The Nuthouse

This is Medfield State Hospital, located adjacent to the 1960s subdivision in which I grew up. If you stood where I took the photo in this post, turned around and took a short path through a narrow boundary of trees, you would come upon the scene above.

When I was a tween my friends and I used to sneak up there to gawk at the “tahds” in the “nuthouse.” The patients would be out in that fenced-in porch and maybe they would be muttering to themselves and pacing, or if we were lucky one of them might sing a weird song or yell swears at us. Better than video games!

Medfield State Hospital opened in 1896 in the heyday or creepy Victorian insane asylums. The number of patients peaked at 1500 in 1952, dropping to 147 patients in 2001, and finally closing in 2003.

The State is currently negotiating with the Town to set the parameters for a redevelopment of the site — a truly hugeass project for Medfield. The latest agreement calls for 440 units of housing, of which 259 will be affordable. The housing will be a mix of apartments, condos, and single-family homes, and some of the historic buildings will be saved.

Predictably, many residents are uneasy about all those affordable housing units, even though the project will push Medfield above the 10% threshold for the State’s Chapter 40B code. Chapter 40B allows affordable housing developers to circumvent local zoning if less than 10% of the jurisdiction’s housing is affordable, and it has been notorious for creating controversy in small towns.

Goodbye Nuthouse…










Goodbye Medfield…

8 Responses to “The Nuthouse”

  1. Matt the Engineer

    Look at all of that pretty brick and density. Run a complete gut-remodel on the thing and sell it as luxury condos.

  2. dorian gray

    Arg. I was thinking the same thing Matt. How much for the brick? Jeebus that thing is/was beautiful.

  3. justin

    I would love to live in that nuthouse

  4. Joshua

    I’m sorry. An old, abandoned mental hospital… does anyone else not see the obvious here??? There’s no doubt in my mind that ONE of the mental patients (the one that won an insanity plea after killing all those families) is still living in that basement, lurking, salivating at the thought of 440 new households to terrorize…

  5. tres_arboles

    McMenamin’s redeveloped a similarly victorian “poor farm” in suburban Portland about ten years ago. They have a conference center, a microbrewery, and three or four of their cookie-cutter “taverns” on premises, complete with their ordinary bar menus.

    Although “poor farm” does not equate to insane asylum on the “creep factor,” I barely slept a wink all night the night I spent there. Our group universally ruled it out for all future meetings.

  6. Gorka

    I used to live there, in an attached single family home, since I was the son of a the staff Psychiatrist. I recall runing around all those green fields when I was seven years old…

  7. Brendalee Hartland

    My mother and father bothed worked very hard at the hospital and in many of the different buildings. I am totally insulted that somebody would refer to is as a nut hospital. I too spent many a spring summer and fall running around on the grounds, enjoyed the produce from the gardens that grew there, it’s a shame that this facility was closed. I think that they should update the buildings to assist the homeless. have a bldg for the homeless vets/men, then one for women and then another for families, programs to help with how to become financially independent, how to stay off drugs/alcohol (if they have issues with that) and job training’s large enough to do that

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