Kirkbride Buildings Blog

December 26th, 2008

Demolition at Taunton State Hospital?

Taunton Asylum
The other day I came across this fiscal year 2009 resource summary for the Massachusetts Office of Health & Human Services. I wanted to save the bad news for after Christmas… One of the items in their budget is “Demolition at Taunton State Hospital.” It has an allocation of 1.3 million dollars. The full description reads, “This funds the demolition of buildings damaged by fire in 2007. The fire damaged buildings are close to or contiguous to an operating DYS facility and represent a severe safety hazard.”

Looks like plans are being made to knock down what’s left of the Taunton Kirkbride soon. The eventual demolition of the Kirkbride has been pretty much a given since the fire, but I think this is the first definite sign that it’s going to happen in the not too distant future. It’ll certainly be a sad day when that building comes down. It really had a unique and understated beauty that I haven’t seen at any other Kirkbrides. I expect most people who’ve seen the building would agree. It’s also a special building to me personally because it was the first Kirkbride I ever saw the inside of.

On a brighter note, the resource summary also allocates $140,000 to fund “a study to preserve the vacant historic Worcester State Hospital Clock Tower building.”

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  1. WSH December 26, 2008, 10:37 am

    While it sucks about Taunton, like you said it was somewhat expected. At least there is the good about Worcester even though it’s just for a study.

  2. theresa December 27, 2008, 12:34 am

    What a shame to see such beauty that cannot be replaced get destroyed. That money should be spend on preservation of the architecture and not destruction of history. I live in Taunton and love driving by that building. That will be a sad day.

  3. squad546 December 27, 2008, 1:09 am

    $1.3 million for demo, wonder how much more renovation would’ve cost? Could use some of that $6 million for “next generation communications” to restore it! Although it’s probably more about using the land it’s on then anything else. The Worcester project I’m not getting my hopes up on just yet.

    Any idea what they are going to do with Medfield State? I see $1.8 million for “study, design, and ‘asbestos removal'”.

  4. Jeremy Harris December 29, 2008, 1:31 am

    A serious bummer about Taunton. It’s one of my favorites, and I hate to see it go.

  5. Mary Deane January 19, 2009, 11:47 pm

    This is so sad. As a resident of Massachusetts, I have been through this three previous times in the past three years (Danvers, Northampton, Worcester). What a shame that they are taking 1.3 million dollars away from the mentally ill people of the state of Massachusetts, and using it instead to destroy an historical and architecturally significant building. This is a lose/lose situation for everyone (except the Mass DMH).

  6. Mary Deane January 19, 2009, 11:52 pm

    Just wanted to add: The states that are utilizing, preserving, rehabbing, or otherwise protecting their Kirkbrides deserve a huge kudos. NY, OH, MN, IA, WV, etc. Massachusetts could learn a lot from you! (It’s GREENER to preserve than to demo and rebuild!)

  7. Danielle February 4, 2009, 12:12 am

    I know that it is said I actually work at the dys facility that is next to the burned building, but the state has been in the progress of building a new faciltiy to hold all of the dys programs that are currently on the state hospital grounds, but finding the land has been the problem, but with the removal of the old buildings it makes way for some very needed new facilities for dys.

  8. Danielle February 4, 2009, 12:16 am

    I am sure that the money would be out of this world to fix and rehab the other buildings, a shame but they are filled with asbestos and many other things,it is a shame that they couldn’t make condo’s or something with them, I mean look what they are doing with all the old factories and stuff down by the weir.

  9. Liz February 21, 2009, 10:56 pm

    I don’t want to see Taunton state go. I live so close by (i can walk to it) and it’s so beauitul to look at. It’s my favorite building

  10. Colin March 17, 2009, 12:42 pm

    Job just came out to bid. $5,801,000 for the demolition of the structures and foundations. Job bids in April.

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