimee said on 

    AMAZING! -thank you for sharing!!

  8. Peter Saucerman said on 

    Really nice documentation of your process, and very nice photos as well. I’m particularly jealous of your Ghost Fleet adventure – been looking at those ships for most of my life. If you are in the Bay Area, might you consider a presentation in Sacramento at the Viewpoint Gallery? I think you would find a great turnout.

    • DENISIO said on 

      MOST AMAZING PHOTO ESSAY ON THE LUNATIC ASYLUM AND THE MOTHBALL FLEET. THE STRANGE MAGNFIICENCE AND BIZARRE EFFECTS OF TIME AND NATURE ON THOSE HISTORIC VESSELS BROUGHT TO MIND THE OPENING SCENES OF THE CULT CLASSIC “ALIENS”. RIPLEY AND CREW EXPLORED THE FORLORN HULK OF A MONSTROUS SHIPWRECK. HAVING SERVED ON SEVERAL OF THOSE SHIPS [NAVY & MERCHANT MARINE] I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE PEAK AT SUCH GLORIOUS DECAY.

  9. Pat Denver said on 

    I spent 3months at Greystone in my Last year of Nursing School-a RN Diploma program.We lived in the dormitory setting and walked to another building for our Meals. I t was an unbelievable experience for each of us.
    All of our Psychiatric training was there. We were assigned a client to work with .It was in 1960 and we were told there was 5000 patients there.
    I believe each of us could write stories and many would sound improbable.
    Pat Denver-RN,MA Psych Education

    • Mike said on 

      Pat, my mother was in Greyston in the 1960s. Is it possible for me to correspond with you about conditions there in the 1960s?

    • Tracey said on 

      My mother, aunt and a friend of theirs worked at Greystone in the 50′s, the stories my mother told about being there for the summer as an 18 year old were both sad and funny. Spoke to my aunt who remembers that you had to watch an electric shock treatment and remembers the friend passing out and having to go home. She also said they had to sleep there, looking at these photos I don’t know how they did it.

      • mike said on 

        Tracey, could you possibly tell me more about the shock treatments? Were then done in a big room many at one time? Thanks. Mike

      • MikeV said on 

        Tracey, can I ask some questions about Greystone? My mother went into Greystone in 1961. You can contact me at miketez@aol.com

      • Florence said on 

        My mother was a patient there approximately 1951. Her name was Marion Rose. Perhaps one of you knew of her? I would love to speak to someone who was there at the time working just to talk about the conditions etc. PLEASE respond to me.

    • Michael said on 

      Pat, my mother was there in the 1960s. Can I ask you some questions about Greystone? miketez@aol.com

    • Lisa Iapaucci said on 

      My mother was a patient at Greystone in the mid-late 60′s. She had 3 children, my sister, myself and brother who were sent to stay with relatives for the duration of her stay while my father remained home and worked. As the years passed we later learned she had under gone horrific treatment as well as shock treatments. She became addicted to drugs and alcohol. She is in recovery today not without her fair share of ills. My parents recently celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary. I would like to speak with someone, anyone about what the conditions were really like for my mother. I NEED to know the truth. Please can someone help me?

  10. Pat Denver said on 

    Great Photos,thank you.Great to see a huge part of history explored.
    Pat Denver

  11. NixEclips said on 

    Was this where they shot Session 9? Great photos. Love your site.

  12. Heather said on 

    I was looking for some photos of health care workers caring for psychiatric patients when I happened on your site. Yes, they should bulldoze that place! How awful! What an eerie, sad place. Who wants to remember the awful things they did to those poor people in the name of health care! The atrocities of lobotomies, insulin shock etc. As a contemporary RN, who has met patients who were victims of that “care,” I say that past is best forgotten. I would rather see photos of current plight of the homeless mentally ill, as perhaps in that way the new problems can be addressed.

    • Rachel said on 

      History should never be covered over and forgotten. Forgotten mistakes are repeated.

      • Karen said on 

        So true…how can we learn from our mistakes if we forget and cover up our past. These were fascinating pictures! My parents and I have grown up in Morris Plains and Greystone was always a place of mystery and intrigue to me. I wish there was some way to preserve or restore what is left but people don’t appreciate the historical significance of these old places any more.

  13. mary said on 

    I just watched Ghost Hunters epsode from 2008 when they were at Greystone. It is very sad. I live in PA and there is just too many abandon Mental Hospitals in NJ and PA. It just leaves sad memories of bad things that happend to people. How did doctor’s cope with what they where doing? They were trained proffesionals and they gave people torture. I wish they had help. I don’t blame those lost souls that remain there for keeping it haunted. Not only did they come there for help but got bad help. It is ashame there was no help for them either. Shame on the state for doing that!

    • Thomas Burcher said on 

      Why is it that people who never worked in a mental hospital, seem to have all the answers.? Most of these researchers are affiliated with some University. Or some curious free lance reporter wants to make an impression on their boss? It seems in all reports, they dig up some experimental program that they describe as torture. Where are all the benefits? We used to give quality care on the evenings, where things were not so hurri ed, and staff and patients were not so stressed. Many good reports were sent to Columbus, from the Athens Mental Health Center, where I worked, and helped bring a lot of people back to reality, and Health

  14. Nic said on 

    Thanks for documenting this fantastic place with such striking photos. I hope they will serve to raise public awareness and support to preserve this historic site! Kirkbride plan and a Mansard roof. SAVE GREYSTONE NOW!

  15. Cynthia said on 

    I asked about obtaining records for an aunt who died there in the 1940′s and was told that all of the records were burned. I would love to get into that area of shelves where you found patient records.

    • JB said on 

      Could you call me. My mother just passed away in June & to my surprise I found out She She went to Greystone In the 50′s. I would like the records. Any information you have would be appreciated. Thanks 760 8227019

      • Mike said on 

        The records are gone. They were destroyed by the State.

        • Leigh Busby said on 

          Yes ,records are gone Mike,I was released from Greystone in the mid 80′s and even those records are gone….one reason they gone ,I believe,is the fact patience were murdered in Greystone up to the time I was feed cyanide and an overdose of Haldol ( Medes) because I spoke out too much about what I was witnessing as a patient at Greystone,20/20 did a live story about a death and abuse of one patience named Guy O’Rouke who died in his sleep,(I was in the bed next to him (BTW) ,Guy was left wearing his very heavy leather biker jacket and riding pants in the middle of a scorching summer and over drugged,I saw rape ,nurses (Head nurse Carol on ward #63-64) having sex with a patient named Jimmy,I witnessed another nurse Superviser (AJ) taking patience meds and downing them like a cocktail ( he later ended being fired and a drug addict) ,I was on ward 63 when 20/20 came and yelled out that the story being told was lies because I was the only eye witness to the crime in question,after film crew left ,the staff poisoned me ,God is good,I survived (Holy Ghost power was in me and didn’t know it while a patient) ,there are lots more I witnessed and want the world to know but time won’t allow right now,lol,Greystone was an evil bitch of a fucking placev(my anger coming out here) ,if you want to talk,I am at : 3777 busby@gmail.com

      • LINDA CONDIT-VELDERRAIN said on 

        MY GRANDMOTHER BARBARA PANCOAST WAS COMMITTED TO GEYSTONE PARK ABOUT 60 YEARS AGO. I KNOW SHE WAS BLIND, BUT THAT IS ALL I KNOW ABOUT HER.MY MOTHER HAS DIED AND I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT HER STAY THERE. I DO KNOW SHE DIED THERE.

        I CANNOT BELEIVE THE STATE WOULD DESTROY THESE RECORDS, THESE WERE PEOPLE LOST.

        • jim said on 

          they didnt burn them all….thats what they want you to beleve…there is a place in there most people never looked, most are wore out.. but you can still read them….and i’ll leave it at that
          good bye

          • Elizabeth said on 

            Many are buried at Evergreen Cemetery Morristown NJ pauper graves at the woods edege My grandmother died there in 1941 She was 24 yrs old I bought her a headstone Concetta Anastario Bruno I love her tho we never met

          • Doug said on 

            I am so sorry Elizabeth for losing your grandmother when she was at Greystone. Hopefully she did not suffer. May god rest her soul.
            It saddens me to hear the ongoing stories of families loved ones and what many experienced during their stay at Greystone. As I said before, hopefully someday, through new research on mental illness, discoveries and treatments will be found so people with mental illness can live full,healthy and happy lives .

          • mike said on 

            I consider myself to be lucky. My father took my mother out of Greystone in 1967. In one of her letters she mentioned that patients were lead to believe that someone was coming to visit them, but never did. Greystone was a dumping ground for many. Put there and forgotten by their family. My father visited by mother every Tuesday and Saturday from 1961 to 1967. Unfortunately she was given EST. It took her personality away.

            I feel sad for those who had family members dumped in Greystone. Never to know what happened to them, and probably never will.

          • Doug said on 

            Mike, you father was an exceptional man taking care of everything while your mother was at Greystone.
            If you don’t mind what was your mothers first name? Maybe by some chance miracle she could have been the patient my mother was helping care for in a prerelease program sometime during late 60′s. She suffered with schizophrenia as I now remember.

        • Leigh Busby said on 

          Those records we’re destroy to cover up lots of abuses and murder,trust me ,I am a survivor ,an ex patient committed to Greystone in the 80′s

    • Elizabeth said on 

      My grandmother died there in 1941 many are buried in pauper graves at Evergreen Cemetery Morristown NJ I bought a headstone for her Concetta Anastario Bruno

      • jennifer brunner said on 

        my grandfather also was a patient of greystone who died there sometime in the ’60s, possibly as late as ’70… I would love to find out how to know if he is buried on the property, and also access the lost records of his illness. I believe he suffered ptsd after ww1. would love to hear from anyone having patient details about that timeframe. I have heard that they photographed patients on entry, and I have never seen a photo of my grandfather…would be so thrilled to discover this.

  16. Roberta said on 

    We should learn from the past !! Never ever let history repeat itself. This was a horrible site for me my heart goes out to the poor mentally ill
    patients that went through hell back in the day.

    Going forward we should assist all people with illnesses and not treat them like unwanted souls.

    Roberta

  17. Mike said on 

    Is it possible to talk to someone who worked there or is familiar with Greystone? Please call me at 770-655-2000 or email…. miketez@aol.com Thanks.

    • Leigh Busby said on 

      You may speak with me if you like ,never worked there but was committed there 1980′ s (3777busby@gmail.com) you will be amazed what I heard and witnessed at Greystone,I still remember the workers names ,most of them

  18. Bob said on 

    Thanks for posting your photos. I worked two summers in the Recreation Department in the early ’60′s. These shots churn a lot of memories. Their approach to mowing the lawn brings one of the glimmers of happy memory. Their supervisor would line the patients, each with his own old rickety push mower, on the edge of the area to be cut. At the start, they were an invincible attack on the week’s growth. And off they went, at first in a fairly kempt, but increasingly more ragged line. After a couple of passes, they were criss-crossing, mowing, wandering, but the grass didn’t stand a chance.
    Other memories – - not so good. The women with lank, chopped off hair. The back wards where the (oops, I almost wrote “inmates”) patients sat on bleachers all day in a catatonic, probably medicine induced trance-state. And those “back wards” really struck one as forgotten, blasted territory. Then there were patients held “redeemable.” These lucky souls were overdosed with insulin, kicked into a comatose state. When their bodies had finally absorbed the excess, they were left pale, sweaty, and “hung over” drinking gobs of Kool Aid to re-establish some strange equilibrium. It was “Over the Cuckoos Nest” territory all right.
    As a just graduated from high school, very naive kid, it was a welcome to the often surreal world I’ve come to know as all too real. I must say that the food in the Employee’s Cafeteria, which could be had for a pittance through a monthly Meal-A-Day card was excellent. Especially the clam chowder on fridays. I used to think that the cooks were all graduates of the school of hard knocks, expecially the military. and they treated their fellow employees, the attendants, the nurses, and other working (but “non porfessional” staff) folks very well indeed.
    Thanks again for the memories.

  19. Mike said on 

    Please, anyone who has information on life at Greystone please contact me at miketez@aol.com. My mother was in Ward 49 from 1961 to 1965. I’m trying to get as much info as possible as to what life was like for those years. I have some letters she wrote while there. I’m trying to get more information. Email…miketez@aol.com

    Thanks,

    Mike

  20. Mary said on 

    I asking if some I know still works at Greystone he did several years ago. His name was John Lorenzano He was an artist as well. Please if he does let me know how I may reach him. Its been a long time since I have heard from him. Mary Ayers Beam Saurwein

  21. Jared said on 

    What’s the status on legality of entering the abandoned sections of Greystone for photography purposes?

  22. Christian said on 

    I want to let people know that the pictures on this website dont compare to the hell that goes on inside someone who is mentally ill. Im 36. Ive been in greystone twice. In the old buildings. I also one of the people that move that day into the new building. If someone has not experienced mental illness these photos are nothing to what we see……

    • Mike said on 

      Christian,

      My mother was in Greystone/Kirkbride Building beginning in 1961. Were you in the Kirkbride Building? Can you tell me some more about it? You can contact me via email: miketez@aol.com, or reply on here.

      Mike

  23. Candy said on 

    My mother’s sister was a patient at Greystone in the ’50′s. I was very young, maybe 5 or 6, and we would go visit. I was not allowed to enter, but I remember my mother being very upset by the visits. As a kid, i remember how frightening that place was. The fact that we had a family member in this psychiatric hospital was source of great shame for them. It was never discussed and questions would never be answered. To this day, I don’t know what happened to her. Only one of her siblings is alive today(out of 10), and secrets are still being kept. This aunt’s children, my cousins, were shunned. Would love to locate them.

    • Anne said on 

      Candy,
      My grandmother was in Greystone in the 50′s. She died there in 1958. Her family was from Philadelphia but she married and lived in the Passaic area with my grandfather and children. I know she came from a large family- was just grabbing at a straw. I am late in the game trying to find information about her- have you found anything out about your aunt?
      Thanks

  24. Alan said on 

    This was very poignant photo and journalistic essay of a sad time in our history. Well done. I had an aunt (she seemed old but only in her early 40′s then) that I remember visiting her outside on the grounds of Greystone back in the early 50′s; we had a huge bag of store bought chocolate chip cookies which I recall eating too many and feeling sick to my stomach afterwards…probably keep my weight in check by hating that feeling!

    She was shunned by the rest of the family, who were embarrassed, by her but not by me. I remember her calls to our house in NJ as a kid and her just wanting to talk and visit; it was a toll call that she made to us and we rarely called her. I was always a sensitive and outgoing child who just love to talk and be the center of attention…we got along famously; she was a sweetheart. I know my mom and her siblings were ashamed of our aunt as she wasn’t “normal”. Judging by what I know now, I assume she suffered from extreme depression; not much more but there weren’t the miraculous drugs available to treat her nearly 60 years ago, as there are now.

    • Mike said on 

      Alan,

      My mother went into Greystone in 1961 for a few years. She never called home, but she wrote some letters. She had the same situation with drugs back then. She ended up having electric shock therapy which put her schizophrena in a dormant state. She would seem normal for a short time, but the schizophrenia came back not too long afterwards.

  25. Kate said on 

    My husband’s aunt was there back in the 1920s. She was born around 1871, so is long gone, but we can’t find any record of her death. Do you know if they have a cemetery on the grounds? The patient records in the basement may explain why we cannot find a death certificate.

    • Mike said on 

      Kate,

      There’s a NJ congressman…. Mr. Cody, I believe. He is researching the graves of Greystone. Do you have your relative’s patient records?

    • Mary said on 

      Kate my great grandmother was sent to Greystone in March, 1911 and died there in November, 1911. I called Greystone and later received a copy of a small piece of paper with her admission date, date of discharge, how discharged (which in her case was death) discharge number, religion, class, and ward. I then sent away for her death certificate. If you call Greystone with his aunts full name and the approximate time she was there you should at least receive the information I did. If your husband’s aunt died at Greystone, then her death certificate would be from Morris County. If you receive his aunt’s death certificate it will also say where she is buried. Sadly Greystone claims all the records were destroyed, except for the bare facts I listed above. I wish I could find out what treatment my great grandmother received, what her diagnosis was and most importantly what caused her death. I think it is shameful how they disregarded these people. If they saved the small amount of information I received on my great grandmother how much harder would it have been to type in diagnosis and cause of death?

      • Michael said on 

        Mary, there is a state senator who used to work there for his father’s funeral home. they handled those who died in Greystone. His last name is Cody, I believe.

        Please tell me how I can go about getting my mother’s records.

        Please respond here or email me at miketez@aol.com

        Thanks,

        Mike

        • Leigh Busby said on 

          How old is this Cody guy,a gentleman was sent sorta undercover to get a medicine cup I held unto of residue of an attempted overdose I was given and I think it could be him,I would love contact with this Cody if it was him ( I was in Greystone in the mid 80′s) …..thanks,contact me at (3777busby@gmail.com)…. Trust me ,the staffers did not want the public to know how bad Greystone patients were treated ,today my cousin is a patient in the cottages that were left

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  27. ian said on 

    hi i have my own paranormal group 4CPG and was wondering if we could maybe do an investagatetion there freel free to e-mail me back at fourcountyparanormalgroup@gmail.com

  28. Christine said on 

    Hi…awesome photos and discussion. I myself did some wandering of Greystone back in the day. I actually have a bunch of original medication sheets from the 1930′s (I think) when a friend and I discovered the old pharmacy. They were just lying around along with old syringes and medication vials-very surreal. Lately I’ve been thinking about if they are worth anything-I know that building along with most of them, has since been demolished. The only reason I’m even thinking of selling them (versus just giving them away or hanging on to them) is because I’m a single mom and money’s tight,lol. And they aren’t doing any good just sitting at the bottom of my closet waiting for my 3 year old to discover and destroy them. If anyone knows of any place that might be interested in them(maybe a historical society or something) let me know. Thanks!

  29. Maureen said on 

    I remember as a teenager, going to Greystone during the fall. Every year they would hold a sort of charity event when the patients would create crafts and area residents would donate things to be sold. I remember going there with my mother and It was nice but eerie, knowing the patients there were mentally challenged and me at the time wandering around the different buildings and corridors, when I think about it now, I guess I was sort of drawn there. I used to drive through the road the cuts through grounds to get to different jobs. Sometimes patients were walking from farm buildings to main buildings. It’s sad, those buildings were architecturally magnificent, just the thought of them being torn down is incredibly sad!

  30. pennie martin (smith) said on 

    MY UNCLE AFTER WORKING FOR THE GOVERMENT DURING WW!! ENDED UP IN GREYSONE AFTER THE A BOMB WENT OFF HE DIED IN THERE.. I VISITED HIM MANY TIMES THIS BRINGS BACK SOME MEMORIES…. HE WAS TO BRILLIANT

  31. Anthony said on 

    These pictures are very cool. The history of this place is great. I would like to get my paranormal team in here to investagate . How would i get in to seek spirits. My team is called Seekers Club of the Paranormal. Anthony

  32. Jane said on 

    Since a lot of people here seem to have an interest in the history of Greystone and I have done extensive research on Greystone and felt a need to clear up some of the misconceptions about this glorious place. When Greystone opened in 1976 it was a state of the art asylum. The architecture is remarkable and truly beautiful and was developed based on the Kirkebride plan which utilized fresh air, sunlight and yes work therapy to help patients recover and indeed many of them did. The work that patients performed was not random tasks to improve the facility or to make money but scientifically chosen to provide patients with a diversion to help keep their minds off their symptoms (and yes it really did work in fact the well respected field of “occupational therapy” was founded on these principles). In fact patients were encouraged to engage in work that helped relieve their symptoms while providing them with skills that they could use once “paroled” as it was called back in the day. Greystone provided a supportive environment for many people that society threw away. Some of the therapies of the day may seem archaic by today’s standards but at the time there was very little that was proven to help the sufferers of mental illness. Many of those therapies worked and provided help for people who just a few years earlier had no hope of recovery and normal life. The quality of care improved throughout many decades and with the inclusion of drug therapies patients had even greater chances of recovery. One of the more interesting pieces of Greystone history is a magazine, The Psychogram, which was largely written, printed and published by patients. It was one of the first and most successful anti-stigma initiatives focused at the general public. The Psychogram was sold at local newsstands and available by subscription and included hospital news, world events, patient poetry and essays and local advertisements. It truly showcased the talents and abilities of people suffering from mental illness. This was published from 1916 until well into the 1960s. Some of the therapies, like the lobotomies performed there and at other facilities were cruel and resulted in permanent damage to patients. Important to note here is that two of the largest studies on the effects of lobotomies were conduct at Greystone, The Columbia/Greystone Project. The findings of these study which were originally conducted to prove the positive effects of lobotomies concluded that they were not effective in the majority of patients and as a result of this study the practice of full frontal lobotomies were eliminated in the US. As the years passed conditions deteriorated, funding was cut and abuses occurred resulting in a lawsuit, Doe v Klein. As a result of this lawsuit a court ordered watchdog group formed in 1977 monitoring Greystone for abuses for 40 years. In the years that followed that court ruling Greystone improved the quality of care given to their residents and now has returned to providing state of the art treatments like creative arts, cognitive therapies, community integration, peer services, skill acquisition, vocational rehabilitation, equine and canine therapies and continually fights to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. It is important to recognize the amazing contributions that this hospital has made to the field of mental health in their 136 year history albeit a relatively short period of abuses. Unfortunately many of the over 100 buildings that once comprised this town which once boasted it’s own zip code have been destroyed along with much of the history. We should all be fighting to eliminate the horrible stigma that follows the mentally ill and to save what remains of Greystone and it’s remarkable history. I could just go on and on. Oh wait I think I did.

    • Stephon said on 

      OH Jane what a wonderfully well written reply! I had to take a break away from my delicious flavored coffee to take that all in, but gosh darn it! it was well worth it!

    • MikeV said on 

      Jane, I believe you meant 1876, not 1976.

      My mother was in the Kirkbride building in Greystone in the 1960s. I have some of her letters and poems she wrote. She also did a lot of sewing and knitting while there.

      I have some questions about Greystone, would you be able to help me find answers to them?

    • Doug said on 

      My mother was a nursing supervisor at Greystone Parks ‘TB’ building in the early 50′s to early 60′s.
      Before our family moving to New Jersey she was a head nurse at Ft. Dedum Massacusetts, caring for
      WW2 wounded soldiers from Europe.
      I remember visits ,to our home, from other nursing staff and Doctors who my mother became close with with during her time at Greystone Park.
      I also remember weekend visits, with some of my childhood friends, to Greystone with my mother, visiting nursing friends, doctors, and some patients at Greystone. The vivid memories of the weekend visits are of the farms, espacially the pig farm, but also the hospital waiting room while my mother left my friends and I with my aunt while she visited patients and the awful smell of that hospital building.
      Alas not all visits to our home from fellow staff were for purely friendly or social reasons.
      A young male nurse befriened and visited my mother ,at our home ,only as a giuse to get close to myself and my brother, who were both sexually abused by this man.
      My father became suspect after which the male nurse disappered and left Greystone.
      My brother and I never exposed the abuse and of course cannot ever blame our mother and father.
      The unscrupulous tactics of a sexuall preditor, even today, are hard to detect .
      My mother was accepting and trusting to all no matter their status or position, perhaps to a fault.
      Just a note on the resume of my mother as a nursing professional.
      She was just a few of her class to attain and be awarded a Florence Nightingale nursing award.
      She and my father are both long deceased.
      The abuse my brother and I suffered was reborned at my older brothers recent passing and I cannot,in his memory,keep it secret anymore!
      THE NAME OF THE PREDITOR IS GERALD WILLIAMS AND WAS EMPLOYED AT GREYSTONE
      PARK SOMETIME IN THE EARLY 50′S. ANY HELP IN FINDING THIS THIS PEDAFILE WOULD
      PREVENT SOMEONE ESLE BECOMING A VICTIM.

  33. Bob Petrina said on 

    I just found out that my grandmother was admitted to Greystone in late 1947 and died there two weeks later. I understand that the records were destroyed but are you aware of any other place I might any information about her stay or more specific info about what might have happened that resulted in her death in only two weeks. I have to tell you that I am almost afraid to know. Thank you for any info you might provide.

    • Mary said on 

      Bob, my great grandmother was admitted to Greystone in March of 1911 and died there in November of 1911. I called them and they did say the records were destroyed, which I think is awful. They did save a small amount of information on the patients, but nothing more then name, religion, class, date of admission, date of discharge (which in our case is death). If they saved that, why not save the reason for death? I would greatly appreciate it if you would e-mail me if you ever do find any other way to get information on the patients. I too would like to find out what my great grandmother’s diagnosis and treatment were but especially the cause of her death.
      Thanks,
      Mary

      • Michael said on 

        Contact New Jersey Senator Richard Codey. He used to take care of the deceased from Greystone when he was a young man working for his father’s funeral home. He’s trying to get the state to preserve Greystone. Try this number… (908) 624-0880.

    • Marge Bailey Dickinson said on 

      I too had a grandmother who died at Greystone…they say a hanging or smothered with a pillow…can anyone help with the research? Her name was Margaret Roon Bailey.

  34. elle said on 

    I’m curious about the records that are mentioned in this article and might still be in the building. If anyone is planning to go out and visit or take further photographs, please let me know if you’d be willing to check out those files… elle@attentionsoldier.com

  35. ernest pacheco said on 

    My wife’s grand-father was a patient @ Greystone in the early 1020s & i will never forget the look on his face and the stench of manuer when we used to visit him. I’m glad that Greystone was closed down for good, but i would have gotten more joy had it been destroyed totally. Every time i pass by that building i get the goose-bumps all over thinking about the horror, pain & sorrow, those poor people had to endure at the hands of those …?

  36. ernest pacheco said on 

    …typo, i meant 1940s-oops!

    • Michael said on 

      But ask yourself……… which one of your relatives put him in there? Would he be better off on the streets? Which one of your relatives basically dumped him in there?

  37. Josh said on 

    Does anyone know what buildings are still left and their exact locations?

  38. mel said on 

    MY FRIENDS AND I USED TO SNEAK INTO THE TUNNELS CONNECTING THE BUILDINGS, TOTALLY UNBELIEVABLE. PATIENTS CROWDED INTO A ROOM WATCHING NOTHING BUT SNOW ON A TV. NEWSPAPER PILED TO MAKE A SORT OF IGLOO. A CAGE TO HOLD A PERSON UPRIGHT AND STILL SURROUNDED BY MANY SHOWERHEADS.

  39. Audrey said on 

    Hey, okay I’m not that old but I wanna know more about this stuff. I feel drawn towards greystone because my cousins mother went there as a child to visit her father. I do not know his name or the year but he died like 4-5 years ago when I first got to know him. I want to know more about how they were treated etc. can anybody help me?

  40. Michael said on 

    I just found that Preserve Greystone is on facebook. “Like” their page.

  41. tammy crago said on 

    im living in ohio but from jersey if anyone from ohio ever wants to explore there, send me an email, im game.

    cragotammy@yahoo.com

  42. Audrey said on 

    @Michael
    They have a Facebook? No way! That’s weird

  43. Randolph Moore said on 

    In 1968 I refused to be drafted in the Army during the Vietnam Conflict.I was living in Brooklyn,N.Y. at the time and was ordered to work at Greystone Park Hospital some 60 miles away. My first thoughts were
    that this experience would have a devestating affect on me. I remember that cold March 1969 morning catching the bus to Morris Plains. I worked for 2yrs first in Occupatienal Therapy at the Children’s unit.Then I worked my final 6 months in the maintenace Dept.I remember having to raise the Flags every morning on the main building. I was staying in the building housng men & women employees. I am a African-American male now 70 years
    old.My 2 years at Greystone was one of the best experience of my life. The people I met will stay with me
    forever.These Photo’s bring back so many memories both sad but more good. Coming from N.Y. this was like
    a retreat for me. I am now living in Calif. but when I come home to visit I will try to visit these grounds again.

  44. MIKE said on 

    MY MOTHER WAS IN GRAYSTONE IN THE 1960s , SHE IS NOW 91 YEARS AND SHARP AS A TACK, TALK ABOUT IRONY, SHE TELLS ME ABOUT SHOCK TREATMENTS, AND THE WORK SHE DID IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM, SHE HAS FRIEND THAT GOES TO THE SAME CHURCH AS HER , NOW I DO NOT KNOW HOW SHE WAS WHEN SHE WENT IN BUT WHEN I SEE HER SHE APPEARS ABSENT AS IF SOMEONE STOLE HER SOUL, MY MOTHER TO THIS DAY IS PROUD OF THE FACT THAT SHE WORK HER WAY OUT OF THAT PLACE, AND I AM PROUD OF HER, SHE HAS ALWAYS BEEN MY HERO. P.S IF ANYONE CAN FIND RECORDS PLEASE POST LOCATION, THANK YOU

    • Doug said on 

      Mike, if your mother was in in early 60′s it would be possible my mother(nurse), knew her although there were a large number of patients then at Greystone. She probably was in main(original) building because if my memory is correct I think the main building had a large laundry but other buildings may have had their own laundries. If alive today my mother would be 100. I am glad to hear you mother made it through her experience at Greystone. I remember a patient I met who sopposedly suffered from shizophrenia who was going through a prerelease program supervised by my mother and her doctor. The patient seem to be in good physical condition but was somewhat withdrawn although aware. The patient was eventually released to her family. I rember hearing mention of shock therapy but not anything specific that i can remember only at that time there was an ongoing debate about the proceedure.
      I went to school with the son of one of the Physchatrists at the hospital and he was a very intelligent
      and kind man although never discussing his patients or his role in realtion to Greystone Park. I believe the majority of staff at Greystone were dedicated to their jobs and the patients even though
      their jobs were made difficult under the unusual circumstances dealing with people with various levels of mental illness. I can only imagine the pain and suffering of some people suffering from severe forms of mental illness and my heart truly goes out to those people and their families. Hopefully someday with the development of knew therapies ,for those with mental illness, their lives will be lives
      filled with success and happiness.

      • mike said on 

        Mike, that would be amazing if your mother was involved with my mother’s release. She was in Ward 49 in the Main Building. My mother went there after a breakdown in 1961. My father brought her home for good in 1967. I know people were concerned because she came home to three children… ages 9, 8 and 6. My mother suffered from shizofrenia. Never recovered. Shock therapy probably did more damage than good. It took her personality away. It was interesting growing up with her living in the same house. Though ill, she was not at all violent. Later in life, with new medications, she was a calm person. She laughed a lot. Most when talking to herself. Everytime I think about it our family story could be a movie. Small house, mentally ill woman and husband with 3 children, but most importantly my father was a dedicated husband and father. He stayed with her even though he was given advise to leave her in Greystone. My father worked full time, shopped, cooked and cleaned while we were very young. He did all this for his mentally ill wife and his 3 children. He died relatively young from cancer. Amazing story.

      • mike said on 

        for anyone who wants to communicate regarding Greystone….. miketez@aol.com

    • Michael said on 

      MIKE, can we share emails to discuss our mothers? miketez@aol.com

  45. Serena said on 

    I feel sorry for all the relatives asking about the treatment their relatives received in this horribleplace.first of of all, all the records were destroyed or went missing to cover up the mistreatment that happened here. Yes there is a cemetary on the grounds, As well as an elaborate tunnel system neath. This was used to transport the dead without family and other s seeing what was really going on theere. The atrocities are still largely are still largely unknown. Rampant sexual abuse, torture and excessive accidental deaths due to abuse are the known conditions. I esp feel bad for the Person wondering why their relative was admgttdp and two weeks later died. You know what must’ve happened. It’s terrible , just a tradgedy how these people were treated. I really wonder how many were killed or accidentally died.

  46. William Schnabel said on 

    No one ever mentions the children’s buildings. I was sent there. I had skipped school a bunch of times and got caught with pot. I was placed there on Christmas eve in the mid 70′s. I’d love to know what happened to some of those other kids.

  47. Ed O said on 

    I spent a year in a maximum security ward at Greystone in1954! What an experience!
    You would not believe the things that I saw, and I was not really mentally ill.

  48. Michael said on 

    Ed O, could you tell me more about it? miketez@aol.com

  49. Elizabeth said on 

    Is it possible to go there today and walk along the grounds and photograph the old buildings and tunnels? Or is it all fenced off and paroled by police? Can anyone let me know. Thank you!!

    • Michael said on 

      A few years ago you would have been able to sneak in. Try to get in now and you’ll be arrested. It was announced a few days ago that it will be demolished next year.

    • Katie said on 

      Hi Elizabeth,
      I live in New Jersey and have been to greystone. Most of the windows are boarded up and there are fenses surrounding the main building anywhere from about 50 feet to 2 feet away from the building. It is evident that people have broken into the building before; there is even a very creepy doll in a window about three stories up :0. Although I was only there for maybe a half hour, I saw police cars driving by at least twice and there was also a police car sitting near the entrance of Greystone.

  50. mike s. said on 

    I was there “for observation” in 1970 and again in 1972. Those were the days of the “Thorazine shuffle”. So many people were there that should not have been.Back then you were put in there for any reason if they didn’t know what else to do.

  51. ALVIN FRANKLIN said on 

    I WAS EMPLOYED AT GREYSTONE IN 1973 AND 1974. I LIVED ON THE GROUNDS IN A DORMITORY-LIKE SETTING. I WORKED IN THE LAUNDRY DEPT.,WE WOULD DELIVER LINEN
    TO THE WARDS. I LIVED IN N Y AT THE TIME SO I NEVER SPENT ANY WEEKENDS THERE.
    IT WAS A HORRIBLE PLACE.MOST OF THE EMPLOYEES WAS THERE JUST FOR THE JOB,THEY
    DIDN’T CARE ABOUT THE PATIENTS. LOT OF THE EMPLOYEE’S USED DRUGS MOSTLY
    PRESCRIPTION PILLS. I QUIT BECAUSE OF THE BRUTALITY I SAW THERE . PATIENT ON PATIENT BRUTALITY AND EMPLOYEE ON PATIENT BRUTALITY. I HAVE ONLY TALKED TO
    MY WIFE ABOUT THIS PLACE . BUT AFTER READING THESE E MAILS I HAD TO TELL THESE
    WHAT I REMEMBER AT GREYSTONE. THE ONLY GOOD THING ABOUT GREYSTONE WAS THE
    FOOD IN THE CAFETERIA AS SOMEONE STATED BEFORE.

    • mike said on 

      My mother was there from 1961 to 1967. My father brought her home after she had ECT. She never recovered. I was 8 years old when she came home. She was a paranoid schizophrenic. Looking back now I can say it was a very unique experience living with her. She was not violent at all. My father wouldn’t have brought her home if she was. Though mentally ill she was a loving person. Hard to explain. I have letters written by her while she lived in Ward 49. Very fascinating letters. As bad as the place was, part of the problem was that family members used Greystone as a dumping ground. I got that impression from one of her letters.

  52. Elizabeth said on 

    Evergreen cemetery is where thousands were buried Morristown NJ

  53. Anne said on 

    I want to learn more about getting information about patients. I will be using the numbers posted here. My grandmother was in Greystone- not sure when she was admitted but she died there in 1958, and was there at least five years.
    Heartbreaking to read all of this- as someone else said, you are almost afraid to discover the truth.
    Thanks

  54. Alice said on 

    My mom was at Greystone around 1945. From what I was eventually told they evidently put her through the mill of horrors. Somehow she survived. I was born in 1953 and never knew until I was 35 years old. My 3 siblings never mentioned anything until then.

    When I took her to doctor appointments she always told the doctors that she was allergic to Curare. When I mentioned this to the eldest sibling, he told me she had a partial lobotomy.

    Other bits of information:
    She had the nerves behind her eyes washed out.-Mom
    My older sister said she was totally fearful of mom when she was released because of 2 black eyes. My sister was probably about 6 years old.
    Mom’s one arm was paralyzed. I was always told that she had a stroke. I believe this was from insulin shock treatment.
    I don’t remember why but believe she also had electric shock treatments.
    She was picked up wandering the street.

    In putting this all together I believe she had postpartum depression after my brother was born.

    The thought that they may have done an ‘ice-pick’ lobotomy possibly under paralysis from curare is sickening.

  55. Mike said on 

    My mother had EST while there. It basically fried her brain. Took her personality away. My father brought her home after the EST. She was taken there shortly after my brother was born. Most likely post pardum pyschosis. Back then 1961 post pardum depression wasn’t even considered. She was never the same, but my father didn’t leave her there to die. A lot of people were basically dumped there by their families. My father visited her twice a week. He took her out in 1967 after the EST, against doctor’s orders. I have some letters she wrote while there. Fascinating insight. I hope the Kirkbride building will be preserved.

  56. lesly said on 

    my grandmother and her sister and brother worked at greystone in 1906 – is there a list anywhere of the staff?