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.

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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 steve (not verified) on
You know the security is just doing what they are paid to do. I understand wanting to get in, but dont blame the security guy for doing a good job.

Submitted by marmarmasuar (not verified) on
It is difficult to find a way in and once you get inside, you can't move from floor to floor. It is impossible to access the stairs or the elevator shaft - they are both very well sealed off. Some of the doors inside are locked as well. I was able to hop the gate and get in through a missing window pane on the second floor (the windows are old and have single paned glass which can be easily popped out without breaking - a decent entry point if you are small enough to fit through the wood frame). I've been in twice through that point of access but you have to be fairly strong and agile to be able to lift yourself through and get back out in the same way. There isn't much to see there though, at least on the second floor the place has been pretty much emptied out. There are cabinets here and there and a lot of bathrooms but other than that it is essentially empty rooms up there. Neither time I went was there a problem with security. You'll find a lot of people there walking dogs depending on the time of day you go. There was a light blue car parked outside that I am assuming was security (because how else would they get through the gate) but all it did was move from place to place in front of the building.

Submitted by marmarmasuar (not verified) on
@MC Are the patient files still on the top floor? Because there is nothing interesting to photograph on the second floor...

Submitted by MC (not verified) on
The files were when I went in at the end of summer but I haven't been in since so I don't know if they took them out when they went thru locking all the doors.

Submitted by TA (not verified) on
I was at Seaside in December. Climbed in through an open window near the shore - had to climb up a plank. I've never seen security there the three or four times I've been there. But yeah, the elevator and stairs are well sealed. I don't think it's that amazing to explore, but just photographing the exterior is really cool.

Submitted by tj (not verified) on
i was there the other day and they put old appliances like refrigerators or something in the holes that used to be ways to get into the basement. this security guy isn't messing around. every time my friends and i would go to another beach area, he would move his car so he could see us better. i guess if your going to try to go in, check the beach area for some guy all by himself because then you would know its the security guy.

Submitted by bj (not verified) on
I went to seaside yesterday and 2day and that security guy was there early this morning and late yesterday. I don't know if it is the same guy but does any1 know when security is not there? I did not see the white car yesterday but I saw one of the pricks there. I think there is security there all the time because of the sale of the place. I heard that seaside will be sold in may sometime. I hope that this security prick does not go with the sale.

Submitted by nicole (not verified) on
I have lots of pictures from going here last summer. We got inside the main building, walked all the way up. found old behavioral records in a room scattered everywhere and many childrens toys. It is an absolutly beautiful piece of land and its a shame the buildings are just rotting away. Going back today

Submitted by Caitlin (not verified) on
I've been wanting to go here for a while now, but the thought of being caught by security scares me enough to not go. I was just wondering what time security is there. Like are there certain days or times of the day? Do you think if I went there early in the morning I would be able to get in?

Submitted by cb21 (not verified) on
Hey just let you all know i found out that the security will not get out of his car.He is scard of his shawdow.I was there when the security was there he saw the flashlight beam he did nothing!! I was in there for awhile it is cool in there.I am going back next week if u want in please let me know i show u the way.

Submitted by Destiny (not verified) on
TO ALL WHO ARE TRYING TO GET IN---- Stay out of Seaside...It is not safe in there! The buildings are in bad shape. The tiles may contain asbestos and the paint is sure to contain lead; the mold that grows in places like that can get you sick in just a short period of time without warning! The security gaurd that works there has done his best to keep those that don't care about thier own safety out...but now it is up to you! The grounds are open to the public to walk...but if people don't stay out I have a feeling the state will take that privlege away! The buildings are locked down for a reason if the state wanted you all to have a tour they would have made it a museum! The security gaurd is just doing is job when he throws you out or calls the cops so give him break! And if you live nearby and see people going in that don't belong doing so give him a hand and call the cops yourself! Who knows you may save someone's life by turning them in! For all you kow the building could collapse at any minute!

Submitted by Sarah (not verified) on
Nicole- Did you happen to get in this past week? Looking to head out that way to shoot this weekend.. but dont wanna make the drive if its gunna be a total bust..

Submitted by nicole (not verified) on
Sarah-No luck getting in this past week, saw the security officer so we just left :(

Submitted by bj (not verified) on
Hello All, I went to Seaside to see if me and my friends could get in, looks like every thing is boarded up and chained. Has any one been able to get in some where? It seems that every time that we go something else has been covered up. It is not easy to get in any more and that security prick is always driving around watching.

Submitted by The True Warlock (not verified) on
Hello Sparky, R u the guard that sits in that little white car? R U the ass that almost caught us the other day? Let me just say, to bad that u and that other pig did not catch us. You and your fellow PIGS will never catch us and we will be back!!!!!!! Me and my friends have never been caught by any of you fu**ers and U never will. We will be seeing U again real soon!!!! No matter how hard U try 2 make it, NOTHING U do will keep us out of the buildings. So try as you might, we will b back. I will say, you have made it extremely hard sence the last time we were there. Your Nightmare TTW

Submitted by Sparky (not verified) on
Not a security Guard.

Submitted by Sparky (not verified) on
Wow. Way to be a douche. No I am not the guard that works at Seaside. I don't even work for that company. Do they still have Murphy? If you bothered to read my whole post you would see that I myself explore many different sites. I was doing nothing but giving you advice. I haven't been in a little while but I used to go there at least twice a week with my boyfriend and the dog. I know a lot about the site. It's spelled "since" by the way. Like I said, I don't work for any of those companys but rest assured if I did I would catch your ass in no time. And just so you know, most sites like that do not let their guards go inside. And even if they did, a lot of the guards are scared to. Guards at NSH were scared to get out of the car half the time. But like I said, way to be a douche. You don't know me. Most guards would let people go but if they caught a cocky son of a bitch like you they would most def call the cops.

I took care of a nurse that was there during the TB era. I hhave lots of pics of inside & children & nurses

Submitted by Peter (not verified) on
I know this property very well, like the back of my hand, as I am a neighbor. I grew up here, and I don't live there anymore. I have nothing but love for the place, but Ihave to say I have had a few nights fishing where a drastic change in temperature made my hair stand on end, and I got the chills. Suddenly I felt I was being watched. I do have to say that I have fished there night after night, year after year, and never had anything bad ever happen to me. Just those chills. I think the spirits that are there are well meaning and do not want to hurt you. Keep in mind they did extensive electro-shock therapy to the down syndrome patients there. Not cool. I am sure they crossed the line there. I too have had my run-ins with the guards! I have fished there all my life, and went out on the jetties, and now I can't. But I have to say they are very reasonable, they just aske you to leave -that's it, no police. The other caveat is that the police go diving there.

Submitted by lucky1 (not verified) on
I too have lived here for many years and fished, gone diving and . I think it is a real shame that Seaside has been sold. I have to say i have not had any problems with security and this new guard that I met a couple of weeks ago seemed to be quite nice. Unlike some of the other guards that have met in the past. I wish that Seaside would be made into something other then Condos.

Submitted by Heidi Diaz (not verified) on
I believe that such places with history, albeit negative or not, deserve to be seen by those that wish to visit. As long as one is respectful and takes the necessary precautions of safety, all should be well. Obviously, this place laid in decay and abandonment for many years, which is how past visitors were able to get access. And, as a person who works for human services, I am appalled that confidential files ha ve been left so visible and in disarray. That is inexcusable and against regulation. I do NOT believe that those in the para-phenomena investigative world, for which you have no accredited degree from a college for, have the exclusive right to visit such a location. If anything, you folks are as inquisitive as others. The only disparity, is that you are part of some research group. Good for you. Continue to conduct your investigations, but do not fault those, who with equal, respectful interest, also want to visit. Comically enough, I know many that find such investigative groups as parasites, for how dare you believe you have the right to disturb a location that you find to be "haunted" in order to get your findings? Where is your respect for the ones that have passed and clearly don't want you around? Does the permission you received override that sense of intrusion? I am fond of photography and have always found landscape and historical location photography of great interest, and such places are not only beautiful, but deserve to be remembered in pictures, especially if their ultimate future is going to be one of a condo. Heh.

Submitted by Really (not verified) on
Why did you tell everyone where it is it's been nice and quiet

Submitted by margot (not verified) on
i've been visiting seaside for the past year every couple of weeks, it sux so bad that it finally got sold. does anyone have any information on the sales status? like when they will actually begin renovations? thanks

Submitted by The Feared One (not verified) on
Hey Matt, come on down or do you still need to breast feed from your mom at night, or is she 6' under, and if that's the case, thank god, the world is a better place. Or maybe it's that you don't have a social life, you live in your dead mom's basement with your 2'' pecker in your hand, thinking you might score some action off some chat site with a girl over in Russia that is just raping you of your money. Maybe it could be that your fat, insecure, lonely, have no life, and haven't found anyone to pull the trigger to that shotgun you own because your arms are to short and just do not have enough energy to jump off the building because when you reach the top floor, you'll die of a heart attack. Sorry, I can't go on, I have to see if my grandchildren can "pull my finger" or maybe it is I have other things to do that would constitute a life, I don't know, just throwing that out there. Oh, by the way, I've been over there several times, didn't see anyone else there. The Feared One

Submitted by Carrie (not verified) on
I think its great that someone bought the property and is willing to invest the money to refurbish it. It's a beautiful site, amazing location, and hopefully whoever develops it will keep it open to the public to enjoy the grounds and beaches. I think its ridiculous that people get mad at the security guards for doing their job. Imagine going to work and someone gets mad at you just because you showed up for your job as you are paid to do.

Submitted by Michelle (not verified) on
I had been wanting to visit Seaside since last year, and I finally stopped to see it in Waterford on my way home from RI today. I'm so glad I went, I took lots of pictures with my iPhone (wish I had the Canon with me.) I'm such a fan of history like this! There was no security guard, only a couple walking two dogs and three kids hanging out by the water. I'd have liked to gone up to some windows to snap some photos but my iPhone probably wouldn't snap good quality pictures with the dark settings, and on top of that the buildings is covered with overgrown plants making it difficult to get that close. I really hope they keep Seaside standing for longer. I'd really love to head back and explore so more. The property is beautiful.

All I got to say is that dusche security that drives in that pansy ass car will never catch me. if you know what building that i'm talking about, the second window is open and easy to get in. i'll be going in at about 9ish this friday because the guard will probably not be there. he's got nothing on me. plus what can he really do, he's got nothing, let him know that i'm getting in and he'll never see me... The Feared One

Submitted by Caitlin (not verified) on
If someone could post directions it would be greatly appreciated :) I tried to find it but couldn't..

Submitted by kris harkins (not verified) on
@ Jean have u already placed the booklet on ebay?

Submitted by Cbass (not verified) on
hey since a rave would not b possible ther do u or anyone knos of a place a rave would b possible where no cops r ganna b bothering us the whole nite ? also where ppl aint ganna b gettin injure !!! pls let me kno if u kno thankx

Submitted by Christine S. (not verified) on
I went to Seaside this past weekend with my brother and my husband. While we were walking the grounds security came up on us because one of the neighbors had called. The security guard warned us that we are not allowed to go inside due to the deterioration of the inside, and that anyone caught inside can be arrested. He also informed us that if he knows that there are people inside that he throws smoke bombs inside to get the people out. Also that most of the doors inside are chained. I have some beautiful pics of the place. I love the architecture of the buildings. The road that it is on is an unmarked road and you can park and walk around the grounds. There are a lot of broken windows that you can get some nice pictures of the inside. The most interesting thing I think was the roof that looks like it had scissors in it.

I had the pleasure of taking care of a nurse Alice that worked there,she was taking care a lady with polio(not active) but had a hard time getting around.She was never mean She told stories and never said negative things,of course children don't want to be there but that was the way they took care of them back then. She left me a booklet of pics from inside & out if anyone is interested in purchasing I will put on e-bay soon Jean

Submitted by bill (not verified) on
i was just there today the way to get there is from i-95 north take exit 72 once you get off the exit you are on a short expressway . follow that to the end and take a left onto rt. 156 go about 4.8 miles down through the town and you will go over a draw bridge this is all in the 4.8 mile stretch . turn right on to gardeners wood rd. (but watch out the street sign is covered by a branch ) not even a mile down the road take a left onto Jordan cove rd. then make a right onto shore rd. there will be a white little house on a corner with a orange fire-hydrogen make a right at this corner it is like a unmarked rd. about a block or so down is wood sea rd. if you see this that tells you , you went to far . i tried to use Google maps to get there and i ended up at harkness park and had to back track . hope this helps and don't get to close to the buildings security is watching at all times and from what i was told they will smoke you out .

Submitted by The Feared One (not verified) on
Who ever wants to go inside, let me know, i got a good way in and also have a good escape if needed. The place is awesome, a little shitty on the inside, but overall, a cool place to be. By the way, that guard had nothing but a flashlight and maybe a pocket knife so he can cut a hole in his pants once he shits himself trying to find me. He has no clue where he's going plus he's got no experience as a guard. The Feared One

Submitted by danielle (not verified) on
Can u get me in

Submitted by Nancy Morgan (not verified) on
Can you post pics, Christine? I was a patient there in 1956 for 11 months. I had TB.

Submitted by Christine S. (not verified) on
I am not sure if I can post them on here but if you e-mail me I can e-mail the pics to you I wish I could have gone inside but the security guard warned about possible prosecution. Feel free to e-mail me at mysticalstarz926@hotmail.com

Submitted by Saracee (not verified) on
Hey FEARED ONE we wanna go.... We tried today hoped the fence the foots closed off.. Leg us know!!

Submitted by bj (not verified) on
Hello cbass, I think a rave party would b cool, but the guard that works there might b there. U never know when the prick is around. He has made it real hard to get in 2 the buildings. A couple of my friends got caught last Thursday. This prick calls the police on every1 that he catches. U also don't know when he is on, the dude hides and the people call him if they hear or see anything. I think he must live down the street, because i have been there at all different times and the asshole has turned up. and this guy that calls himself the feared one, I can tell u that you might b talking about the old guard but I can tell u that this asshole has BIG BALLS. I have seen him catch people and when he calls the cops they r there real fast!!!!!!!!! This PRICK does not F#%K around!!!!!!!

Submitted by John (not verified) on
Hey Feared One, I'm interested too. Send em an email (jsmith06484@yahoo.com)

Submitted by cbass (not verified) on
hey every one, this goes for any one that could help me im tryin to trow a new years rave, i was wonderin if in this place is possible to throw one if not if, u knew a diff place thats would b possible to do it ... thanks n let me kno to my email (( loscolombiano@hotmail.com )) just like i wrote it . n the Fear One i would like to go check the place out some time if u b down to go !

Submitted by The Feared One (not verified) on
Hello All, Sorry it has been a while, but I have been doing some traveling. I have some news to tell everyone. It has come to my attention that the Guard Is getting reassigned to another place and that a new company is taking over. I give props to him and all that have been caught should do as well. He does his job well and has caught me a few times, but not all. I do not blame him for doing his job, for he is just doing what he is told. I received this information through the people around the area. Now it is going to be a bull shit guard from another company. Lets break this new guard in, he has no idea what he has coming for him. Who's With Me? The Feared One

Submitted by zak845 (not verified) on
Hey all just wondering what the status is with this place since my gf and I are planning a trip all the way up from NY is this place still standing and are we able to still walk the grounds?? anyone know if there are any DEFINITE plans on whats going to be done with the place? Thankss:D

Submitted by Christine S. (not verified) on
Zak845 you can walk the grounds but in a comment that I recently posted you can not go inside any of the buildings. I am not sure what they are currently planning on doing with the place.

Submitted by Mooshi (not verified) on
The Feared One: I'M INTERESTED! Blah blah blah you can't go inside my ass. If the building's still standing, you can go inside. :)

Submitted by TunaHelper (not verified) on
Wall of Text Warning. 5 of us just drove there this weekend from 4 states away, not specifically to see it, but we made it a point to check it out. I personally hadn't been there since 2005. I would like to mention that we were there only to take pictures and videos and explore around inside. It is a terrible shame the damage (graffiti, broken windows, etc) that vandals have done. I wish it could just be opened as a museum type building because it is an amazing building and creepy adventure for those interested. To those who are planning to check it out, mornings are better than late nights because you don't specifically need flashlights; and don't go with snow on the ground. Do not go bare foot if you plan on visiting, and i would actually suggest full coverage shoes instead of sandal type footwear. If you get caught be respectful and accept the fines, you are breaking the law by going in there. We were prepared to pay the fines if we got caught, but we made it in and out before 9:30 am and never saw a guard. There are several routes in and everything is accessible, you just have to have a knack of ingenuity. We explored end to end, all 4 floors and got thousands of pictures. We were flashlight-less and there were some rooms that not even 5 grown adults would go in . . . . the basement/cellar in particular was incredibly creepy. With "Be Scared" and "HELL" sprayed outside the pitch black entrance. We shot pictures into the room thinking it would give us some guts, but it only scared us more. The whole inside room of the basement is fenced in like an underground bunker. And there is a soccer ball laying inside the fenced area that gives me chills right now just typing it. There are many highlights inside. I am terrible with keeping track of my position, so don't expect and explanation on where these objects are. The whole building just has an aura of creepiness, paint peeling off the walls and dilapidated areas were abound. The Hydro-Therapy pool room was a very interesting find, it was just a large room with a big tiled pool built into it. I am not familiar with Hydro-Therapy, so maybe someone can chime in with that info. Unfortunately I could not locate any of the previously mentioned patient reports. This saddened me quite a bit, since that was a highlight when i visited in 2005. They were scattered everywhere then, but I imagine they have since been taken by vandals that don't like leaving things as is. Just seeing a hand written nurses report of a patient who has been biting other patients, or someone throwing up when taking certain medications . . . . it really adds to the immersion of the whole experience. An experience that,unfortunately, has diminished without the reports. The dental equipment on the ground floor was still intact and standing very creepily in abandoned rooms (and i believe these can be seen from the outside). There was one room in one of the upper floors that had a set of huge paintings drawn in a very unique art style. Children playing and acting in different situations, but they were drawn in a very awkward cartoon style that made it incredibly eery. There was also scattered boxes in this room and what looked like remnants of a slot car track and a play-doh set. There was also a very run down area with a larger percentage of falling ceiling tiles and mold, I believe it was the northern halls on the first or second floor. That place as kind of neat to explore, probably one of the additions that wasn't constructed to the same standards as the original building. The huge open rooms such as the top floor breezeway and the cafeteria really put into focus the number of patients that were here at one time. Not too many more highlights I can think of, there was a restraining chair on the 4th floor and some old age childrens toys scattered about as well that add to the atmosphere. If you visit please don't trash the place, you can make it everywhere in the building without too much pain (the stairways are good access points). Just enjoy it and be respectful, but be quick they are holding meetings on when they are moving forward with the housing.

Submitted by AsylumGhost (not verified) on
LOL. All these people who come on here acting so tough behind a keyboard at one of the more boring abandoned sites in CT. Congratulations, just make sure your up in time for the schoolbus in the morning.

Submitted by bj (not verified) on
hey all, went to seaside last night wit some friends to u know, PARTY and stuff and that F**KING PRICK was there. me and my friends r planing a huge rave next week at seaside. ALL R WELCOME!!!!!!! there is going 2 b about 30 of us at the moment. every 1 knows the night, b 4 we go back to, u know. so bring u know and PARTY, if the prick is on he won't know what 2 do wit all of us there. watch him run and hide:) hey cbass come wit us bj

Submitted by noah (not verified) on
"hey all, went to seaside last night wit some friends to u know, PARTY and stuff and that F**KING PRICK was there. me and my friends r planing a huge rave next week at seaside. ALL R WELCOME!!!!!!! there is going 2 b about 30 of us at the moment. every 1 knows the night, b 4 we go back to, u know. so bring u know and PARTY, if the prick is on he won’t know what 2 do wit all of us there. watch him run and hide:)" I think I'm going to cry.

Submitted by asylumghost (not verified) on
I can see this getting shut down real quick just by the neighborhood behind the place

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