August 24, 2013

Letchworth Village


Construction began in 1911 but completion of the original design did not occur until the early 1930s. The institution was planned as a farm colony where by patients were put to work raising animals and growing food. Superintendent Charles S. Little told the New York Times, In order to make this plan a success, it is necessary to begin to train the feeble minded when they are children. The feeble minded, if taken at an early age can be trained to do things better than if the education of which they are capable is postponed until the less pliable years. The site was named for William Pryor Letchworth, who served on the New York State Board of Charities from 1873 to 1896. Letchworth Village was one of the largest and most progressive facilities for the mentally retarded in the United States. Situated on 2000 acres of farmland with the Towns of Haverstraw and Stony Point. It was designed as a self-supporting community comprised of 130 field stone buildings.
The facility closed on March 31, 1996, but administrative offices remained open until 2002. The campus sprawls across the boundaries of 2 towns.  Some of the buildings located within one of the towns have been adaptively-reused, while much of the other section is neglected.

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2 comments:

  1. as in letchworth park?? near there ?

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  2. My grandfather worked as an assistant [orderly] for nearly 30 years and I remember visiting him at Letchworth many times, I remember how beautifully kept the grounds were and how proud he was of the work he was doing. In 1973, when my grandparents home church caught fire and burned, [Thiells United Methodist Church] they had their worship services in the Jewish chapel at Letchworth, I've even played that organ. I remember attending one Sunday after spending Thanksgiving with my grandparents and it was strange to not remember that visit until I'd seen the photos here. Thank you for bringing back those memories for me, my grandfather passed in 2006 at 93 and I'm hoping to show these photos to my 97 year old Grandmother who I spent so many of my childhood Summers visiting in West Haverstraw.

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