Kirkbride Buildings Blog

March 18th, 2008

For Sale: Greystone

Greystone Park Insane Asylum
A New Jersey state commission has approved the auction of surplus land and buildings located on what will soon be the former Greystone Park Psychiatric Center. That includes the Kirkbride. As it stands now, the building will be sold to the highest bidder. The auction could take place as soon as this spring according to an article in The Star-Ledger.

Considering the amount of work and money that would be required to renovate it, I’m not too optimistic that the buyer will be inclined to keep the building standing. Recent events haven’t done much to instill hope for the preservation of Kirkbrides once they’re in private hands. Greystone’s size is especially problematic, although it might also be a saving grace. Since the interior spaces are larger than those in most other Kirkbrides, they might be more easily adapted to other purposes. As always, time will tell…

Apparently a group has formed to push for preservation. Hopefully they’ll succeed where most others have failed. You can read more about all this at The Star-Ledger: State to Auction Off Old Greystone Complex.

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  1. tullo March 19, 2008, 9:20 am

    aaaah. this kills me. i read about this yesterday. yeah, its coming down, unfortunately. thats a really cool photo there, ive never seen one with a big fountain in front of the kirk.

  2. Ethan March 19, 2008, 10:00 am

    That’s a picture of a drawing done before the Kirkbride was ever built. I’m pretty sure the architect, Samuel Sloan, prepared it. I don’t think the fountain was ever made. It doesn’t appear in any of the old photos I’ve seen.

    It’s too bad about it being auctioned, but hopefully the preservation group can do something. And like I said, Greystone is a bit different because it’s so big. Maybe that will help it instead of hurt it. That might be just wishful thinking though.

  3. John March 19, 2008, 11:00 am

    Speaking of Greystone and old pictures. A friend of mine (Karen) sent me these pictures yesterday.

  4. Ethan March 19, 2008, 11:05 am

    Wow! Those are nice photos. I’d say they definitely confirm that the fire was what did away with the towers and the original roof/attic.

  5. thomasp94 March 19, 2008, 12:33 pm

    This photo from the website posted about also has the fountain. Perhaps it was built and just wasn’t around for very long. Would be really cool to see today, it looks huge.

  6. thomasp94 March 19, 2008, 12:37 pm

    Kirkbride –
    Is that illustration cropped from a larger picture? If so, can you post the full size version? I would love to see it.

  7. Ethan March 19, 2008, 1:05 pm

    If you look carefully, you’ll see that’s another drawing. It’s weird though that it looks exactly like Sloan’s drawing, but is signed “Minton” (lower right corner). Most likely that drawing was a copy of Sloan’s and was made before the Kirkbride was even built. So the chances aren’t that good that a fountain was ever there. I could be wrong though…

    The image I posted is cropped. The original looks pretty much exactly like the one you linked to, but it’s in color and has people in it. You can see the full version (smaller) here.

  8. WSH March 20, 2008, 3:55 pm

    So how desirable is the land that Greystone sits on? What do you guys think will happen? A Dixmont, Danvers, or Travers City scenario??

  9. Ethan March 20, 2008, 4:28 pm

    Ha. I like that. A Dixmont, a Danvers, or a Traverse City…

    If I had to bet, I’d put my money on a Danvers scenario.

    I’m not that familiar with the area, but I’d say the land is moderately to very desirable. Maybe somebody else like tullo can better answer that question.

  10. Greystone Ranger June 5, 2008, 12:47 pm

    Hello everyone. I just found this page by way of another site. I live near Greystone, and I am going to tell you that the sale that you all were talking about has taken place. The sale was I believe apporximately 300 of the 600 acres of land to Morris County and the township of Parsippany. Most of the old buildings were demolished (doctors/ nurses residences, the cafeteria building, the clinic building etc.) but some were preserved and renovated and are in use by non profit organizations, the ARC of Morris being one of them. As for the Kirkbride building, it is still standing, and as far as I know will NOT be demolished any time soon because it is on national and state historic landmark registers. It can’t be demolished without jumping through a lot of hoops. The state of NJ has completed the new Greystone hospital, but it is not yet in use as of this writing, and the adminstration building is still being used.Morris County and Parsippany Township are in the process of building (get this) hockey rinks and baseball fields where the old buildings were demolished.Personally I questin the wisdom in this because patients have walked away from Greystone in the past. Just for the record the new Greystone is very similar to the Curie building, which was one of the building built over the years to accomedate the exploding patient population of Northern New Jersey.-GR

  11. Greystone Ranger June 5, 2008, 12:54 pm

    I almost forgot folks. The State of New Jersey actually is looking for some one to buy and renovate/restore the Kirkbride. A formidible task given the years of neglect the structure has suffered. -GR

  12. Ethan June 5, 2008, 2:24 pm

    Greystone Ranger: Thanks for the info. It’s good to have a local providing information.

    The post was actually more about the fact that the Greystone Kirkbride is for sale than about the entire hospital property. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

    I’m not so sure that being on the landmark registers really helps though. We’ve seen a few Kirkbrides with such status either completely demolished or partially demolished. The Danvers Kirkbride is one example.

    I think it’s likely that some part of the Greystone Kirkbride will be preserved, but I’m afraid parts of it will be destroyed. If a developer has the resources, it’s not much trouble for them to jump through those hoops you mention, especially when at least parts of the building are in bad shape.

  13. Greystone Ranger June 12, 2008, 10:47 pm

    You’re more than welcome for the info. I’ll keep everone posted as to what’s going on. There’s usually an newspaper article about the place at least once a month, sometimes more. BTW the new Greystone had it’s gala opening in November of ’07. It has yet to have a single patient admited because one system or another is not up to standard, the fire alarms don’t work, etc. Pretty sad for $450 million hospital. I really would hate to see the Greystone Kirkbride be demolished like the Essex Mounatin Sanitarium was. While not a Kirkbride, Essex Mountain was a historic sanitarium on top of Second Orange Mountain in Verona NJ. If you want to learn more about Essex Mountain, go to This is a good historical site with quite a few photos and such. -GR

  14. Greystone Ranger June 15, 2008, 9:55 am

    News flash-

    In today’s Sunday Star Ledger it’s being reported that the contractor(s) who built the new Greystone are going to be heavily fined of they don’t get the systems up and running very soon. At issue is a custom made “‘programmable logic system’… designed to consolidate five systems and provide a single point, intergrated touch screen network. Included are a security acess card system, intercom system, alarm system, security camera and a code blue/grey emergency alarm system.” (quote from Newark Sunday Star Ledger,6/15/08)
    My friends, the fact that the two buildings where patients are housed and that these two buildings (Abell and the Ellis complex)have an inadequate jury rigged air conditioning system means the patients and staff possibly will have to spend another summer in these buildings is a sad statement on New Jersey’s treatment of the menatally ill.The patients were told that the move date may be June 18, or the 25th, but given the preformance of the contractors so far, and that the new Greystone was supposed to open in November 0f ’07,I think this is highly unlikely. I would be amazed if the patients were moved by the end of this year. -GR

  15. Eric June 29, 2008, 11:55 pm

    I just need some simple answers. Has the building sold at auction yet?, If yes, how much? and has it been torn down?

  16. Greystone Ranger July 7, 2008, 8:53 pm


    No to all three.

    That simple enough for you?


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