Empty Halls Of Pennsylvania’s Laurelton State Village Hospital
Laurelton State Village was established in 1913 as the “Laurelton Village for Feeble-Minded Women of Childbearing Age.” Construction of the institution began in 1914, with the first cottage opening in 1917 with just 36 residents. The institution was the first of its kind, and aimed to detain, segregate, care for and train feeble-minded women of childbearing age. This included women between the ages of 16 and 45 years.
Construction of more buildings continued over the next ten years, and by 1927 there were 7 buildings, housing a population of 500. Residents provided upkeep on the institution grounds, making it self-sufficient. They worked on the farm to harvest food, and carried out other tasks such as doing the laundry and working in the kitchen.
By 1939, all buildings on the grounds had been completed, and included a theater, recreation building, administration offices, two cottages, a power house and several buildings for hospital purposes. Within the administration building, they had a garage, psychological laboratory, a post office and various service and storage rooms; these were all located in the basement floor. There were also board and staff rooms on the first floor, among a number of offices. The second and third floors were used as living quarters for the staff and officials.
Thirty years later in 1969, the decision was made to begin admission of male patients to the institution. With the addition of male patients came a name change, and the institution became known as the Laurelton State School and Hospital.
Times changed over the 77 years of operation, and treatment options, as well as how we as a community treated people had evolved. With only 193 patients remaining in 1998, the institution closed its doors for good.
The property was purchased in 2006 by Mountain Valley Inc. who has plans to eventually renovate and turn the former institution into a resort featuring a convention center, restaurants and Arnold Palmer Design golf course. The resort will also feature 125 rooms, with most in the former hospital building, and remaining rooms in the surrounding cottages. They will also offer ballrooms, an indoor pool and health spa, and outdoor pool and more.
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