Photography

The Exploration Of Letchworth Village

  • September 13, 2009

 

…. As the law provides that we are to care for epileptic and feeble-minded persons, and as the training for both is along similar lines, it has been thought advisable to classify both feeble-minded and epileptics into groups, separating them only with distinct and suitable buildings ….. Excerpt from the Year 1912 by Charles S. Little – Superintendent of Letchworth Village

In September of 2009, I decided to explore Letchworth Village, an abandoned facility that housed the mentally ill, developmentally disabled, and those with conditions that at the time were felt to be a detriment to society. Letchworth Village is located near Thiells, New York, and was opened in 1911 and closed in 1996. It has been abandoned ever since, and while a small handful of the buildings are being used for other purposes, the vast majority of them have been slated for demolition.

I should probably mention that it is NOT recommended that you visit as doing so exposes you to peeling lead paint, asbestos, and, according to rumor and urban legend, diseases that have been not been seen in decades, having eradicated through the wonders of modern medicine. Despite these risks, and strange stories that go along with just about any other asylum, I decided to go ahead and explore one of the many buildings still standing on this site.

Top Floor Hallway

This photo was taken on the top floor of one the building I explored. The red biohazard bag in the middle was just one of many that were scattered everywhere.

Bathtub

You can’t see it in the photo, but next to the bathtub was a chain bolted to the wall; I’m guessing it was used to restrain patients while they were bathing.

The Wait Is Forever

One of many patient rooms, each with a roll-away bed and a chair. For some strange reason, every patient room I visited had a chair facing the window.

Forgotten Puppy Pictures

A collection of puppy pictures was pasted on a discarded desk ledger. This was just one of the many relics left behind by the occupants.

You can see the entire set on Flickr. This guy has a much more extensive set that is worth a look.

This video was made by someone who lives close enough to explore far more buildings than I had allotted time for. It is included here because I feel it captures the urban exploration experience in ways that my photographs could not.

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7 Comments on The Exploration Of Letchworth Village

  • Franky Porcaro says:
    November 6, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    Hello there,
    I was trying to research Letchworth Village and came upon your website. I was wondering since you had been there who you needed to get in contact with to be able to enter the building? And was wondering if you would be able to tell me the location of Letchworth. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!
    Franky with AGHS

    Reply

    • Thomas says:
      November 6, 2011 at 8:34 PM

      First of all, I’m a bit surprised that you haven’t yet found the Wikipedia article on Letchworth Village.

      Like most things in life, it’s all about who you know. While the grounds are slowly being turned into a park (the buildings are currently being demolished one-by-one), and are open to the public, the buildings themselves are not. I would give you the name of the person who granted me permission, but the permission was granted to me specifically, and the person asked me not to reveal their name. If you were able to get into touch with someone about permission to enter the buildings, it would be a resounding no. I do know, however, that Ghost Adventures did a taping there.

      I don’t know why you, or anyone else, for that matter, would wish to enter the buildings. They’re all in a state of advanced decay, and it’s anyone’s guess what is now contained within the buildings themselves.

      Sorry, I wish I could have been more helpful here, but unfortunately, sometimes you really have to know someone, or know someone who knows someone to explore places like these.

      Reply

  • Joan A Bohn says:
    July 8, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    I am Looking for Information About my sister, she was hospitalized somewhere in an Metal Hospital in N.Y.S.

    I was told she was retarded And Was A Ward of the State. Her name was Rite Mona Cromie. Born in Ireland, 1920. Arrived in N.Y.C. 1922. Ward of the State @ 12 yrs old. Approx 12 yrs 1932.

    Any Help Locating Information would be great.

    Joan A Bohn
    chillinnana@comcast.net

    Reply

    • Thomas says:
      July 8, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      I’m sorry because I am unable to help you with your search. Although I explore and photograph abandoned places such as these, I am unable to obtain any information about them in detail as it is not my main focus or intent. However, my mother is a professional genealogist who may be able to help you with your search. You may contact her at greygoose@tomslatin.com with your questions; she would be the only one I am able to think of at the moment who might be able to help you.

      Reply

  • Kira says:
    December 24, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    Are you willing/able to give directions on how to reach Letchworth Village? I will be traveling through the area and wanted to take a look around, but I’m having trouble finding an exact location. Thanks.
    Kira
    kahellmers@gmail.com

    Reply

    • Thomas says:
      December 24, 2012 at 9:52 AM

      All the buildings now have huge fences around them. It’s seriously not worth the trip.

      Reply

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