Joel M Nadler Photography

Craig House

Craig House was the first American privately-owned psychiatric hospital located in Beacon, New York. The facility was run by the Scottish Doctor, Jonathan Slocum. He focused on progressive attitudes towards mental health by promoting talk therapy and recreation such as golf, skiing, and painting.[1]

This was one of the most prestigious private institutions in the U.S. The monthly fees at the hospital were $750, which was very expensive for the era.

A  well-known patient of Craig House was Zelda Fitzgerald, writer, jazz age muse and wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, was committed in 1932, after many years of struggling with mental illness. Zelda was moved to Craig House due to her worsening condition. However, with no cure in sight, and the cost becoming unmanageable, Zelda was moved to a cheaper hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. She later died in 1948 when a fire started in the hospital she was housed in.

Deinstitutionalization, the process of replacing long-term psychiatric hospitals with community mental health services, began in the 1960’s. This movement started with the idea of community-services and psychotropic drugs to replace these institutions. 

The hospital eventually closed in 1999 but was bought in 2003 by Robert Wilson, a Wall Street hedge fund manager. Unfortunately, in 2013, aged at age 87, he jumped out of the window of his Upper West Side apartment building and died. The building sat empty for many years, untouched[2].


[1] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/26/abandoned-mental-institution-photos-_n_6527588.html

[2] https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/zelda-fitzgerald-s-abandoned-sanatorium

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