Once a facility opened for the treatment of patients deemed insane by medical professionals, the institution fell into questionable practices that came to media attention in the late 20th century. When an investigation determined the conditions in the hospital were not suitable for the treatment of ill individuals, a lawsuit ensued, and the hospital was subsequently closed with no plans to re-open.
Today, the grounds remain unharvested though it has been suggested that the hospital will be bulldozed with condominiums constructed in its absence or that it will be officially repurposed into a membership-based dog park. At this time, it is neither. As an unofficial dog park, access to the Former Northampton State Hospital Grounds is open to the public at no cost.
The terrain is described as containing both wide open grass areas as well as sections that are quite wooded. The land itself consists of 280 acres. At one time, portions of it were leased and farmed by the students of the Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. Today, this property has become a haven for dog walkers who gather daily for social time and some physical activity for their beloved pooches.
As a closed hospital facility, there are no on-site amenities provided. Owners should take care to bring both water and poop bags with them to the park. Though the property is now abandoned, it is still important for owners to do their part to keep the area clean by picking up after their pets. The property is home to many hiking trails as well an 18-hole disc golf course.
To ensure the continued safety of all pets, it is best for all dogs to be fully vaccinated and in possession of a city dog license. To learn more about an interesting piece of Massachusetts history and make some new canine pals in the process, plan a visit to the Former Northampton State Hospital Grounds!