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Metropolitan State Hospital (Massachusetts)

Metropolitan State Hospital (Massachusetts)

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The Metropolitan State Hospital was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 public
Public
In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individuals, and the public is the totality of such groupings. This is a different concept to the sociological concept of the Öffentlichkeit or public sphere. The concept of a public has also been defined in political science,...

 hospital
Hospital
A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment by specialized staff and equipment. Hospitals often, but not always, provide for inpatient care or longer-term patient stays....

 for the mentally ill, located in the city of Waltham
Waltham, Massachusetts
Waltham is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, was an early center for the labor movement, and major contributor to the American Industrial Revolution. The original home of the Boston Manufacturing Company, the city was a prototype for 19th century industrial city planning,...

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

. At one time the hospital was the largest and most modern facility of its type in Massachusetts. The Gaebler Children's Center
Gaebler Children's Center
Gaebler Children's Center was a psychiatric institution for severely mentally ill children and adolescents, located in Waltham, Massachusetts....

 for mentally ill youths was located on the grounds of the hospital.

It was closed in January 1992 as a result of the state's cost-cutting policy of closing its mental hospitals and moving patients into private care (see privatization
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

). As of 2009, the main complex of buildings has been demolished and a large apartment complex has been built.

The Hospital's infamous cemetery still rests on the grounds, maintained by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Gravestones are marked by number and religion, with but a few markings bearing names.

Patient murder scandal


In 1978, Metropolitan State patient Anne Marie Davee was murdered by another patient, Melvin W. Wilson. Wilson dismembered Davee's body and kept seven of her teeth which were discovered in his possession by employees of the hospital. Despite this discovery and its obvious implications, no action was taken against Wilson until Massachusetts State Senator Sen. Jack Backman (D-Brookline) led a Senate investigation into the case along with 19 other reports of negligence by state mental health workers. On August 12, 1980 Wilson led investigators to at least three burial sites where he put pieces of Davee's body. Much of the material evidence in the case had been destroyed or gone missing. This evidence included a "hut" in the woods where Davee and Wilson met, clothes and even sheets which hospital employees discovered the day after her disappearance. Nearly two months after her murder, another search by hospital staff yielded pieces of Davee's clothing and belongings along with a hatchet, the supposed murder weapon.

Redevelopment and open space


Since the hospital's closing, the area to the west of where the buildings once stood has been developed into apartment housing.
The extensive wooded grounds are open to the public and protected in perpetuity from further development. The trails include part of the Western Greenway link open space in the region, connecting to the Rock Meadow conservation area in Belmont to the east, and, according to future plans, in 2009, to the Middlesex County Hospital area to the west.

The Administration Building, pictured above, is the only remaining building of the campus to remain standing as of June 2011.

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