David McCarthy, New Haven, CT

Undercliff Institution

The History – (wiki)
Undercliff State Hospital, or Meriden Sanatorium, was a hospital erected and established as Meriden Sanatorium in 1910 to serve children with tuberculosis. In 1922/1924 the name was changed to Undercliff Sanatorium. In 1939, the hospital began accepting adults. In 1967 the name was changed from Undercliff Sanatorium to Undercliff Mental Health Center. As of 1976, the facility was discontinued. In July 1964 a fire destroyed the hospital’s garage and some vehicles.

Back in the early 1900`s till the 30`s and 40`s near the Undercliff Institution there was a sanatorium made for sick children with diseases like rubella, mumps, German measles etc. Most of the children were brought there to die. The old brick building still stands near the old institution. Residents say that they can hear children crying and laughing. They are seen in the windows but only to vanish before you. Undercliff is now an abandoned building that is host to many different sightings. Reports of hearing former patients running around corners and down hallways to escape orderlies, and faint screams being heard form rooms where shock therapy was supposedly administered. Also sightings of a former patient who was murdered by a group of other patients with plastic utensils from the commissary walk the old courtyard.

The Vibe -
Walking through the sanatorium you can hear the creaks and clatter of the deterioration taking place right before you. Wandering through the first floor it was hard to ignore the large amounts of water that made it from the roof (five or six floors up) dripping and pooling all over the ceiling covered ground. The drips were the only sounds piercing through the silence throughout the building. They collectively can start to sound like voices. Oddly enough some of the rooms still have electricity in the basement. This makes the place more surreal and creepy because when you walk into a lit area in a hallway, everywhere around you is pitch black. Walking through the kitchen, it was hard to imagine the kids walking though to collect their lunches. As I stood in the center I tried to visualize where the kids would stand, where they would walk in through, what they would talk about, and where they would sit and eat.

On the upper levels are what appeared to be the children’s rooms, or possible isolation rooms. They were all identical, a square room with a single closet and a bathroom. The rooms alternated in color, blue and yellow.

Sitting in the theater / auditorium was quite an experience. It had been severely damaged by water. The wooden seats were all warped and splintered from the heat and water over the years. The stage roof had caved in, feeding light to its new fern covered floor.

Over all it was a beautiful place to roam. I was not able to cover it all and will be going back to explore it entirely.

Words Of Advice -
BE SAFE! If you get in, so can others. I happen to bump into a crew of copper thieves who were all carrying hammers. They did not look friendly and after a short conversation where they pretended to be security I split. Be prepared to defend yourself and your equipment, or to just run. Bring lights, face masks, and wear pants.

Videos – (not mine)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZ7aRPfZf0w
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hz2NAA3DOno&feature=related

This entry was posted on Monday, June 13th, 2011 at 8:29 pm and is filed under Photography, Urban Decay. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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