Kirkbride Buildings Blog

July 29th, 2011

Worcester Clock Tower Doomed?

Worcester State Hospital Clock Tower
Things are looking bleak for the Worcester Kirkbride Clock Tower. Even though the structure avoided demolition when the state razed the rest of the building’s remains just three years ago, its days are now numbered. According to a post on the Save Worcester State Hospital Clock Tower Facebook page, Massachusetts is planning to demolish the building due to a lack of funds or interest in reusing it.

I encourage everyone interested in saving the Clock Tower to read the post, like the Save Worcester State Hospital Clock Tower Facebook page, and to share any thoughts you might have on the subject there.

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  1. WSH August 1, 2011, 9:13 am

    Man, I was really worried about this happening. I’ll do what I can to spread the news!

  2. Rob August 31, 2011, 3:43 pm

    In 1982, this tower was used to house children, both boys and girls, who could not be placed in foster care. I was one of those kids. With the exception of the 20 or so of us, the entire estate was empty.

    I cannot describe how enormous this place was. At night used to sneak out with flashlights and explore the endless hallways and palatial rooms. But the most stunning thing we discovered was the catacombs below the estate. They were like dungeons! There were shackles still hanging from the stone walls. The catacombs that emit from under that clock tower seemed endless.

    In the six months that we were all there, we never fully explored the entire complex or found an end to the dungeons. The place was something out of a movie, and while I have not since met any of the other children that was there with me, I know none of them could ever forget that place.

    I hope they do not demolish. Heck, they could charge and give tours of just the catacombs alone!

  3. WSH September 1, 2011, 10:38 am

    I had no idea they used the admin. for that in the early 1980’s! I hope none of you kids were the one’s playing with matches a little later on!

    Must have been pretty cool to have Worcester all to yourselves to explore like that!

  4. Ken October 11, 2011, 12:18 am

    Wow this is seriously bad news. I go up there all the time just to look at the amazing structure. I grew up 3 miles from the place and never knew about it until about 10 years ago (after most of it was demolished after the fire)! It was absolutely monstrous!

    They’ve taken down a part of the front of the admin building where there was a glass and brick room on the second level above the entrance. Sad and a damn shame.

    Could of EASILY turned this into a museum. Would of loved to see the inside! Ugh, what a waste…

    It’s still standing (as of 10/10) so go see it before it’s all gone! Go up Research drive from Plantation Street next to the Beechwood Hotel and take a right on to Innovation Drive. There will be a sign that says the road is closed but you can still drive up. You can park on top of the parking garage on your left and you’ll be right out front of the admin building!

    An architectural marvel upon the hill in our crappy city and no renovated train station or the Umass monstrosity nearby could ever compete with this!

    What I don’t get is that they designed the whole new facility around the admin building (look at Google maps) so I’m not sure why they’d do that only to tear it down now (course I wonder why this state does ALOT of things haha).

  5. Alicia October 31, 2011, 4:26 pm

    I stumbled upon the Kirkbride Buildings by mistake and let me just say that it was by far one of the best one’s I’ve ever made!

    We were told that if we wanted to dress up for Halloween, we had to be either a Super Hero or a Career. I chose a career and being that I work in the Detention Room at a school, I thought I would dress up as a Psych Ward Dr.

    It was when I typed in Psych Wards that I found “The Ridges, Athens Mental Health Center” and decided that I would be a Dr. from there.

    I find the Kirkbride facilities so beautiful. It would be a shame if they demolished any more of them.

    I would like to read more about the history of these bulidings if anyone has any suggestions, I’m open to hear about them. Also does anyone know if and when they offer tours of any of these facilities?

  6. Ethan October 31, 2011, 11:12 pm

    Hi, Alicia. I’m glad to hear you like the site. For more information, I’d recommend reading the books listed under “Related Books” on the links page:

    You might also check out other websites like Historic Asylums ( and Asylum Projects (

    You can tour the Kirkbride in Weston, WV. You can also tour the one in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and the one in Buffalo, New York. The touring season is probably pretty much over though as winter is fast approaching. I’m not 100% sure of that though.

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