Constructing a new Danvers State. Danvers
Herald Bella Travaglini
Construction crews from various contracting companies
seemed to scatter across 77 acres of the former Danvers
State Hospital, working to transform what once was a secluded
mental health care city, in itself, into a contemporary
prime real estate property on top of Hathorne Hill.
project is buzzing along on schedule with occupancy to begin
sometime in January 2007, AvalonBay Communites vice president
Scott Dale said Tuesday during a tour of the campus. The
developer expects the units to be fully leased by the spring
will receive preference for the 70 affordable housing units
at the luxury apartment complex, which totals 433 units
in all. The developer agreed to provide this opportunity
for residents upon the suggestion of Selectman Bill Clark
in June. The 70 units will be dispersed amongst several
buildings in the apartment complex.
massive construction project broke ground in April. The
central portion of the historic Kirkbride building was preserved
as part of the terms of the sale, including the central
main tower and two wings on either side.
total gutting of the Kirkbride is now complete, with a brick
shell remaining. The towering shell, capped off with a half
dozen or so cupolas, stands with the support of massive
steel beams and rigging, while construction crews work inside
prepping the building for the new construction.
basically constructing an entirely new building within the
brick facade," Town Manager Wayne Marquis said onsite
preservation of what remains of the Kirkbride has been ongoing,
Marquis said, pointing out heaps and piles of brick from
the original building that will be used in the construction
of the new building inside the historic veneer.
addition, there are stacks of bubble-wrapped bricks in front
of the Kirkbride, which are available for purchase on eBay
for those who are interested in owning a piece of history,
are rebuilding a replica of a clock tower over the main
entrance of the Kirbride taken down years ago when the commonwealth
owned the property, said Building Inspector Richard Maloney,
also at the site Tuesday to check out the ongoing project.
of the Kirkbride cupolas sits on wooden lifts on the ground
at the construction site awaiting some finishing touches
on its copper flashing, slate shingles and intricately carved
cupola was constructed in 1880," Maloney said.
from the highest elevation of the property at the Kirkbride
are magnificent and far-reaching.
can see the towers in Boston," Marquis said, while
pointing out the John Hancock Tower on the overcast Tuesday
Kirkbride portion of the complex will house 61 units as
well as the leasing office for the property and a poolside
clubhouse, Dale said.
one building, or "flathouse," completely framed
and roofed, crews this week finished up with framing a second
building. The roof will need to go on before inside work
can begin. Each of the buildings will have 24 units consisting
of 1,100 or so square feet of living space, project manager
Michael Moise said.
for luxury apartments at Avalon will start at $1,400 for
a 1-bedroom unit, $1,550 for a 2-bedroom unit and $1,800
for a 3-bedroom unit, Dale said.
for those units which qualify for affordable housing are
set by the state.
who live at Avalon will have access to many onsite amenities,
Dale said, including an outdoor pool, state-of-the-art fitness
center, residential lounge and "WiFi" Café,
which provides wireless Internet access. There will be a
"tot lot," or playground, adjacent to the fitness
center and an indoor basketball court and multi-function
athletic facility as well, Dale said.
to pour the foundation of a third building had to be postponed
Tuesday morning due to rainy conditions, but had been rescheduled
for early Wednesday morning, building inspector Richard
is onsite usually twice daily inspecting the project through
each construction phase, he said.
work ensues at the top of the hill overlooking Route 1,
road construction at the base of the hill on Route 62 continues,
Maloney said. That work is being done in conjunction with
construction of a new $30 million ambulatory care facility
going in on the lowlands of the property, which will include
the installation of traffic signaling at the junction of
Route 62 and Interstate 95.
Health System, Inc. is expected to finalize the permitting
process this summer to begin construction of a new $30 million
ambulatory care facility on the lowlands of the property,
Dale said. The hospital group, comprised of a network of
hospitals and medical affiliates including Beverly Hospital
and Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester, is leasing a
portion of the property from Avalon Bay.
for an additional 64 condominiums for sale will begin this
fall, Maloney said. The condos are part of a second separate
project on a portion of the lowlands overlooking Route 1.
Avalon is working in partnership with OHC Development on
the condominium project. OHC Development is also involved
in luxury homes currently under construction on Folly Hill.
Developers have condominiums on the former state hospital
property slated for completion in early 2007.
disassembly of a cell tower on top of the hill is set for
the end of October. Antennas used for fire and police communication
will be moved to a new tower at a lower elevation next to
an underground water supply reservoir at the base of the
Kirkbride C Ward demolished.
The last brick structure was destroyed leaving only the
water tower to be demolished. The water tower will come
down as soon as the new cellular tower is built to replace
it. The new tower will be located off site and not on the
property. The Building
Identification map has been updated showing these current
changes. Avalon Bay is predicting that rentals will start
as soon as Fall 2006.
Female Tuberculosis Cottage
& Surgical Unit demolished.
The 1903 Surgical Unit that once extended off of A ward
is demolished along with the 1907 Female Tuberculosis cottage
(later used as the arts and crafts cottage). This now just
leaves C Ward and the water tower and demolition will be
completed on the highlands.
Gymnasium and Kitchen demolished.
The 1932 Kirkbride gymnasium and kitchen additions were
demolished. Completion of the demolition process is only
a couple weeks away.
Gray Gables and Kirkbride B Ward demolished.
The historic 1898 Gray Gables Building along with Kirkbride
B Ward were demolished today. The Gray Gables was a unique
building as it was the first free standing residential structure
built post Kirkbride. It was used as a residential facility
for nurses in the early years and towards the later years,
it housed hospital staff that were married. This leaves
a handful of buildings left and demolition will be complete
on the highlands.
Kirkbride A Ward demolished.
Demolition has begun on the Female side. A Ward which was
part of the original Kirkbride structure (1878) has been
demolished. Also demolished was the 1897 A-Annex located
Kirkbride H Ward demolished.
H Ward which was part of the original Kirkbride structure
(1878) has been demolished. Also demolished was the 1954
Hydro Unit that extended off of I ward. This completes the
Male side demolition as Avalon Bay intends to save G Ward.
Kirkbride I Ward demolsihed.
I Ward which was part of the original Kirkbride structure
(1878) has been demolished. Also demolished was the 1912
State of transition
buildings at Danvers State Hospital are coming down.
The former state hospital property, comprising 77 acres
of land and a collection of new-Gothic buildings visible
from Route 1, was purchased by developer Avalon Bay Communities
late last year following a 14-year process involving the
state and the town of Danvers.
signature building on the site was designed by renowned
architect Thomas Kirkbride. It is listed on the National
Register of Historic Places, as is the whole site, a designation
preservation activists hoped would offer it protection from
demolition. Avalon was chosen as the developer of the site
and agreed to preserve one-third of the Kirkbride building.
wings of the Kirkbride will be removed, but its center will
know what part has to be saved," said Scott Dale, vice
president of development for Avalon.
Bay obtained 35 demolition permits for work, according to
information from the Building Inspector's office at Town
fleet of construction vehicles, visible from Putnam Lane,
continues the work of emptying the interior of the buildings
to prepare the site for the construction of luxury apartments.
Some residents have taken note of the activity. In fact,
Precinct 2 Town Meeting member and retired firefighter Bob
Osgood attended this week's meeting of the Board of Selectmen
and asked whether the water being used by Avalon to spray
down the dust from the demolition is being charged at a
flat rate or on a meter system.
Works Director Don DeHart said Wednesday morning that the
town charges a flat rate of $200 a month for water to any
contractor, adding that it's impossible to put a meter on
the multiple hydrants in use by Avalon.
metered rate is $3.20 per 100 cubic feet.
is terrible," said Osgood separately. "They're
using a lot of water up there. Why should they be any different
than anybody else? They're lugging truckload after truckload
of debris out of there and you don't know how many lines
they've got going," he said
Town officials had hoped Avalon would take possession of
the state hospital site in the fall of 2004, which would
have meant what was then estimated as $1 million in taxes.
tax bill will have to reflect purchase price, Town Manager
Wayne Marquis said this week, and it will increase as the
site is completed. But, the town can look forward to banking
50 percent of the tax revenue for the High School Stabilization
Fund to help pay for a renovation/expansion of the current
Cabot Road facility now in the early planning stages.
road improvements around the state hospital caused at least
a six-month delay, Dale said in earlier interviews.
existing geometry there is less than ideal," he said.
can expect to see some traffic improvements by this spring,
including a traffic light at Route 95, at the northbound
off-ramp onto Route 62, which will tie in to the existing
lights at Stop & Shop.
traffic re-configuration calls for reducing the island area
between the east and west lanes of Route 62 near the State
Police barracks, where there would be a new traffic light
to ease traffic patterns.
road projects will be overseen by the Massachusetts Highway
Department, Dale said.
the meantime, he said, security fencing has been put around
Dale said demolition should be wrapped up within the next
two months, depending on weather.
is as we anticipated," said Dale regarding the 130-year-old
landmark building. Workers haven't found any unexpected
materials, for instance, and the condition of the brick
and interior walls and flooring had already been assessed.
Kirkbride J Ward demolished.
It's official. J Ward which was part of the original
Kirkbride structure (1878) has been demolished. Also demolished
was the 1906 Male Tuberculosis Cottage (later used as the
Music Cottage) along with the 1927 Mechanics Garage.
Final lament for loss of the Kirkbride Building.
write to you today with a great sadness about the loss of
the Kirkbride Building on the grounds of Danvers State Hospital.
every effort to preserve this national historic treasure,
despite its unique place in the history of the area and
in the humane treatment of the mentally ill (Dr. Kirkbride's
approach of fresh air, good food, gainful occupation, etc.,
and a limit of 500 patients maximum in the facility, was
later distorted by overcrowding in the 20th century, which
led to abuse of patients. But that does not negate the benefits
of Kirkbride's original vision.), despite the existence
of countless and much older buildings in other parts of
the world, the Kirkbride has fallen, a victim of shortsightedness
I write this letter, the backhoes and bulldozers and wrecking
balls are gnawing away at one of the most remarkable architectural
treasures of the modern era.
want future generations to know that there were people who
fought bravely to preserve the Kirkbride, including Richard
Trask, Danvers town archivist; the Danvers Preservation
Commission; Michael Ramseur; Kathy Morano; Wayne Eisenhauer;
Charles Wilson; and Pat Deegan (a former resident of Danvers
State), along with John Gray and Mike Turcotte, urban explorer-historians).
I also want them to know there were those who caved in to
the pressure of vision-challenged members of our community,
including Danvers Town Manager Wayne Marquis, Massachusetts
Secretary of State Bill Galvin, Department of Capital Management
members David Perrini and Mary Beth Clancy and the members
of the Citizens' Advisory Commission, headed up by Robert
have no illusions that AvalonBay's creations will stand
the test of time as did the Kirkbride.
100 or 500 years, when future historians shake their heads
over this tragic mistake, let it be remembered that there
were those who had a vision of preservation and reuse of
the Danvers State Hospital properties that did not require
demolition and cookie-cutter concrete construction.
remember, and so will they!
The Bonner Medical Building was demolished.
Kirkbride J ward annex was demolished.
Female Nurses Home was demolished.
Our Lady of the Hill Chapel was demolished.
Demolition Has Begun. Male Nurses Home and St. Lukes Chapel
Male Nurses Home (1927) and St. Lukes Chapel (1964) were
recently destroyed. The Building
Identification map will be updated periodically to show
what buildings are standing and what buildings have been
Abatement Removal Starts
loaders, self propelled lifts, generators dump trucks and
other construction equipment now occupy the Danvers State
Hospital highlands. Traffic up and down the main entrance
is as frequent as the traffic on the nearby Route 62. The
parking spaces that were once reserved for doctors, nurses
and visitors and now filled with automobiles that belong
to construction companies and their workers. The red plywood
boards that covered the windows are being removed letting
in sunlight that the hospital hasn't seen in years. Abatement
removal is underway and dramatic changes are happening to
the buildings daily as the demolition stage approaches rapidly.