Haverford State Hospital
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The Haverford State Hospital was a mental hospital outside of Philadelphia. Its extensive former grounds occupy the northern sections of Delaware County west of the city of Philadelphia, in Haverford Township.
The hospital was constructed in 1964 as a state of the art hospital. Its patients enjoyed a bowling alley, private rooms, recreational activities, jobs within the hospital, some even being able to leave regularly. The entire complex consisted of 23 buildings, the largest being the Acute Intensive Care Center, named Hilltop (building 4). The facility also contained a boiler plant, garage, warehouse, administration building, recreation building, five extended treatment wards, two geriatric wards, and two kitchen buildings. At the time of its closure in 1998, its superintendent was Aidan Altenor. Its closure was due in part to a lawsuit using the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as well as the general deinstitutionalization of the state hospital system. When it closed, most of the patients were then transferred to the Norristown State Hospital. Its lands were used for a few years as a haunted hayride though in the years leading up to its demolition and redevelopment this practice had ceased.
With the broken down mess of the hospital's past, the new development plans bring great change to the property's history of deer and weeds. According to the News of Delaware County, the grounds will be a highmark for Haverford township, recreation properties overlooking the I-476 (the blue route).
Discharge through Habeas Corpus
On November 14, 2006, the Haverford Township Board of Commissioners approved the Agreement of Sale and Preliminary Land Development Plans. The so-called Haverford Reserve development will include 100 carriage homes and 198 condominiums plus the Township will ultimately have several athletic fields and over 120 areas for passive recreation. The hospital has also been plagued in the past year by people scrapping for copper and other valuable metals. On April 5, 2007, the Pennsylvania Attorney General filed an indictment against 5th ward commissioner Fred C. Moran in conjunction with the sale of the state Hospital property. This scandal involved Fred Moran disclosing the bids of other potential developers (that were supposed be confidential) to one contractor in particular. He was convicted of Bribery in Official and Political Matters in 2008, and lost his appeal.
Demolition of the former state hospital began in early June 2007. The first buildings to come down were the administration and recreation buildings, followed by the extended treatment and geriatric wards. The final two buildings to be demolished were the boiler plant, and the five story Hilltop building which finally fell on January 17, 2008. Currently, the upper portion of the property is being developed into housing, while the lower portion was developed into athletic and recreation areas for the township. The vast woods surrounding the property to the south and west have been allowed to remain. The Reserve now boasts over 5 miles of hiking trails, an all accessible playground built completely by volunteers call Freedom Playground, a dog park with a section for each small and large dogs, two grass fields, one synthetic turf soccer/football/lacrosse field, one synthetic turf baseball/softball diamond, and the Community Recreation & Environmental Center.
- "Mental Case Discharged" The Gettysburg Times. September 3, 1969. Page eighteen.
- Pennsylvania Attorney General. Attorney General Corbett announces grand jury report of investigation into misconduct by officials in Haverford Township, Delaware County; Criminal charges filed against commissioner (05 April 2007)
- Needles, Zack. "Superior Court Denies Haverford Twp. Commissioner's Appeal" The Legal Intelligencer, 26 August 2010.