Formerly known as "Creepy-chusetts, Strange-chusetts".

Monday, January 10, 2011

Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Boston

From Google Street View

Bummer, it's gone.

I knew it was abandoned, but I thought I didn't need to rush because it was on the National Register of Historic Places.

One day, I overheard the Longwood people talking about a demolition of one certain building, and I had a nagging feeling about it, and dropped by.

And here it is!

Rubble, rubble, rubble... 

Massachusetts Mental Health Center was built in 1912 as Boston Psychopathic Hospital. The center was closed in 2003. There were suggestions to renovate the facility, but well, you see what happened.

There was a handful of information about the demolition of Gaebler Children's Center. (Note: the work completed in last November. I'm planning to write about that in near future.) But until I overheard the conversation, I had no idea about this demolition. It is interesting that those hospital buildings were left abandoned for quite a while, but suddenly they've gone. Is there any reason to hurry up? Job creation?

I've been writing for many time in this blog that demolishing abandoned psychiatric hospitals may indicate that people are trying to forget about the rather uncomfortable past and PRESENT; a building has the power to represent our mind as an unspoken witness.

From Google Street View

I didn't intend to but this became another Apocalyptic post of 2011.

Locate Massachusetts Mental Health Center @ Google Map

Added on Feb 28: Check out the silvertoazzz's You Tube clip, Mass Mental Teardown. My photo is credited there!


  1. I took a couple shots of that building 5 years ago:

    I wished someone had the nerve to break in and take photos inside before it was torn down. There were lights still on in the building even though it had been boarded up for 3 years.

  2. Hi, urbpan.

    The lighting on the building in your photos is amazing. I mean, beautifully eerie. But that noodley tentacles made me chuckle.

  3. I worked here for over 3 years back in mid 70s. The teaching staff, residents, nurses, mental health workers, sociologists, administration and other staff were the most dedicated and talented people I have ever worked with... and we helped thousands of patients deal with very difficult problems. God bless all of those patients...

  4. Hi Anon,

    Thank you for sharing your history to us!

    Did you check out the Silvertoazzz you tube? He beautifully presented the old footage of the center.

  5. Great pictures you should try and get into the Mclean tunnels,i think it would be very easy to do

  6. Thanks Anon,

    I wish McLean or any hospitals had a tunnel tour or something like that...

  7. I have another perspective. I am glad to see it gone.I have had the will and the strength to take it down brick by brick.I am a lesbian woman who was hospitalized as a teenager a MMHC in the 1960's to cure me of my homosexuality.Fortunately the treatment failed. I am happily married to the woman I love and we have 2 children and 2 grandchildren. In 1999, I received in person,an apology from the 1st year resident psychiatrist who admitted me as a 17 year old in 1966.

  8. Hi Anon,

    I'm so glad you didn't get cured! I'm glad you fought so hard for your identity!

    I was thinking about Lou Reed as I was reading your comment. It always astonishes, saddens, and enrages me that how not only the authority but us as a human being are capable of destroying a person's natural feeling, identity, and life under the banner of "rational" science. It's plain cruel.

    Have you read my past post about institutionalized single mothers in the 20's? Including your case, I cannot help thinking that the way we define sanity/ insanity is under a very shaky ground.

    Say hello to your lovely family. If you are willing to share more of your life story with us, I'd be delighted to listen. (creepychusetts[at]

    Take care,

  9. Shuko, Thank you for your generous and caring response. Thank you also for the reference to Lou Reed. He has a great story of courage, survival and a path towards wholeness, although a much different path than mine.
    In November 2009, on a very early on Sunday morning with torrential rain I drove into Boston and took my own photos. I also took a piece of the front steps and a brick. I have used the photos in making a collage of healing and the slate slab and bricks are the base for a cactus garden.
    The process of coming to terms with the horrific experience has taken more than 40 years. I am now trying to speak about it as a way of dealing with the isolation and shame. I know personally of no other person who has had an experience of being hospitalized as a teen when the only diagnosis was "homosexual tendencies" and "anxiety" (scared to death of coming out.)

  10. Hi again,

    I praise your courage to face the traumatic past in order to lessen the pain.

    I think bringing the bricks and slate slabs back to your garden has a great symbolic meaning; now you are living with the past, the years you always wanted to erase from your mind completely, acknowledging that it is the "base" (like the things in your garden) of your life. I hope your cactus keeps growing tough 'n strong like you!

    I know we are complete strangers, but when things are tough, please remember that I'm on your side! When you happen to come Massachusetts again, even not, you could send me an email written on my previous message.