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KPPC: A Journey Through History



The Hospital Grounds

Posted on July 19, 2011 at 6:19 AM

     There were many things located on the grounds of the hospital ranging from apple orchards to huge hills of coal and ash from the power plants. In fact, the Potter's Field Cemetery was built atop a hill made up of ash from the second power plant, while an apple orchard was cleared out to make room for the construction of the third power plant.

     Thick wooded areas now surround the derelict buildings of the hospital. Thorn bushes and poison ivy grow rampant making the woods hazardous to venture through. One must be sure to tread carefully when exploring the wilds of the Nissequogue River State Park.

     The boat basin at the canal is still one of the prettiest sections of the park, especially when boats are lined up docked near the old boathouse. However, during the low tide boats must be removed because the water can become as shallow as three inches. An old barge once used to bring coal and building supplies can still be seen beached at the edge of the canal. with a building built onto it that was once used as a yacht club.

     Many roads also entered and crossed through the hospital grounds. Most are closed off to the public now, but at one time they were used on a regular basis by employees and visitors to the state hospital. The main boulevard remains used by the town, but at night entering the park property is frowned upon, as the park closes at dusk.

     Do you have any tales regarding the layout of the land surrounding the hospital buildings? Please, feel free to tell them here. Maybe I can fit it into the book somehow, as I am still open to new ideas.

Categories: KPPC, KPPC Related, KPPC A Journey Through History

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Reply Barry
12:11 PM on September 26, 2011 

The grounds of the hospital were like a park. The best word I could use to describe it is "serene." Not only were there fruit trees, but also a number of specimen trees, like what you might find at an arboretum. We often took patients for walks during our Evening Shift, which was technically recreation time for the patients in the MR Unit. I have vivid memories of hiking around the grounds with the sweet fragrance of fresh-cut grass in the air.

There was also a great "secret" spot . We would climb the bluff down beyond the yacht club and take in the awesome view of the Nissequogue River estuary, Short Beach, and the waters of the Sound all the way to Connecticut. On cold winter nights, you could even see traffic moving on some of the roads across the Sound.

When the state got into budget difficulties during the late 1970s, the time between grass mowings would increase, shrub trimming would cease, and some areas would go to seed.

Alas, the only constant in this world is change.
Reply Jason Medina
12:13 PM on September 27, 2011 
I agree with you 100%. One of the reasons I felt compelled to write this book is because I fell in love with the grounds. It is so peaceful walking around there during the daytime and at night it is like an exciting adventure. Sometimes when I am inside of a building I turn off my flashlight and close my eyes, then I just listen to the silence around me and let it swallow me up. There is no place like it.
Reply Julia
7:13 PM on September 27, 2011 
In all the research I've found online, your's seems to be the most in depth, so here's my question: Everyday on my way to work I pass KPPC and I am trying to find out where the road that lets out in front of the St. Johnland nursing home originates? I've looked at every map I could find online, but none of them have this as an actual road. It appears paved from where I see it, and it looks like it passes behind where Shanahan's pub is on Old Dock Rd. But I'm thinking it starts somewhere back by Bldg 94. On the Google map it also looks like it passes by a pond or maybe another reservoir? I'm relatively new to this but I am totally fascinated and any info you can share would be greatly appreciated!
Reply Jason Medina
10:15 PM on September 27, 2011 
The road you are talking about starts there across from St. Johnland and goes down to Old Dock Road, where it comes to an end. It used to connect cottages in the area behind Shanahan's to the rest of St. Johnland. It can be seen on early maps from 1909 and 1917 as dashed lines. I am not sure if it actually has a name. It does not appear on the maps with a name. If you go to my photo gallery and check out the maps album there is a map from 1917 with the road you speak of. I don't think that pond was ever used as a reservoir by St. Johnland. I am not fully knowledgeable on the subject of St. Johnland. I know someone who is and I will contact him to ask him.
Reply Julia
7:58 PM on November 11, 2011 
Thanks for responding!