In 2005, through a federal grant, Massachusetts began putting into action a plan to close state facilities for the elderly and people with disabilities and to move those clients into home-based environments. Translation: the commonwealth wanted to deinstitutionalize some of its most vulnerable residents by moving them out of hospitals where they had received care for most or all of their lives.
As a result, more hulking, Gothic hospitals around Massachusetts joined the growing ranks of aging facilities that were already favorites of urban explorers.
On June 30 of this year, the Monson Developmental Center, which opened in Palmer in 1854, moved the last few remaining residents out. Most of the facility's buildings have been empty for years.
Peter Arnemann took these amazing pictures a few years back.
What will become of the Monson site? As with so many other similar facilities in the state, the answer is, "Who the hell knows?" There is no master plan for the site, according to Palmer town officials. -- DB.