Rounding out the weekend of exploring, we visited the Newark State School, an abandoned collection of buildings which served people with disabilities. Some of the buildings on the campus have been re-purposed and are being used but many remain abandoned and continue to decay.
The campus is quite large, and some of the buildings are equally enormous. We only visited one of the buildings on the campus and there is so much still left in it that it really tells you a bit about the history of the place. On the second floor there are even names of the people who once lived in the rooms still above the doors. Because this “State School” was for the mentally handicapped there were some interesting contraptions in the building, such as a chair bolted to a scale for weighing patients; I have heard that straight jackets and other restraints can be found but I didn’t see them.
The Newark State School has had many names since it was originally founded in the mid-to-late 1800s; originally the state school only served women however men were eventually admitted as well. The school did more than house and care for the mentally handicapped, it also taught them skills; houses near the campus were used as a sort of group home for patients who had mastered a particular occupation and either worked at the School or other nearby jobs. To read more about the Newark State School I’d suggest following these links:
Museum of disABILITY
The Newark State School
Being the first institution that I’ve explored, it was a pretty exciting day. There is so much so see there and I’m sure so much interesting history buried in the rooms full of decaying relics. While the building isn’t terribly interesting architecturally, it still has an eerie presence and fantastic light inside thanks to all the windows. I’m very hopeful to return and document more of the building and hopefully look a little deeper in to the contents of some of the rooms.
Other buildings on the campus also look incredibly promising; there is another much larger building with a more interesting looking layout and exterior that I’m sure would be well worth exploring. I’m unsure of what the purpose of the building we entered was but it seems like it was used for both housing and recreation.
Go check out the additional photos I have up on Flickr if you’re interested in seeing more from the Newark State School.