Letchworth Village

Letchworth Village Rd, Ridge Rd, Thiells, New York 10984 USA

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  • This location is on private property and is presented for information purposes only.
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“A new york ghost town”

This place is on private property. Listing for informational purposes only. Please do not visit without express permission from the land owner.

An abandoned residential institution located in Rockland County, New York in the hamlet of Thiells

Originally built in 1911 as a residence for the physically and mentally disabled of all ages.  Letchworth Village at its peak consisted of over 130 buildings spread out over many acres of land.

On February 27, 1950, the first trial case of the polio vaccine in the United States was administered to an 8-year-old patient. After the patient suffered no side effects, the vaccine was administered to 19 more of the institution's children. In 1972, a New York affiliate of ABC News featured Letchworth Village and its appalling conditions in an episode called Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace which helped lead to reform of similar healthcare institutions throughout the United States.

Letchworth was described as an ideal center for the mentally challenged and praised by the state at first. Yet, rumors such as the mistreatment of patients and horrific experimenting continued to circulate long after its closing. Former worker Dr. Little presented in an annual report in 1921 that there were three categories of "feeble-mindedness": the "moron" group, the "imbecile" group, and the "idiot" group. The last of these categories is the one that could not be trained, Dr. Little said, and so they should not be taken into Letchworth Village, because they were unable to "benefit the state." the various jobs that were assigned to the male patients included loading thousands of tons of coal into storage facilities, building roads, and were expected to farm acres of land. A disturbing realization upon a review of Little's reports is that many of his patients were young children. In 1921, the 13th Annual Report lists the number of patients admitted that year. 317 Out of 506 people were between the ages of 5 and 16, and 11 were under the age of 5 years. The negative energy surrounding Letchworth is heightened because so many of the patients were young children. Visitors observed that the children were malnourished and looked sick. The Letchworth staff claimed in the Report that there was a scarcity of food, water, and other necessary supplies but that was not the case. Children were often the subjects of testing and some of the most cruel neglect. Many of the children were able to comprehend learning but were not given the chance because they were thought of as "different." Patients were forced to dwell in cramped dormitories, because the state would not complete the construction of more buildings. Barely ten years after being constructed, Letchworth's buildings were already overpopulated, cramming 70 beds into the tiny dormitories. Nearly 1,200 patients were present during 1921. Over-population was one of the harshest conditions at Letchworth. By the 1950s, the Village was overflowing with 4,000 inhabitants. Quoting a spokesman for the State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, Corcoran confirmed that families abandoned their relatives there. Families of patients seemed to be just as neglectful as caregivers of the facility.

By the mid-1980s, the institution was no longer being adequately funded nor properly managed and residents, including children, continued to be found unclothed, unbathed, and neglected. In addition to rampant abuse among the institution's residents, staff also suffered abuse at the hands of fellow co-workers which included incidents of rape. In 1996 the institution was permanently closed down, and many of its abandoned structures have since fallen into serious disrepair.

Nearing the end of Call Hollow Road, Rockland County, there is a wide path dividing thick woodland. A large memorial stone shows the words "THOSE WHO SHALL NOT BE FORGOTTEN" and a list of hundreds of names. Behind this memorial are T-shaped markers bearing numbers which mark hundreds of nameless victims who perished at Letchworth. The cemetery lays half of a mile away from the institution. The old grave markers reveal only the numbers that the dead patients had been given, because families refused to allow their names to be known. Patients' names are buried in the archives at Letchworth Village, off limits to the public. Hardly anybody visits these graves. Few people ever did. Letchworth Village still cares for the old burial ground, sending a crew every few months to mow the tall grass, straighten the markers and clear away the garbage.

In 2011, Letchworth was featured on the Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures cable-television series on Season 5, Episode 6 which originally aired on October 28, 2011.

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Reviewed by
talkobell

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
July 16, 2014
Rated 5.0

Such an awesome place to visit!! I would definitely go back again. The grounds you're allowed to walk around but you're prohibited from going in the buildings even though a few buildings the doors are wide open. There is patrol on the grounds but I wasn't really bothered.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
springinnyc

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
June 05, 2014

I spent an entire afternoon exploring the grounds here recently. You are prohibited from going inside the buildings (despite the fact that they are, in many cases, standing wide open), but you can walk/drive around freely. If you're in the neighborhood, it's worth checking out. The buildings are really beautiful/spooky.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Jennifer

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
April 27, 2014

I've been. The architecture is amazing and it's shocking what has been left behind.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Mander_

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
October 22, 2013

This place is awesome!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
LolaWT

  • 6 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
October 18, 2013

I just watched that Ghost Adventures for the second time two nights ago.....so sad.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Jennifer Liepin

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
March 07, 2017

Hi All,
Here's a couple videos of my visit inside the building a few years back in case you want a tour.
https://youtu.be/g-njJdjARS0
https://youtu.be/m1UCPQiI0OA

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Reviewed by
mcarrules

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
September 08, 2016

Truly hurts me to read what rwallach above wrote concerning his brother's grave. My mother was placed there circa 1947-1951. She never talked about her experience there much but when she did it was shattering. Mother was quirky, odd and could act somewhat strange-ly but she was never a moron or any of the labels they had in that day nor this. She was instead a misunderstood soul. RIP Eileen CRB.

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Reviewed by
sweetjo44

  • 4 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
August 09, 2016
Rated 5.0

I went here a few years ago during the fall, my niece had a soccer game down the road from it. You can drive around the village, we parked and walked around & actually went in to a few of the buildings we didn't see any no trespassing signs so we didn't think anything of it. took some great pictures, and during the day some rooms were pitch black. Spooky, we even thought we heard voices of people and no one was around. Interesting place to explore.

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Reviewed by
KevinBaiko

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
November 21, 2015

Can anyone tell me exactly where it is. I have the area on my iPhone map. Just need to pinpoint it. I have a photography assignment and I'm sure ill ace it if I get something unique like this. ✌🏼️

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  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
June 16, 2015

I am a photographer/writering looking for people to share their stories with me about letchworth village. I am working on a project and would love to get some fact and stories about the village. if you are willing to share any stories with me, please reach out to me on my facebook page, Patrignelli Photography. Thank you in advance.

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Letchworth Village

Letchworth Village Rd, Ridge Rd
Thiells, New York
10984 USA

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