From the Northampton Historical Commission
West of downtown Northampton along Route 66, construction is continuing at Village Hill, a mixed-use redevelopment of a site that includes residential, office and light-industry, as well as community gardens, athletic fields and protected agricultural fields and forests. Newer residents of the area may not be aware that this site was the former home of the Northampton State Hospital, a sprawling campus of 70 buildings on more than 500 acres that, at its peak, housed 2,500 patients and employed 500 staff.
Construction of the hospital began in the 1850s, and expansion continued through the mid 20th century. In the late 1970’s, the hospital began downsizing, and finally closed in 1993. Buildings sat empty and deteriorated, and many of the original structures were razed. During demolition, MassDevelopment, the developer of the property offered some of the hospital’s contents to the Northampton Historical Commission. These artifacts have been in storage for the past decade, and the Historical Commission is now offering some of those items for sale in a public auction. All proceeds will be used to restore the historic fountain that was located at the entry of the hospital’s ‘Old Main’ building. The restored fountain will be the centerpiece of a memorial park within Village Hill.
“The Hospital played an extremely important role in the history of Northampton,” said David Drake, Chairman of the Northampton Historical Commission. “This auction is a fair and equitable way for the city to handle the remaining items that were set aside when the buildings were taken down” To view and bid on the items, visit www.municibid.com/storecatalog.asp?userid=9056, or go to www.municibid.com and enter ‘Northampton State Hospital’ in the search box. Items for sale range from doors and windows to bathroom fixtures and auditorium seats, and even a cupola that sat atop one of the buildings. Auctions begin on June 25, and end July 14-17.