Back Row, Back Ward
The Redevelopment of Northampton State Hospital
A history of the Northampton Lunatic Hospital from the reformist days in the 1860s, when the Kirkbride building stood alone on the hill and patients worked on the farm, through the late 19th and into the 20th century, when the hospital became a crowded warehouse for the poor, the sick, the disenfranchised, the senile. It details the competing plans for redevelopment and the demolition of “Old Main” that would lead to the development of housing and industry on the site today.
Edited by Lu Stone, design and layout by Steve Strimer
Paperback, 60 pages, illustrated.
“Mike Kirby has written an excellent account of the redevelopment of the Northampton State Hospital campus. He critically examines a process that has taken decades, one involving discussions, debates and controversies in local politics. It is a penetrating analysis of the closing of a major institution in Northampton and the plans for the reuse of a crucial piece of property, a development that will certainly affect the futre of the city.”
Lecturer and Professor Emeritus
“. . . the evolutionary story of one man’s passionate observance of and dedication to preserving the history of Hospital Hill, its buildings and grounds, in the wake of ongoing state and local political battles, and a myriad of commercial schemes.
. . .a superb memoir and honest account of the events and players in the drama of the closing of the State Hospital, its final days and the decisions that sealed its fate. Insightful, focused, exciting and factually written, this book is true to history and a must read for anyone wanting to recreate the scenes, issues and motives for the redesign of Hospital Hill.”