Heading to Maryland with no specific plan in mind, we Googled a few places on our phones on the way, and booked a hotel room when we got closer to Baltimore. Annie, a friend from high school and a Maryland resident had seen that I posted a picture in the city. We met up with her, and she gave us some information about a few places we had been interested in visiting, Henryton State Hospital being our biggest attraction.
The following morning we headed towards the grounds. We parked the car on the side of the road and effortlessly walked around the "barricade", if you could even call it that. We walked in a little further and saw a few other groups of people observing and exploring all of the structures. Mere decay and remnants of massive structures standing before us.
The Henryton State Hospital was built between 1921 and 1923, in Mariotsville, MD. Initially named Henryton Tuberculosis Sanitarium, the hospital was built to treat African Americans suffering from tuberculosis. It was the first hospital built giving equal treatment as whites. There hospital consisted of six buildings and one utility plant. Expanding construction began in 1938, but by 1946, when construction had been completed, tuberculosis rates had dropped significantly. In 1963, it was converted to The Henryton State Hospital Center by the board of mental hygiene. The hospital was used for training and rehabilitation of the "severely and profoundly retarded ambulatory residents ages 18 and over". Between the late 70s and 80s, institutionalization became more predominant and enrollment dropped. By the fall of 1987, the hospital was emptied and closed. Three fires had broken out since closing. One in 2007, one in 2011, and the last in 2012. After the last fire, demolition was scheduled for May 2014, after the removal of asbestos was completed.
Every building was boarded up, but many door ways and entrances were already broken into. The main building stands, clearly destroyed by the elements, and vandalism. We walked inside, and it felt hollow. Another group leaving handed us their face masks, because we obviously did not come prepared for the asbestos filled buildings. Every room was covered in mindless graffiti. We found a garage still intact, where an old run down car had been left behind. To the right, there were remnants of where a building once was. All that remained of it now, was a foundation and charred two by fours. We noticed groups of younger people bypassing the structures to a trail. We followed, where a found a creek where people seemed to swim. Along side of it ran a train track that seemed as though it was still in working condition. The premises was enormous. We followed trails and roads that all eventually lead back to the main buildings. It was breath taking, even in its current state.
Update: The Henryton State Hospital was demolished June 2013