Essex County Hospital Center
The Essex County Hospital Center is a defunct psychiatric hospital that is located in the Township of Cedar Grove, New Jersey. The hospital was used as a general hospital then converted to house mentally ill patients that were in need of care. Located at the edge of the Hilltop Reservation and designated a Conservation Easement in 2001 by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the site now is part of the Essex County park system.
In 1896, a large portion of land was purchased by the City of Newark, New Jersey; the land was bought to build a new hospital to relieve pressure in the overcrowded Newark Hospital. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, many buildings were built that housed patients and other facilities, such as a power house, laundromat, and theater. According to Weird New Jersey, in the winter of 1917, the hospital suffered a catastrophe with the failure of the hospital's boilers and 24 patients freezing to death in their beds. In the mid-1920s, the tri-state mental correction board bought the land and converted Overbrook into a mental institution. The Overbrook asylum ran on, adding several add-ons and new wards until its abrupt close in the winter of 1975.
In late 2006, the new Essex County Hospital Centeropened just down the road from the site of the original Overbrook Hospital. This hospital center houses chronically ill psychiatric patients in need of longer lengths of stay than are available in community hospitals and medical centers. The new hospital center takes a cutting edge approach to behavioral health care, and its layout and programs stand in stark contrast to the hundred-year-old facility it replaced. The new hospital is located at 204 Grove Avenue in Cedar Grove.
In popular culture
- The hospital was a major filming location for the 2008 film Choke.
- In 2008, the hospital was featured on the paranormal reality series Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel, but due to privacy, the name and location were not revealed.
- In 2009, the hospital was featured on Syfy's paranormal reality shows Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters: Live Halloween Countdown, and Ghost Hunters Academy.
- Wheeler Antabanez has written extensively about The Essex County Hospital Center. His Overbrook web page contains videos, photos and essays about the abandoned hospital center including documentation of the demolition process.
- Weird NJ History, Photos, Legends of Essex County Hospital (AKA Overbrook Asylum for the Insane).
- Antiquity Echoes History, present day photos, and video of the Essex County Hospital Center grounds.
- Shadows and Rust Recent photographs of the inside and outside of the site prior to demolition.
- North Jersey Exploration Pictures of Overbrook Hospital.
- Vacant New Jersey Photographs of Essex County Hospital Center.