Driving through the country roads, one might happen upon a road with a somewhat cryptic name. Sanatorium Road stretches up a mountain and leads to the abandoned Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital.
In 1907, New Jersey opened its only state owned and operated sanatorium in Glen Gardner. It was intended to be a model institution, providing individual and public health benefits to an expected 500 case annually. Ahead if its time in terms of treatment methods, the facility treated more than 10,000 people between 1907 and 1929.
By the 1920s, the sanatorium’s mission had been broadened to incorporate treatment of all cases, regardless of severity. When the sanatorium opened, the original plan was that only “incipients,” or “curables” would be treated. The sanatorium’s treatment methods remained relatively unchanged until the middle of the 20th century, when newer and more innovative medicines began to be develop. In 1950, the sanatorium broaden its scope of treatments once more, this to to include all chest diseases. The hospital was closed down in the late 1970s, and was left to fall apart.
In 1977, the Senator Garret W. Hagedorn Gero-Psychiatric Hospital, or “Hagedorn” was built right next to where the abandoned tuberculosis center-turned-hospital site lay. Hagedorn, which was really an extension of the New Jersey Hospital that was rotting next to it with a new name, focused on its new calling as a state nursing home and, eventually, a 288-bed psychiatric hospital.
But throughout 2011 there was a debate about whether to close Hagedorn. The following year it was shut down, and left abandoned, just like its neighbor and predecessor.
Know Before You Go
You will be charged with trespassing if caught parked on the property. This is state owned property and they enforce the law.
Once on Sanitorium Rd, pass second entrance and bear to the right. There is a pull off on the right. It is about 200 yards from the facility entrance. Walk up the upper access road and go down the second set of overgrown steps. Once at the bottom of the steps, continue to the right until you come to the end of the last building on your left. Where fence ends is where you will descend a small but steep hill. At the bottom there are several ways to enter building. You can go from the basement where the morgue is located to the top of the building via a ladder to the top of the elevator shaft.