The Seaside (Waterford, Connecticut)
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|Location||36 Shore Rd., Waterford, Connecticut|
|Area||36 acres (15 ha)|
|Architectural style||Tudor Revival, Classical Revival|
|NRHP Reference #||95001007|
|Added to NRHP||August 15, 1995|
The Seaside is a historic medical facility at 36 Shore Road in Waterford, Connecticut. It is nationally significant as the first institution designed for heliotropic treatment of children suffering from tuberculosis. Its buildings "comprise an exceptional collection of fully realized and generally well-preserved Tudor Revival-style institutional architecture", which were designed by Cass Gilbert. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.
Originally built to treat kids with tuberculosis but used as an elderly home, medical hospital, and a facility to treat the mentally disabled. In the 1930s it opened for children with tuberculosis. Then in 1958 it was used as an elderly home for 3 years, it was then used to treat the mentally challenged until the 1970s, when people noticed there were at lot of patients being abused. In the 1990s death rates at the hospital were increasing and something had to be done. It was closed in 1996. During the period in which they treated tuberculosis it was called Seaside Sanatorium. When it was for the elderly it was called Seaside Geriatric Hospital. Then when reopened again it was called Seaside Regional Center for the Mentally Retarded. Rumor has it that the death toll was in the low hundreds. However, since the past patients were elderly and had tuberculosis it was hard to tell if the mortality rate was due to illness or abuse.
The Waterford property where the Seaside Sanatorium would stand was commissioned in 1930 by The State Tuberculosis Commission. The 28 acre property was purchased from the heirs of the Smith-Grimes estate. More land was purchased in 1936, where its boundaries currently stand, totaling 36 acres. The cost was $125,000. The Seaside is actually the second “The Seaside” to stand for the heliotropic treatment of tuberculosis in children. The first site was at the White Beach Hotel at Crescent Beach in neighboring Niantic, Ct. The original sanatorium was up and running and receiving its first patients by January, 1920. Being the first and only treatment center for tuberculosis in the country, the 45 beds quickly filled and the waiting list began to grow. The State Tuberculosis Commission knew they had to expand, but were unable to do so because the McCook family, who owned the neighboring property, refused to sell. The state went as far as the Supreme Court to try to seize the land through eminent domain. The McCook’s won the lawsuit, however and the state sought land elsewhere.
Its current property became available and the state purchased it. Famed architect Cass Gilbert was commissioned to design the buildings. The Waterford facility was ready and the Niantic patients transferred in 1934. The location of center, the first of its kind in the nation, was chosen because of the fresh sea air and ample sunlight. At the time it was thought that fresh air and lots of sunshine could help cure tuberculosis. The children, all 14 and under would spend their days outside sunning as part of their heliotropic treatment. By the end of the 1940s, advancements in drug therapies were being made and the usefulness of sanatoriums declined.
The Gov. Dannel Malloy has made a final decision to rebuild the Seaside Sanatorium as a state park. Four years ago, Malloy signed a contract with the developer, Mark Steiner, for the property and hasn't heard anything about it until the Gov. canceled the contract. Mark Steiner had financial problems, those were the reason why he couldn't work on the contract of the property. Sen.Len Fasano,GOP legislative leader from North Haven,Connecticut blamed Malloy for disrespecting him by not letting him know about the decision he had made about the property. Malloy wants the community of Waterford, Connecticut to be informed about building the state park, he has directed relevant state agencies to conduct public hearings in Waterford as part of the park planning process, David Bednarz explained.
The New England Paranormal Video Research Group investigated the facility in 2007, finding a few EVPs (Electronic voice phenomena), some spirit orb photographs and some strong sensations. This has been accounted for in a few searches, but when Our Damned Experience visited in 2011, they noted to have odd vibes, but did not see anything unusual. They noted that the interiors are trashed with vandalism and graffiti while the exterior has rotten. When searching the building, they didn'teven encounter any security guards.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- Jan Cunningham (November 19, 1994). "NRHP Registration: The Seaside" (PDF). National Park Service. and Accompanying 18 photos, exterior and interior, from 1994 (see photo captions pages 16-17 of text document)
- Hartford Courant
- Brief Descriptions of Connecticut State Agencies. . Connecticut State Library. Revised 2008-08. Retrieved 2011-01-08. Report of the State Tuberculosis Commission For the Period Beginning October 1, 1918 to June 30, 1920 Internet Archive, uploaded by the University of Toronto on 2008-09-30. Report of the State Tuberculosis Commission For the Period Beginning July 1, 1920 to June 30, 1922 Internet Archive, uploaded by the University of Toronto on 2008-09-30 Report of the State Tuberculosis Commission For the Period Beginning July 1, 1924 to June 30, 1926 Internet Archive, uploaded by the University of Toronto on 2008-09-30 Report of the State Tuberculosis Commission to the Governor for the Period Beginning July 1, 1930 and ending June 30, 1932. Public Document No. 53. Hartford, Connecticut, State of Connecticut, 1932. .Report of the State Tuberculosis Commission to the Governor for the Period Beginning July 1, 1932 and ending June 30, 1934. Public Document No. 53. Hartford, Connecticut, State of Connecticut, 1934.
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