Essex County Overbrook Hospital
With roots dating back to the early 1870’s, construction began on the iconic brick buildings at Overbrook in 1896. The buildings became a prominent feature on Fairview Avenue for over a hundred years to come. What was previously founded as the “Essex County Lunatic Asylum” evolved from a single building on South Orange Avenue, to a city within itself in Cedar Grove. It was the State of New Jersey's largest county hospital. It was even larger than most of the State Hospitals in operation. The Essex County Hospital Center at Overbrook underwent a series of transformations, and was world recognized for being a leader in psychiatric care. The facility was capable of producing its own food, housed its own police and fire department, as well as sustaining its own power sources. In later years, overcrowding began to plague the institution. However, after the advent of modern psychiatric drugs, many patients were able to be discharged back into the community. In 2007, the hospital was closed and relocated to a newer establishment nearby. The grounds have since been plagued with vandalism and neglect, with a final deal for demolition having been solidified in 2015.
For the most detailed history about the Essex County Overbrook Hospital, please see the Images of America publication that was released in November 2017.