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Kings Park Psychiatric Center

Uploaded by ssnum4 on May 20, 2001

The Kings Park Psychiatric Center has had a large effect on the social changes of Long Island. A small town grew larger and prosperous from the direct effect of this State hospital from the time of 1885 to the present. The history of the town, the patients and court cases held, and the concluding plans for the land after its closing have all had a significant mark on the social changes of the town.

The first hospital was built in a quiet farming town later named Kings Park. In 1885, officials of what was then the city of Brooklyn established the Kings County Farm on more than 800 acres to care for the mentally ill. Kings Park was only a small part of what would later become a giant chain of connected mental hospitals on Long Island, each with over 2,500 patients at one time.(Bleyer,2)

As new buildings went up at Kings Park, so did the patient population. At the turn of the century, Kings Park in just 15 years had grown to, 697 patients and a staff of 454. This dramatic increase had given the hospital a larger population than the rest of the Town of Smithtown. (Sarhaddi) The hospital was very equipped; therefore, not very dependant on the rest of Long Island.

All the hospitals built around this time prided themselves on being self-sufficient farm communities. At Kings Park, the three wooden houses grew into more than 150 permanent buildings, including a bakery, Laundromat, amusement hall, bandstand, library, furniture repair shops, and nursing school. Most of the people who lived in Kings Park worked at the Psychiatric Center. Many of them were Irish immigrants brought from their native land more than 50 years ago by relatives who worked at the mental hospital on the Long Island Sound and who had promises of jobs for them too. (Bleyer)

During World War II, when many employees joined the armed forces, Central Islip recruited black workers from the Carolinas, which led to cultural changes in the mix of the community. This developed distinct differences between certain areas of race such as African American, Hispanic, and white neighborhoods. Minority groups not allowed to fight in the war or not taken to fight were offered jobs to work at the hospitals. The Kings Park Psychiatric Hospital hadn’t really become very over-populated until the 1960’s. (Sarhaddi)

The Kings Park Psychiatric Center was in its Heyday in the 1960’s....

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Uploaded by:   ssnum4

Date:   05/20/2001

Category:   Psychology

Length:   4 pages (1,009 words)

Views:   2906

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