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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Comments

Submitted by Ty Mitty (not verified) on
To you kids tossing around the idea of a rave inside there, are you crazy?? That building is really really old and getting to be in quite bad shape. The second you start playing loud music, especially the bass, it will start to crumble. You would just be doing the condo guy a favor by causing the building to collapse without using heavy machines or controlled explosives. Besides, being right by the salt water causes buildings, cars, etc to rust and deteriorate much quicker than your normal abandoned structure. It's ok to be curious, but you have to be respectful at the same time.

Submitted by sal (not verified) on
my girlfriend is into this urban exploring, i can not because of military stats, but she and i are going to a public ground, i am hoping to fuck her on in one of these old places, such a turn on and i know she will love it. be very cafe out there U.E's let me know if you know any public ones that i can go to please. thank you for your time to read my post.

Submitted by MNick (not verified) on
Hi, I am going on a 2 week long trip all around Connecticut to visit abandoned and mysterious locations. I am doing this for research on historical events and locations. I will be taking photos along with other research devices. If anyone could help me obtain permission or point me in the right direction to this place I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you. You can contact me at m.nick1982@hotmail.com

Submitted by Christine (not verified) on
I visited Seaside today, it is a beautiful building and surrounding area and well worth a visit! As far as "creepiness" goes it was low on my scale. We were able to get inside fairly easily and didn't feel any uneasiness or have any strong sensations. It just looks like an old deteriorated building on the inside. The outside although slowly decaying is still beautiful! And a visit to the beach is always a plus.

Submitted by Aly (not verified) on
I doubt you'll be able to get permission to go in, but it's not hard if you know where to look. And to the guy who felt it appropriate to tell the world that he'd like to have sex with his girlfriend in seaside- id rethink that. It's disgusting inside. Really cool, but gross. My boyfriend and I frequent seaside, but taking off my clothes in there is not appealing in any way.

Submitted by sal g (not verified) on
whats wrong with making love in the place? i personally think its great....

Submitted by Christine (not verified) on
@sal it's a little unsanitary

Submitted by Aly (not verified) on
It would probably be super fun but absolutely unsanitary. I don't even really like breathing the air in there, much less exposing my naked body to that place. No thanks. The beach outside is another story.

Submitted by Denise (not verified) on
I was just there last night with some friends, not much to see, just an old abandoned building. Beautiful ocean view though. It's not haunted so if ur looking for a paranormal experience, u will b greatly disappointed. Try undercliff, u'll have more luck. I'm sure people think they hear things there because of the nature of the building. Just a lot of vandalism and garbage. The beach is worth more of the trip than the building.

Submitted by sal (not verified) on
Christine,,,,,,,,,,,,, i love you baby, but you know what? when you are a freak and ready to roll you bring sheets and fuck like animals.......... care to join? lol lol just kidding, or am i?

Submitted by Christine (not verified) on
Oh sal, such a sweetheart. I'll meet you there (;

Submitted by sal (not verified) on
u wihs my love, hey here is my cell 646 841 5896, lets explore together

Submitted by rebecca (not verified) on
has anyone been in there lately ...i want to take my cutie here ....he looked up this site today and told me bout it ....im interested if anyone can tell me anything recent

Submitted by Christine (not verified) on
@rebecca I was there about a month ago, what would you like to know?

Submitted by Darran Mc Carrick (not verified) on
I have just come back from there.. Its proper creepy and eerie. not a sound just the wind. I felt on edge. I walked around and definitly felt a presence. Its a must see!!1

Submitted by bazooka joey (not verified) on
i drove down the street its located on, a gate was closing the rd and state proprty signs all over.....what gives?!

Submitted by Christine (not verified) on
@bazookajoey there's a small parking lot in front of the gate, it's open to the public to walk in. A lot of people walk their dogs and ride their bikes there.

Submitted by SAL (not verified) on
So this i open to the public?

Submitted by Christine (not verified) on
@sal it's open to the public walk around the grounds it is not open to go inside the buildings that's a risk you have to take!

Submitted by Hunter (not verified) on
Darran I'm up for checking it out next week, let me know when is good for you

Submitted by Sal Governale (not verified) on
what is your pvt email J i will send you my number to talk about this.,

Submitted by Aly (not verified) on
My guy and I are going Sunday if anyone wants to join

Submitted by Sal Governale (not verified) on
@Aly to the public one? if so call me to talk about meeting and whats what.

Submitted by Sal Governale (not verified) on
Alym where is it again?

Submitted by Aly (not verified) on
Sal- email me for details. alysse.barstow@yahoo.com

Submitted by J (not verified) on
Im free if u wana go inside and explore

Submitted by Sal Governale (not verified) on
call me when you can and we can talk. 646-841-5896

Submitted by Sal Governale (not verified) on
@ Christine, Maybe we can go togeather and have pic ah nic! picnic....and light some candles, and dance till the sun goes down..........or up or what ever. and J, i like your writing my friend.

Submitted by Darran Mc Carrick (not verified) on
anyone free next week for a midnight walk around the sanotarium...?????

Submitted by J (not verified) on
Ive been to seaside quite a few times but the best time to go is at 2 am thts when shit happens me and my friend have live footage of us walkin up to the main doors and the door started shaking so we ran to the window thinkin someone was ther and ther was nothing at all also in the winter it gets very hot inside!

Submitted by gms (not verified) on
Totally easy to get into.

Submitted by Brandy (not verified) on
I actually have been inside the building with the playground next to it has a window on the backside that was at the time easy to open and in the basement there's this creepy fenced in area with chains inside not sure what it was used for but I definitely would not want to be trapped in there and we went to the second floor and there was this one room with a rocking chair and bed in it and nothing else but when I turned to leave there was a scratching noise and when I turned around I saw a dead seagull stuck inside the window panes was totally creepy it was all rotting and no idea how it got in there but I almost puked when I saw that and we left after that

Submitted by Christine (not verified) on
@brandy did you go recently? That sounds really creepy and worth going back to check out. Did you use a flashlight in the basement?

Submitted by JWO (not verified) on
we used to sneak in here all the time back in 2002-2003. The creepiest part is the basement, I am not sure why but there was chairs with straps down in the basement in rooms with like cellar locked doors. We used to go in there and wander around at night and you did feel like someone was watching you the whole time.

Submitted by andrew (not verified) on
I was their with friends last weekend... we took many photos...the smaller buildings down the road from it are real interesting... i would love to see photos of it in its hey day..... this sight cleared up alot of what was told to us... its wild to see life { vines and ivy } take over something that has all but died... a shell that once was life and even death inside... i am wondering about the stop light...what was that for?? and the weather vane is amazing... and to see paint peel like that also is crazy wild.....

Andrew, I was actually a resident of Sea Side at one time back in the 40's when it first opened, if your interested in viewing some of the photos from back then leave a comment with your email and I'll gladly forward you some.

Submitted by Christine (not verified) on
Angie, I would be very interested in those pictures. Could you email me at Christine.leo@purchase.edu? Thank you!

Submitted by Darran Mc Carrick (not verified) on
would love to see some of the photos from back in the day

Submitted by Dave Zamoider (not verified) on
Going tomorrow to check out the post hurricane condition. Harkness next door is a war zone on the beach.

Submitted by Brandon (not verified) on
@Dave Zamoider: Any word on the buildings' post-Hurricane Sandy condition?

Submitted by Blah blah (not verified) on
Know why it is so hard to get in seaside it is because the guard is reding this

Submitted by chicken fajita (not verified) on
There was a book written about the deplorable conditions of mental institutions. It was first published in 1966. It showcases Seaside quite a bit with tons of pictures of the days its was in operation. It shows patients and the horrible conditions they lived in. The book is called "Christmas in Purgatory". If you look it up on the web you should be able to download the pdf.

Submitted by Nancy Morgan (not verified) on
I was at Seaside for 11 months in the mid 1950's for TB. It was strictly a TB Sanatorium then. And it was really a nice place. There were no deplorable conditions at all! So, it must have been when they turned it into a home for the mentally disabled that it went downhill as some of those places do. I'm going to look up the publication you mentioned chicken. That is so sad......

Submitted by Nancy Morgan (not verified) on
Here is the link for the PDF version of Christmas in Purgatory. It's fascinating: http://pds15.egloos.com/pds/200907/07/96/Xmas-Purgatory.pdf

Submitted by Marcel (not verified) on
Angie....I would also be interested in seeing the photos you have from this beautiful place! Would be so grateful if you would send me some PLEASE! Thank you SO much! marcel.aube@aol.com

How did you get the photos of the run if you're not allowed to go inside? How did you get in?

Submitted by Urbex (not verified) on
Looking to go there and get in a building. Any advice, tips, maps would be very helpful. Anyone care to help? Please and thanks!

Submitted by Aly (not verified) on
Which building are you looking to get into?

Submitted by Christine (not verified) on
@Urbex I went in August so the conditions might not be exactly the same, but I can help you if you'd like.

Submitted by Marcel (not verified) on
I would be interested Christine with any info you have. Please email me....marcel.aube@aol.com Thank you very much!

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