Overbrook Asylum, Essex County Hospital
In 1896, a large portion of land was purchased by the City of Newark, New Jersey; the land was bought to build a new mental institution, known as Overbrook. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, many buildings were built that housed mental patients and other facilities, such as a power house, laundromat, and theater.

Dangerous overcrowding of mental institutions like this one were commonplace during the Great Depression when thousands of Americans were destitute, homeless, hungry and desperate for a roof over their heads, but state budget cuts issued at the time as well as subsequent World War II food ration cuts led to dismal living conditions and near starvation diets. The post World War II years brought more patients, when many veterans returned from overseas with problems such as post traumatic stress disorder, Hospital staff simply could not care for so many people, and the overall population suffered. Attempts at escape, violence among the residents, suicide, starvation, and frequent patient abuse and neglect by the overworked staff, led to many deaths. Many patients who where admitted were subjected to treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy, hydrotherapy, diathermy and prefrontal lobotomy. It has been stated by local historians that well over 10,000 deaths occurred at the Essex County Hospital Center.

During the 1960s and 1970s, with the introduction of anti-psychotic drugs the hospital's population decreased drastically. By the 1990s, the hospital had a very small population. There was no need for such a large facility anymore. In 2007, Essex County finally closed the hospital and decided to convert the grounds into a 90-acre county park instead of the originally planned construction of houses. Several buildings at the southern end of the site were demolished in late 2008.
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