The idea of a home becoming a place of suffering, and no ability to change the circumstances until the day you die, is something of the plot to a horror movie. However, this was literally the case at Monticello Manor, a hospital at its inception, and turned to a nursing home in its later years. After an initial organization of the Hebrew Ladies Society in 1921, the Monticello Hospital opened officially in 1924, serving both men and women of the downstate New York area of Sullivan County.
Becoming the Monticello Manor nursing home in 1979 after a larger regional hospital was opened, the structure, changed significantly in the mid-20th Century, lay nearly unchanged for the next several decades until its forced closure by the Health Department in 2008. The decay of this building began long before it closed though. In the last 10 years of staying open, the home incurred nearly 200 health violations, including insect infestations and structural damages that had gone unrepaired. The cost of these damages and violations was on the residents who lived in the home. Their end-of-life care was directly compromised and it would be nothing short of accurate to say they may have lived a tortured existence in their final years. The injustice they suffered is both angering and depressing.
The former owner of Monticello Manor also owned another nearby facility named Roscoe Manor, where 2 residents died outside in the nearby woods after wandering away during the night. His name is now disgraced due to the vile situations he created in his for-profit nursing homes. The structure of Monticello Manor is still very intact, albeit heavily water damaged on the ground floor. The walls and doors of this place are smashed and gutted in several places, mostly where scrappers have come and torn the metal out. The entire place is devoid of heavy graffiti though, unlike most places abandoned in the current climate of instant internet photo and location sharing.
It seems to hold an eerie presence around and within it though; something about its isolation at the top of a forested hill, or the way it appears through the trees at the end of a long, overgrown driveway. The interior still bears names written on strips of masking tape, up next to the door frames of the resident rooms. That their names and final homes were only worth strips of masking tape is somewhat forlorn it its own way. The kitchen still contains stacked dishes and remnants of a final 4th of July celebration. Even the closets in the hallways contained suitcases and clothing, hung on wire hangers and forgotten.
The sadness that permeates this building and the other structures that still remain on the land, (a nurses home, a resident home from the 1800's, a chapel and several homes), infects every hallway and room like a disease. The pieces of people's lives that remain rotting within the walls of Monticello Manor are a stark reminder how much we need to do better by people, young and old, abled and disabled. The closure of this nursing home and former hospital probably couldn't have come soon enough to the people who were forced to live here. Exploring and being able to experience what's left of Monticello Manor was more somber than we'd have thought going into this adventure. The reality of what happened in this abandoned hospital-turned-nursing home was horrific, and the respect those who lived and died in here deserve is a central part of our reverence for this decaying structure.
Thanks for reading,
More Photos of Monticello Manor, NY.
© Full Dark Productions, 2019.