1878 the State Lunatic Hospital at Danvers was erected,
under the supervision of prominent Boston architect Nathaniel
J Bradlee, in an extremely rural, out-of-the-way location.The
immediate crisis which precipitated the building of a
mental hospital north of Boston was the imminence in the
early 1870's of the closing of the facility at South Boston.
In 1873, Worcester, Taunton and Northampton and the 1866
Tewksbury Asylum for chronic patients were already housing
1300 patients in buildings designed for 1000; another
1200 were scattered about in various other hospitals.
the hospital was originally established to provide residential
treatment and care to the mentally ill, its functions
expanded to include a training program for nurses in 1889
and a pathological research laboratory in 1895. By the
1920's the hospital was operating school clinics to help
determine mental deficiency in children. During the 1960's
as a result of increased emphasis on alternative methods
of treatment and deinstitutionalization and community
based mental health care, the inpatient population started
to decrease. Danvers State Hospital closed on June 24,
1992 due to budget cuts within the mental health system.
Thomas Story Kirkbride, who served the Pennsylvania Hospital
as the superintendent from 1841-1883 created a humane
and compassionate environment for his patients, and believed
that beautiful settings restored patients to a more natural
"balance of the senses". Dr. Kirkbride's progressive
therapies and innovative writings on hospital design along
with management became known as the Kirkbride Plan, which
influenced, in one form or another, almost every American
state hospital by the turn of the century including Danvers.