Essex Mountain Sanatorium Aerial Photograph

Posted: Friday February 11, 2011

A friend of mine found this aerial print of the Essex Mountain Sanatorium in the back of a long range plan pamphlet for the Essex County Hospital Center. I have always had a fascination with the Essex Mountain Sanatorium complex. As a child I remember spending hours perusing through the wealth of information and pictures of the old sanatorium buildings posted at, only to feel a pit in my stomach when I read about the demolition of the complex. Something about the anarchy of the vacant graffiti lined hallways, smashed out windows, and overgrown buildings appealed to me. The utter chaos of the rotting structures in my mind made sense. The empty hospital seemed to have transformed into a canvas of taboo expressions; a place where the mind was allowed to wander free and contemplate the most illicit thoughts. Within the hospital it seemed, there were no rules, just free will. It was this idea that really sparked my interest in ruins and allowed me to see beauty within disorder.

For a place that I only know through photographs, I share an odd connection with the buildings. Knowing that I will never be able to experience in person what taunted my mind as a child creates a bond that just won't seem to break. Looking at the aerial photo below I can't help but feel a sense of jealousy. While the buildings my be gone, my desire to experience them still remains.

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