Seaside Sanatorium, Waterford

April, 2017 by Ray Bendici

Image by Ray Bendici

The Damned Story: Originally built as a facility to treat children with tuberculosis, Seaside Sanatorium has had a long history serving as a medical facility. Overlooking Long Island Sound, it has also been a home for the elderly, a medical hospital and a facility to treat the mentally handicapped.

Opened in the early 1930s, the building itself was designed by the renowned architect Cass Gilbert, who also designed the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington as well as the famed Woolworth Building in New York City and the landmark Union Station in New Haven. Its first young inhabitants were sent there as a remedy for their affliction as it was thought the fresh air and sunshine would be beneficial. In 1958, the building took on a new purpose for three years, treating elderly folk, then became a home for the mentally challenged. Unfortunately, in the early 1970s it came to light that some patients were being violently abused by some of the staff; in the mid 1990s, patients were turning up dead a at a higher rate than normal.

With many unanswered allegations and after decades of service, Seaside Sanatorium was closed in 1996; it has passed through the hands of a few developers, getting hung up in various protracted legal battle. Eventually the state gained ownership.

In 2016, the state of Connecticut announced plans to make the property a state park. The goal is "to expand shoreline recreational opportunities for state residents and visitors." A few of the architecturally significant buildings are being rennovated, and the grounds are being spruced up.

The New England Paranormal Video Research Group investigated this place in 2007, thinking that with Seaside's long, dark and sometimes tragic history—and spooky, abandoned vibe—it might be a good target for paranormal investigation. They were able to capture a few EVPs [Electronic Voice Phenomena] and a few spirit orb photographs. The group's resident sensitive also experienced some strong sensations.

Our Damned Experience: Cameras in hand (as always) we visited Seaside Sanatorium on an overcast day in late April 2011. We parked outside the main entrance with all the other people who were enjoying the grounds—it must've been "Bring Your Dog to Seaside Day"—and walked onto the property.


Image by Kate Geruntho Frank

It's easy to see why you would build a facility dedicated to helping people convalesce at this peaceful, scenic location—it has a wonderful view of Long Island Sound and the salty ocean air is refreshing.

The buildings are all boarded up, but it's easy to see that when they were open and functioning, that the whole place must've been very appealing. Unlike many other state institutions, time and effort was clearly put into the aesthetic qualities of building design—it's reminiscent of a classic New England private school.

We wandered around the buildings—as you can see in the photo gallery, the exteriors have been allowed to rot and the interiors are pretty much trashed at this point; it appears that some equipment was even left behind. We didn't notice or see anything unusual or weird, although Kate says she felt some odd vibes. Like any abandoned place, there's a certain level of inherent creepiness, to be sure. (Especially the abandoned playground equipment!)

Unlike many other visitors, we didn't encounter any security guards on the grounds, but then again, we never tried to get into any of the buildings—even with all our tetanus shots up-to-date, we were content with sticking our camera lenses through the broken windows and snapping away. The place looks like it's ready to come down fairly easily.

Still, even without going inside—which we do NOT recommend or condone—it's still well worth a visit.

If You Go: Seaside Sanatorium is located just off of Shore Road in Waterford (down the street from Harkness Memorial State Park), on a scenic stretch of Connecticut coastline. The grounds are open to the public, but the buildings are absolutely off limits. It is recommended to park away from the property and walk over to it.


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Submitted by MC (not verified) on
if you see a white car on the grounds, its most likely security, so dont go in, you will get fined and from what the security gaurd told me, he will go in after whoever is in there. if you can get on the 3rd floor deck, the view is gorgeous. There's tons of papers on the 4th floor, like incident reports and patient files. Bring a camera and dont get caught :)

Submitted by MC (not verified) on
I wouldn't go when there's snow on the ground because if security is there they'll know you're in the building(s). The stairs inside the buildings lead to the upper floors and bring a flashlight because the back hallways are always real dark.

Submitted by E.A (not verified) on
Nancy, It's a beautiful building and location. You should really make a point to go see it soon, it's still beaitiful

Submitted by Nancy Morgan (not verified) on
E.A., we're moving soon back to the NE from Florida, so maybe I will get to go back and see it again!

Submitted by VictoriaG (not verified) on
My friend and I are going to visit Seaside on Thursday and I was wondering if anyone had any tips or suggestions for us? Also Ryan Cosgrove, if you could please email me at I'm interested in talking to you about the journals you have. Thank you!

Submitted by MC (not verified) on
He told me that they were making that small building where everyone parks his office but I don't know if they have yet. I wouldn't be surprised if people that live around the property actually call him and let him know when people are there. Just be careful if you go in and know more than 1 exit or somewhere to hide because he will go in after you. He's also there in the worst weather like at the end of summer when the hurricane was offshore in the middle of the night and caught a bunch of people trying to get in and fined them. I feel like he never leaves the place.

Submitted by bj (not verified) on
It seems that it is the same security guard. I think the prick lives there or lives close by, because he seems to be there when people have gotton into the buildings. I don't know how the prick seems to know when people there. I think that ther might be a security system like over at norwich hospital. The dentistry equipment is on the left side of the hospital as you walk towards the hospital but you can't see it anymore because the prick has blocked the window with something. Don't get caught the prick will call the cops my friend got caught and got a 92.00 fine.

Submitted by Kenny (not verified) on
im planning on going in tuesday. what time is the best time? and any tips on how to get to the upper floors and what equipment i need and any other tidbits?

Submitted by Patrick (not verified) on
Me and my friend want to go check this place out. We live in Clinton/Old Saybrook, and are both real big into photography, and think this place would put out some great shots. He scoped the place out a few weeks back, And we think that we could just park down the road and walk in. From what I've heard, flashlights and face masks are a must. Becasue it's and older building, im sure there is asbestos and lead based paint everywhere.

Submitted by Nancy Morgan (not verified) on
OMG and I was a patient there in the 1950s when I was 12....wonder how much asbestos and lead I got in my system in the 11 months I was there!

Submitted by MC (not verified) on
You can park on the little road that its on, just not in the parking lot of the nursing home or whatever it is. There are no parking signs down by the gate, but there should be a little driveway on the left when you pull in and you should be able to park there (I always have but I dont know if things changed, I havent been there since Sept.). And Nancy, I think that stuff can only affect you if it has been stirred up, like if the paint is peeling off the walls and if tiles aren't stuck to floor anymore and if windows that are abestos lined have been taken out.

Submitted by Steve (not verified) on
I would really, REALLY love to get in here. I'm a huge fan of old sanitariums like these, and I'd like to get in as soon as possible. I'd probably go with a couple friends and my camera. If anyone's got any suggestions as to how to get in, I'd be very grateful. I read some of the comments and that's answered most questions I've had. And Kenny, tell me how you made out!

Submitted by Lonny (not verified) on
Michael - As someone famous on the Internet once said (Shakespeare, I think or maybe it was Jefferson), "Stop feeding the trolls!"

@MC~So now you try to classify yourself as doing something perfectly legal, when it is not. Just because there isn't a sign on the building saying no trespassing and the door was unlocked/open, doesn't give you or anyone the right to just go in and look around, because now you claim to be in amazement of the buildings' design. Nonetheless, the property itself belongs to someone or the state and for that reason, it is private property. The beach may be public access but the building clearly is not. Why can't you seem to understand that? Most of these places are fast disappearing due to acts like yours and yet you want to say that you are doing nothing wrong and separate yourself from others like yourself due to your interest in the design? C'mon now. The other people and yourself are one in the same. Get permission to go into these and other places like it or just stay out. Simple.

Submitted by Alison (not verified) on
Does anyone know if you are able to get into the sanatorium without being arrested currently?

Submitted by R. Boucher (not verified) on
I was a patient there back in 1953 and 1954 for about 14 months. I was 3 and 4 years of age at the time. I had TB at the time. I still have old black and white photos that my parents took when they came for parents day. I whish I could see the place again.

Submitted by Nancy Morgan (not verified) on
I was also there with TB when I was 12 in 1955 and 1956 for 11 months.....I also have pictures of the outside of the building with my parents and siblings standing with me. Actually, because I was older I sort of had fun there! But a little three year brother was in Undercliff at age 3 and that was very hard on my parents. My two older sisters were also at Undercliff for about 4 years each...all with TB. Very hard time for my family.

Submitted by bj (not verified) on
I went to seaside everyday for the last two weeks and security was walking around the buildings, even in the snow. He cought my friend about 2 or 3 months ago and his friends. They all got fined, he is not like the other guards that have been there. All the other guards diden't care. The f**ker has made it so hard to get in. Just watch out, because he will have you fined. We r going to try to get in next week. We use to get in through the manhole on the right side of the building, but not the F**ker put s**t in them. We are still looking for a way in..... When I was in there back in Sept. are eyes seemed to burn and we all were dying of thurst. we heard alot of noises and it seem like something was watching us. We got the F**K out.

Submitted by bj (not verified) on
Watch out for the cops, they seem to be there alot over th last couple of weeks. I was told that the F**Ker use to be a F**king pig. He is the one that caught the people stealing the copper back in Oct. He's got friends and i saw the DEP there twice while i was walking the grounds over the last couple of weeks. And watch the stairs, i slipped down the stairs and busted my ass.

Submitted by MC (not verified) on
Yea he was a cop and he used to do security at norwich state hospital. He will go in after you and he told us that he has that tear gas stuff or whatever it is. He did however tell us he let a bunch of sailors go one day because he used to be in the service, so if you get caught just tell him your in the service. I plan on going into te oter buildings because I feel they don't watch them as much

Submitted by bj (not verified) on
Someone told me that he worked over there and because he caught so many over there, he got sent to seaside. I went there this afternoon and the prick watched me and my friends. Me and some friends went to the ladd school, in RI. awsome place and NO security that we saw. there are two huge signs telling you to keep out. there are a couple of buildings that r used.

Submitted by MC (not verified) on
That guy definately made it harder to get in. I feel like they put a new door in where i used to go in at (where the stairs and metal gate is) because it had a broken glass window before and now it's a full door with no window. There is possibly another way in. I don't want to say exactly where in case security reads this, but just walk along the edge of the building and look down and you will eventually see it (and no it's not the one that was covered up). I think he's taking it too seriously, all people want to do is have a little fun and take pictures. It was also annoying over the summer constantly driving his damn car around as if he was trying to catch you doing something wrong. And when you'd think he was gone he'd be back again. He also isn't a fan of people taking pics of the building, he told my cousin he'd take her camera if she took anymore

Submitted by bj (not verified) on
he don't care if you take pictures from the outside, as long it is from the outside. he was letting people take pictures a couple days ago. he was talking to some people that had been taking pictures and they went to taking pictures again.

Submitted by Abby (not verified) on
Its just some old abandoned buildings. I grew up here and have been here a hundred times. Posts say that visitors on foot are welcome but going inside the condemed buildings is prohibited which is obviously for your own safety. There isn't anything spooky about it. People have wild imaginations!!!

Submitted by jk (not verified) on
Can anyone tell me if its the same security gaurd all day or they broken down into 3 shifts? & or what time they start? where is the dentistry equipment ? thanx

Submitted by jk (not verified) on
you cant get threw the door once you get into that room now

Submitted by JL (not verified) on
I was there about a month ago. To get in you have to face the back of the building (near the playground) and climb up the right staircase. Jump the gate thats there (shown in the first picture) and then take a right and there will be a window that you can climb through (shown in the second picture) Hope that helps. 1st picture: 2nd picture:

Submitted by jk (not verified) on
i know the neighbors call him i also heard from a friend who was there recently that they were confined to the 1st floor couldnt get up to other floors which used to be much easier...

I did just hear the other day, rumor or not, that this building and land was sold to a private developer who wants to redo it into a 55+ retirement home. Anyone know if there is any validity to that? I would love to take my team there but HAVE to have permission to go into places like these but it seems like that won't be easy at all.

Submitted by MC (not verified) on
I believe it was bought last yr but from what I heard they want to renovate and not tear down the buildings. I also believe that they still have to give pedestrian access to the grounds because that was part of the deal when the state sold it. Why couldn't they get to the upper floors?

As for not being able to get to the upper floors, maybe they boarded them up or got better locks or something? If I'm not mistaken I thought I heard that there was a big hole in the floor and maybe they were afraid of people falling and getting hurt. Maybe they were looking out for people and not just trying to keep them away.

Submitted by jk (not verified) on
@ Michael yes that is correct .... the 2 bigger buildings are on the National Registry of historical places so they cant be torn down & there are certain conditions that need to be followed re: restoration in keeping as close to possible to orginal ... theres an artical some place states was bought for 11 or 12 million but will cost 55million to restore & the plans are to be a 55+ community..... RE: not being able to get to upper floors they said that all access stairwells are chained & locked & that someone had pryed open 1 door that didnt have chain locks but was hinged shut & got access to stairwell but every level door wouldnt even budge....& that gaining access from outside was very difficult.....1 location though prob woulda been a deffinate access to other floors but w the last person prob wouldntve been able to get in so it wasnt attempted dont wanna say on here im pretty confident this is monitored....but i can say that within last couple weeks things have been done making access more difficult....

Submitted by jk (not verified) on
@ michael this artical says 8million sale price but the one i had read was 11 or 12 sorry

@jk I only hope that this sale proves it's worth and that the new owner doesn't take forever to complete this project. Granted, it will take years most likely but I'd hate to see such a spot like this essentially ruined due to neglect and time. I know it is now but it would be nice to see it saved before more vandals and time decays it.

Submitted by CB21 (not verified) on
Hey I went to see if there is any way in..But i did not find how to get in.....Dose any one know to get in the place....and what time is that pain in the ass guard is there i heard from a friend of mine that he got two people this week..I know when i went there in the summer he caught a few people along with my friend..they all got fined!!! If you know any info please help me out!!

CB21~It is people like you who are ruining places like these for true researchers out there. Be respectful of the no trespassing rules and don't risk getting a ticket over it. Try to get permission and have some honor in knowing you are doing the right thing.

Submitted by MC (not verified) on
Michael where has asking for permission got you? I'm sure you won't get permission to go into seaside. I didn't ask for permission and I got why I wanted along with many others who didn't ask for permission-to go in there. People have been going into this place for the last 14 years and it wasn't until a couple months ago that it's been a problem and that's only because the property has been sold and they increased security at the end of summer. Can you hop the left gate and walk around the deck to the window where that nice wood room is? I know the window there used to be wide open. I can't believe that they went thru the trouble of locking up all the doors inside.

@MC...Asking for permission has gotten me respect and honor. Granted, I may not have always gotten what I wanted or requested but that's something you have to know going into this field. In no way, should a person ever say they are an investigator in this field, if thet are essentially breaking into places. How disrespectful and rude. You can't believe why they would go through the trouble of locking the doors? Because they don't want you in there, that's why. Simply put. Why can't people respect that and move on? Sure, I may not get permission to go into places but that may be due to safety issues and such. I have permission for over 22 places as of now and that's due to hard work, honesty, and respect. Not due to breaking in and being something relative to a criminal.

Submitted by MC (not verified) on
It's not breaking in when the door is wide open like it was for years. And I never said I was an investigator, I'm just a person that likes to have fun and take pictures. The only thing your going to see if you ever get in there is great ocean views, a lot of medication left behind, and how bad the state of ct was at record keeping due to the hundreds of patients files left on the top floor.

Submitted by MC (not verified) on
Oh and the no trespassing signs are new. So there was not one sign up until a few months ago that said you couldn't go in the buildings.

@MC~Absolutely ridiculous here. You are telling me that if a door is open and you go in, that's not breaking in? You don't own that place!! What gives you the right to waltz in just because the door is open? And as for not being an investigator or having interest, then why post here? This site is not to preach to others where these places are for hoodlums like yourself to ruin it for everyone else. You are what's wrong with the people of today who go out and break in, excuse me, walk in open doors to places that aren't theirs and get into trouble and due to that, get the place closed to others and a generalization placed against us TRUE people who have a GENUINE interest in something other than cheap thrills. And as for the signs being new, there is a thing called people like yourself ripping them down so that statement holds no weight at all.

Submitted by MC (not verified) on
Ok so everyone that has posted on here, you know the hoodlums, who have gone in have done the exact same thing as me, so looks like I'm not the only one and I bet most of them went through the same open door as I did. And I never ripped down any signs because there were never any and I wouldn't any. I've been going to that beach for years and never once did I ever see any signs until recently. I have a geuine interest in the place because the architecture is amazing and it's interesting to see what was left behind (and no I didn't take anything because I bet that's the next thing your thinking since I "break" into unlocked empty buildings with no no trespassing signs)

Submitted by jk (not verified) on
Good luck i can tell you that the neighbors call the security gaurd personally friends of mine were there & got caught & they have really tightened up access points even if you get in dont think ull get beyond the 1st floor

Submitted by bj (not verified) on
Don't get caught!!!! My friend and me were there about 4 wks ago and saw the security guard catch 2 girls. So he don't care who u r and you can't bribe the prick, my friend tried that last year. I was there the other day and he was walking around the hospital. Watch OUT, I used to go in there all the time and he has made it so hard 2 get in now and jk is right, once u get in u cant get anywere and u don't know if he has locked up other doors. also i think he might live there or really close by and watch out because he hides the white car and sits on the beach and watches and then he gets u as u r comming out of the building. It's a $92.00 fine if u get caught.

Submitted by Sarah (not verified) on
Im gunna try to go Friday during the day... Have never been but have heard a lot about the place.. Any insite on best parking and what not would be awesome..

Submitted by Sparky (not verified) on
Both as an explorer and a security guard, this place is wonderful but definately watch out. There is no set time as to when security comes. It's random and sometimes they sit off to the side and just watch what's going on. The neighbors will call the cops if they see kids screwing around. And the state trooper lives right across the street so you always have to watch out for him. Plus just watch out for people in general. You never know, Suzy with the dog on the beach could be the troopers wife or something. Just be aware. And you can't blame the guards. They're just doing their job. You could always get your guard card and go work for a company that has a contract at some of these places! Also, when you go inside be careful. There are doors in there that will open one way and then lock you out from leaving the way you came in. Hope to make another trip there soon myself. Just watch out and be careful (These guards aren't doing it just to be dicks. It's for your own safety) If you should get caught don't give them a hard time. And don't go in there and trash the place. Leave it the same as when you went in. So have fun and stay safe! <3

Submitted by urbin ghost (not verified) on
I went to Seaside and I saw security and some other guy boarding up the window on the third floor. I have not been to Seaside for a while, however it seems like someone (SECURITY) has made it really hard to get in. I see that a new door has been put on the second level (left side) and the manholes have been filled with kitchen appliances. It looks almost like Fort Knox.