Grafton State Hospital

1901- 1973

Grafton, Massachusetts


Grafton State Hospital for the “chronic insane” opened in 1901 as an extension of Worcester State Hospital. The state of Massachusetts purchased 700 acres of land for the new farm colony hospital. This hospitals intend was to provide agriculture and therapeutic work for patients that Worcester could not. By 1912, the new hospital was administratively separated from Worcester and became independent from them. The hospital classified patients by their behavior instead diagnosis. “Violent” “Excited” “Quiet” & “Peaceful”. The buildings were labeled by different types of trees. Pines, Elms, Oak and Willows. The Pines building were developed with masonry as heavy bricked building for “Excited” females while the Elms building was for “Excited” males on the opposite side of the campus. Oaks (Male) and Willows (Female) were for the “Quiet’ and “Peaceful” patients and were trustworthy enough would be assigned to unlocked cottages on campus. The hospital also had a state art of the hydro-therapy room. with over By 1945, the agricultural focus at the hospital grew so large that other areas of treatment for patients quickly fell to almost none. The hospital was intended to be self-sufficient but unfortunately that took the main focus and occupational therapy took a back seat. At the height of the hospital the occupancy had reach over 1,700 patients. By the 1970s a change in attitude for the mentally ill across the county was taking place. The attitude was to have smaller group homes for patients instead of large institutions. In 1973 Dr. Sevinsky was charged with raping several patients at the hospital. With law suits and the move to deinstitutionalize the insane in Massachusetts, after 72 years of service, Grafton State Hospital closed in 1973. 


A redevelop agreement took place in 1978 with the state of Massachusetts and Tufts University. They reused some of the old hospitals buildings on the campus for a veterinary college. The Administration build, Theater, and parts of Elms were reused. Durning this time the Job Corps program also started to reuse and redevelop buildings on the former hospital campus as well. Parts of the former Pines building for “Excited” females would be reused while the rest would remain abandoned. The town is currently looking for a buyer to redevelop the land.