Kings Park Psychiatric Center
To relieve New York City's growing mentally ill population, Kings County (now Brooklyn) set forth to build an institution where
patients could be treated far away from the hectic city life. The Kings Park Lunatic Asylum was established in 1885 as an extension of
the Brooklyn County Hospital complex located on Clarkson Ave. The location for the new asylum would be far away in rural Suffolk County,
and it initially consisted of a few wooden buildings where residents could be rehabilitated. As need for mentally ill facilities grew, the
county "Lunatic Farm" (as it was called) was handed over to New York State in 1895 where it became Long Island State Hospital. Hearkening
to its roots in Brooklyn, the institution was re-named Kings Park State Hospital in 1916 - and as the hospital grew in this once desolate
woodland, it essentially created the town of Kings Park that we know today.
The entire hospital became a self-sufficient community; the patients and staff performed a wide variety of tasks including farming, construction,
clothes-making, and food preparation. KPSH expanded to over 150 buildings, which included a power plant and a railroad spur to transport
passengers, coal, and construction materials from the Long Island Rail Road. The campus included an area for TB patients, as well as a large
section devoted to caring for war veterans. At the turn of the century, the hospital had already grown to 2,697 patients and 454 staff workers - making
the hospital campus larger than the nearby town of Smithtown at the time! The hospital reached its peak population at 9,303 patients in 1954, and
became quite overcrowded like so many other state run mental health centers at the time.
The cost to run such an enormous machine became too large of a burden for the state, and with the overall de-institutionalization policy being
instated on the East Coast, the hospital began closing buildings in a slow but steady process in 1970. In 1975, the institution became known as the
more familiar Kings Park Psychiatric Center, or "KPPC." Many patients were transferred to nearby Pilgrim State Hospital, nursing homes, private
group homes, or were released. Finally, the entire facility closed in 1996 with
the exception of two buildings which still house patients to this day.
The main building is supposedly haunted with claims that include disembodied voices and mysterious noises. The nearby Potters Field contains
the remains of over 5,000 patients. This cemetery can be found near the water tower. Some of the bodies were unclaimed with unmarked
tombstones, while others paid in advanced with their names displayed. After Kings Park closed, the patients were either discharged or
transferred to Pilgrim Psychiatric Center. Paranormal claims include unexplainable noises, (white) apparitions, and
disembodied screaming/moaning voices.