Belleville, New Jersey’s Essex County Isolation Center stands out on the hill where it stands. It’s an iconic building that stands out on the hill. It has a very complicated history, and it’s linked to a hospital that used to be very close by.
In 1896, the City of Newark in New Jersey bought a lot of land outside the city. Psychiatric and tuberculosis sanitoriums were already out in the country, but what Newark needed was a nearby hospital for infectious diseases where patients could be isolated from the rest of the world.
Over the next few years, many buildings were built for patients to live in. Others, like a powerhouse, a laundry, and even a theater, were built to help the hospital become self-sufficient. There were also a lot of acres of farming land.
When the heating and lighting at the hospital broke in December 1917, this self-sufficiency worked against the hospital, but it didn’t help. The staff and patients were devastated when a cold snap hit, killing 24 people and injuring 32 more.
They bought this hospital in the mid-1920s, and they decided to turn it into a mental health hospital only. The Overbrook was then the name of the place where it was.
Overcrowding was a problem at the Overbrook, like many other places. From the 1930s to the 1960s, there were as many as 2,000 or 3,000 people who went there. However, in the 1960s and 1970s, new and much better mental illness treatments came out, and the number of people at the Overbrook began to drop.
As time went on, the Overbrook got worse and worse. In 2006, the Essex County Hospital Center opened up just down the road. This new school had more cutting-edge programs and a better layout than the old Overbrook school did.
A few years after the Overbrook closed in 2007, there was no question which school was better. Parts of it were sold to be used as parkland, and parts were sold to build homes. The last of the buildings were demolished in October of that year.
While the Overbrook was left to rot, the Essex County Hospital Center was used for many different things. Buildings and wards were later added to the hospital so that it could treat orphans, children with disabilities, and the old.
It looks like over the next few decades, different units were started and shut down, but it’s hard to find exact dates. A lot of people who were patients at the Essex County Geriatric Center or who went to visit family there say that this building was home to the center for about 50 years between the 1950s and 1981.
There was also a Children’s Center that was in the back of the hospital, next to it. People used to call it The Essex County Emergency Children’s Center. It later changed its name to be called “the center for abused and abandoned children.” In the city, one person found a former patient who told him about how the children there were abused and neglected.
On a forum, another patient also said that he was kept inside the Children’s Center for two months with suspected polio because it was too dangerous for him to be around other people. In the past, he was glad to see it go. There are a lot of stories like this from former patients on the internet. They all agree that it was not a good place to be.
One of the rooms in the hospital had been set aside for children with disabilities. Children with disabilities were often put in institutions when the hospital was still open.
1996: The Garden State Cancer Research Center took over a part of the Essex County Isolation Center and used it for research. However, the Research Center was only in the administration area and the right wing. The left wing was left alone.
Getting into the abandoned part of the building was hard for urban explorers because there were still people using the rest of the building at the same time. Many people were still encouraged to try because the building was so big and beautiful.
Even though federal funds ran out, in 2011 the Research Center was forced to file for bankruptcy because it didn’t pay back a $5 million loan. When the building was done being used in 2011, it was completely abandoned. If only people who wanted to look at the building’s grandeur could get inside. There were a lot of break-ins and fires, so the building was almost always closed off to people who just wanted to see its beauty.
This isn’t true. A lot of scenes from the movie “A Beautiful Mind” were filmed at the hospital in 2001. Once, the hospital was often robbed and had two fires in six months. During 2018, people thought both of these things looked weird.
Finally, in 2015, the building was put up for sale. It was a time of “financial stress” for the county, said one county official, and the sale of the building would bring in a lot of money. For $3.7 million, the building was sold at an auction in December 2015. It went to John Mavroudis of Alma Realty who is based in Queens, New York.
Before, Mavroudis did not say what he planned to do with the building, but he said that “We are aware of its history for sure.” Find out how to use what we have. We don’t want to mess with anything.
There’s a good chance that his company has worked with historic medical sites before. They turned a hospital in Prospect Heights into apartments and retail stores.
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The current state of the building and what it will be used for are unknown. Work was still going on even when there was a pandemic in May 2020, and new windows were being put in.
They came from a blog called Vacant New Jersey, and they show a beautiful abandoned hospital. You should go to VacantNewJersey.com to see more of their work. There, you can see photos and read about them.
Best Photos on Abandoned Hospital in Essex County
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