[ Click to expand ]
[ Click to hide ]
Greystone Park owes its existence to the dedication and resolute lobbying of Dorethea Lynde Dix, a frail former school teacher, who advocated on behalf of people with mental illnesses. As a result of her efforts, the New Jersey Legislature appropriated 2-1/2 million dollars to purchase over 700 acres of land to build New Jersey’s second “Lunatic Asylum,” as it was called at the time.
The site of Greystone Park was selected for several reasons including:
1. A geographical location near the population center of the State.
2. Easy accessibility provided by the railroad.
3. Fertile soil.
4. An abundant supply of pure spring water.
5. A quarry of gneiss, superior building stone resembling granite.
6. An abundant supply of materials for manufacturing bricks.
In the decades before the Civil War, there was widespread belief among many that most cases of insanity could be cured only in institutions established for that purpose. One of the great exponents of this belief was Dr. Thomas Kirkbride, who for 43 years was the Superintendent of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane in Philadelphia. His advocacy strongly influenced the design of hospitals for the mentally ill for most of the 1800’s. Dr. Kirkbride advocated constructing asylums of stone, brick, slate and iron, using as little wood as possible to minimize the likelihood of fires. He also believed in housing no more than 250 patients in a three story building with light airy rooms and only two patients to a room.
The most striking characteristic of Dr. Kirkbride’s building plan was his linear arrangement. The Main Building has a center section for Administration and other activities with three wings extending on either side. Each wing is approximately 140 feet long and is set back from the preceding one so that patients could enjoy the beauty of the outside surroundings. The building was described in the newspapers of 1876 as the finest building of its type and size in the world.
On August 17, 1876, the massive oak doors under the imposing portico of Greystone’s Main Building were opened for the first time to receive patients. On that steamy August day, 292 patients were received into the newly constructed 600-bed “New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum at Morristown.” The first patients admitted here were transferred by train from the “New Jersey Lunatic Asylum at Trenton,” which was terribly overcrowded and the only other facility in the State for the treatment of mental disorders.
At the time, there was not a great deal of scientifically valid knowledge about the nature of mental illness available to the general public or practitioners in the mental health field. As a result, attempts at treatment were either purely experimental or based upon untested theories.
The causes of “Lunacy” in the late 1800’s were attributed to physical injury and disease. However, the Moralists of that time felt it was due to social conditions or deleterious practices within the family, poverty, religious and political institutions, and the lack of education.
In 1876, the therapy of choice was “Moral Treatment.” This consisted of fixed schedules to encourage regular habits and to control and rehabilitate the patient. Calm and pleasant surroundings, kind treatment with minimum use of restraints and a daily visit from the Superintendent were also part of this treatment plan.
Other treatment methods used over the years include:
A. DRUGS: In the early 1800’s sedation was about the only available treatment for the mentally ill:
• 1857: Laudanum (Phenobarbital) and Bromides were discovered for the treatment of Epilepsy.
• 1870: Chlorate Hydrate and Digitalis were used for Manic-Depressive Psychosis.
• 1882: Paraldehyde and Barbiturates, hypnotic drugs to control behavior that was put into active and extensive use.
B. ENDOCRINE TREATMENT -- The removal of the Thyroid Gland in cases of Catatonic Schizophrenia was a dangerous practice, aside from its irrelevance in most cases.
C. PURGATIVES & EMETICS -- Freely used because of school of thought claimed that insanity was due to diseases of the blood vessels of the brain; a reduction of congestion of these blood vessels was indicated.
D. FEVER TREATMENT -- In vogue around 1913, Malaria and artificial fever was induced by high frequency currents as prescribed treatment of general paresis. Patients suffering from Schizophrenia, Manic Depression and Psychotic Behaviors were not helped by this treatment.
E. FOCI OF INFECTION SURGERY -- Around 1919, indiscriminate surgical removal of various organs including teeth, tonsils, and prostate glands were removed that were thought to cause psychiatric problems.
F. HYDROTHERAPY -- Widely used between 1906 and the 1950’s and believed to have a calming effect for agitated patients. Today its equivalent can be found in health spas, commonly known as a “hot tub.” Several different types used were:
1. Steam Baths -- used to deplete the energy of overactive patients.
2. Continuous Bath -- also used for overactive patients. Treatment could last from one day to one week.
3. Cold Pack -- patient was placed into tub of sixty-degree bath water. A hot water bottle was placed on the feet and cold compresses were applied to the head. Body warmth turned the cold packs into a steam bath.
4. Needlepoint Shower -- used to stimulate depressed patients. Fifteen to twenty showerheads shot needle-fine streams of warm water over the entire body.
5. Scotch Douche -- also used to stimulate depressed patients. Hot and cold water was sprayed under 40 pounds of pressure from 20 feet away.
G. INSULIN SHOCK COMA THERAPY -- 1936 to the 1970’s: a treatment for Manic-Depressive Disorders and Postwar Trauma.
H. ELECTRO-CONVULSIVE THERAPY -- 1937 to 1950: a specific treatment for Depression and Postwar Trauma that was successful and is still used today in other psychiatric facilities for the treatment of profound Depression.
I. LOBOTOMY PSYCHOSURGERY -- 1940 to 1950: portions of the brain were surgically removed in an attempt to eliminate certain psychiatric problems. This was thought to be the only successful way to control impulsive/destructive behavior. This caused the patients to lose their ability to express emotions and communicate or take care of their own basic needs.
J. OCCUPATIONAL TREATMENT -- This consisted of grounds maintenance, road building, tree and shrub planting, brick making, ironing, making clothing, keeping wards clean, and farming. This treatment was abandoned in the late 1960’s due to the Saudor Decision, which stated that all patients had to be paid a minimum wage.
“The House” as Dr. Horace Buttolph, Greystone Park’s first Superintendent, called the Main Building, and was lighted by coal gas made on the premises. Heat was provided by steam channeled through large copper coils in the basement and propelled through ducts between the walls. Warm air was sent to all areas through vents. Supplemental heat for office areas was supplied by fireplaces.
Each ward housed approximately twenty patients, most of whom had private rooms. Wards also had a parlor, dining, enclosed galleries for exercise and attendant’s rooms. (Attendants on night duty had the privilege of sleeping in the attendant’s room from 8:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. when the patients were awakened). Most wards were furnished with wool rugs that ran the full length of the corridors. Victorian stuffed furniture, pianos, pictures, curtains and fresh flowers adorned the wards.
All wards, however, were not so attractively appointed. Wards housing the most excitable patients were sparsely furnished with sturdy oak furniture. Some rooms had heavy oak doors with cutouts in the bottom through which food was passed to the patients.
The center portion of “The House” contained offices for the Superintendent, Steward, Matron, and Treasurer. There were also apartments for private patients who paid between $5.00 and $10.00 per week. The charge for non-private patients was $3.50 per week.
The New Jersey State Hospital Training School for Nurses was established in October of 1894. All attendants and nurses employed by the hospital were required to attend the lectures, and were tested periodically. Criteria for admission to the two-year course of study were: 1) Sufficient education and intelligence to understand the material presented; 2) Good health; 3) Good moral character (including sobriety); 4) musical ability; and, 5) Athletic ability.
The School of Nursing eventually developed into an accredited program with many affiliations before closing in the 1940’s. In-service training, which had its beginning in the School of Nursing, continues to be provided to all employees through the Department of Staff Development and Training.
In 1887, eleven years after the hospital opened, the exercise rooms on the wards were converted to dormitories to accommodate the hospital’s jump in population to 100 patients.
In 1901, in an attempt to relieve the overcrowding, the Dormitory Building was built to the rear of Main Building. It still wasn’t enough and in the same year the Main Building dining rooms had to be converted into dormitories. (The Dormitory Building, on March 6, 1992, was closed to patient occupation.) By 1914, the hospital had a capacity of 1,600 but actually housed 2,412 patients.
In 1921, a survey conducted by the State Board of Mental Hygiene, found all State Hospitals overcrowded and in dire need of repairs, especially Greystone Park. The State funded repairs and new construction, specifically to assist Greystone Park’s
expansion and to meet the needs of the 2,700 patient census. As a result, by 1927, the Curry Complex was completed along with a new power plant, barns, greenhouses, a fire station and auxiliary buildings.
The Curry Complex consisted of a Reception Building, Clinic Building, large staff congregate dining rooms, and new housing for staff. The Clinic Building, which was the first building opened in 1923, closed 52 years later when the Central Avenue Complex opened in 1975. The Reception Building was closed in 1976 and the dining rooms in the mid-1980’s.
In 1924 the hospital was renamed Greystone Park after the superior building stones, of a light gray gneiss, resembling granite that was quarried on site to build the hospital. By then the use of the thirteen-century English word “Lunatic” was dropped from common use when referring to the mentally ill.
In 1929 and 1930 there were two serious fires in the Main Building, one that destroyed the attic and the other, first floor center.
In 1930 the Chest Building (TB Treatment Center) and 30 Ellis Drive were opened. The Chest Building housed mentally ill patients suffering from tuberculosis who were referred from other State, County and Local facilities. Due to the decrease in tuberculosis, this building was closed in the mid-1970’s. 30 Ellis Drive was eventually used as the Children’s Unit (patients under the age of 18). It closed in the early 1980’s and remodeled for adult patient occupancy. It is presently in use as the Admission Unit.
By 1939 the census was approximated 5,600 people. During this period the hospital employed hundreds of patients and staff to meet its needs in the flower gardens, greenhouses, dairy and furniture shop. Wicker furniture was made from the locally grown willow trees. Greystone became a community that largely fed, clothed and sheltered itself. It was founded on a “Puritan work ethic” of “idle hands are the Devil’s workshop” and the notion of a self-sufficient institution.
In 1940, 10 and 50 Ellis Drive opened, and in 1974, 34 years later a major renovation was completed.
In the late 1940’s, the patient population had reached 7,000. During this period many patients were veterans and victims of World War II “Postwar Trauma.” At the time, Greystone Park was one of the few hospitals able to provide the only available treatment for this condition e.g., Insulin Shock Coma and Electro-Convulsive Therapy. Since so many patients were veterans, pressure was brought to bear on the research community to develop a drug to help facilitate their treatment. This research resulted in the development of “Phenothiazine,” which we know as Thorazine.
Due to the advent and use of Thorazine, the psychiatric hospitals were able to discharge large numbers of their patients. It was unfortunate that it took a World War to motivate the scientific research community into producing the first drug specific to the treatment of the mentally ill. Thorazine was the beginning, since then many drugs have become available for the specific treatment of this disability.
The late 1970’s and early 1980’s saw a movement toward de-institutionalization which further reduced the hospital’s census.
106 years later, on another Summer Day, August 12, 1982, the hospital expanded its facilities when it officially opened twenty “independent living” Cottages; each Cottage providing housing for eight patients in a “home-like” environment “where two patients share a bedroom,” the concept originally espoused by Dr. Kirkbride, over a hundred years ago.