hospital always had impressive landscaping throughout the years. I've
seen pictures from the 1890's and 1930's and it was amazing work.
Did they continue that during the years you were there?
P- They sure did. Charlie
Sawyer ran the green house for years and years. God he did beautiful
work. He grew everything. All the plants in the wards, all the tables
in the kitchens would have flowers on the them. He was always growing
something all year round and those beds were always full. Easter plants,
Christmas plants you name it and he kept that green house spotless.
He always had 3 or 4 patients working with him. I was speechless when
I first went there. We had people from all over visiting the grounds.
It got to be such a problem we had security start turning them away
and kicking them out. The Danvers Herald was always there taking pictures,
families having picnics and so on. And then we had people who were
not even visiting a patient and they just wanted to hang around because
it was so pretty. We also had groups who just visited because of the
wildlife. We had deer, hawks all kinds of rare birds , foxes. Those
gardens in front were spectacular and they had these circular gardens
on each side that were just beautiful. Unfortunately one of the very
first things to close was that green house and it all stopped.
What was the condition of the Kirkbride wards like when they first
closed? Where they deteriorating at all?
P-They were in good
shape. We used them for storage after for the beds, desks and furniture.
To be perfectly honest, the wards didn't really start to deteriorate
badly until they shut the heat off and the pipes froze. They shut
the heat off but didn't shut the water off and pipes split. We had
major damage over on the H, I and J units. It was all water. It took
down floors and caused major,major damage. I have no idea why they'd
shut the heat off. The power station is there heating Hogan and they'd
just blowing off the excess steam that would of heated the Kirkbride.
Why shut it down? What's the purpose? It doesn't cost them anything.
Again this sort of call was made from Boston. We had no control over
J- Speaking of the Hogan
Center, did the DSH patients use their recreation facilities often?
The swimming pool etc?
P-Yeah they did. Hogan
had a pool and bowling alley the patients used. Danvers never had
a bowling alley as far as I can remember so they just went down the
hill to Hogan. It was shared system. We had Hogan patients come up
to Danvers to watch movies in the auditorium and attend fairs, things
Did the auditorium ever have an larger extened balcony? The one that's
currently up is very small.
P- Yes there was. It
was before I came there but I believe it was around 1961 or 62 they
ripped it down, took the seats out and did it over as you see it today
with the gym floor.