Henryton State Hospital

Henryton State Hospital is a now-closed hospital complex in Marriottsville, Maryland. The complex is located within Patapsco Valley State Park and along its southern end runs CSX's Old Main Line Subdivision and is very close to the Henryton Tunnel. The Henryton State Hospital center, or the Henryton Tuberculosis Sanatorium as it was called, was erected in 1922 by the Maryland Board of Mental Hygiene. It was established as a facility to treat African Americans suffering from tuberculosis. This was one of the first such facilities in Maryland erected to provide African Americans with the same level of treatment as whites.

The original complex opened in 1922 and consisted of 6 main buildings and one utility plant. These buildings were erected between the years of 1921 and 1923. The establishment of the Henryton Sanatorium was one of the final steps in Maryland’s program to treat all of the state's tubercular patients. In the late twenties and early thirties the tuberculosis rate among African Americans in Maryland was quadruple what the rate was among whites. This placed a heavy burden on the hospital to deal with the increasing number of patients. In 1938 the hospital was budgeted $270,000 for the construction of new buildings to house 200 more patients. The new buildings roughly doubled the size of the overall facility and several more municipal buildings added even more space to the complex. However by the time the new buildings were completed in 1946, the tuberculosis rates had dropped, leaving much more room than was necessary.

In 1963 the Maryland Board of Mental Hygiene and the Department of Health merged to become the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH). Henryton Sanatorium became the Henryton State Hospital Center. The hospital ended operations as a tuberculosis treatment facility and was converted to serve as a facility for the training and habilitation of “severely and profoundly retarded ambulatory residents ages eighteen and over”.

When the hospital reopened in 1963 there were 200 residents living at Henryton, out of the allowable 330. Once the renovation and conversion of the facility was fully completed in the early 1950s, the maximum occupancy was 400 patients. The habilitation program was a great success and returned many of its patients to their respective communities and some to the workforce. Admission to the hospital was covered by the Mental Retardation Administration, a division of Maryland Special Services, for new patients and through the Rosewood State Hospital for patients already receiving care elsewhere. Henryton also ran a respite care program with admission by special request.

The American mindset in the late seventies and early eighties shifted from institutionalization to more outpatient and home care which led to decreasing resident numbers at Henryton. The Maryland DHMH decided to end the training program in 1984 because of the low numbers of enrollment and residents. In 1985, Henryton had fewer than 100 resident patients and operations at the center were being phased out. By the fall of 1985, the facility was emptied, locked, boarded up, and closed for good. Henryton State Hospital was not present on the Maryland DHMH budget for fiscal year 1986.

In the decades since the facility’s closure, the Henryton State Hospital complex has become a haven for vandals, drifters, and drug addicts. The façade of most of the buildings have been extensively damaged and are covered in graffiti. Most of the windows have been broken out, making the grounds around the hospital very dangerous. The doors to all of the buildings have been broken in, allowing access to the inside. Although the furnishings and equipment were removed before the facility closed, there is still remarkable damage from people going through. Henryton has been the site of many suspicious fires since its closure, the most well-known of them taking place in the early morning of December 19, 2007. In this incident, the auditorium and cafeteria sections of the complex were engulfed with flames. The blaze took 80 firefighters from 3 counties to extinguish. The following February of 2008 the sections of the hospital that burned in the 2007 fire were demolished, this included the kitchen, cafeteria, and auditorium. The rest of the building was left untouched and as of 2009 still sits abandoned.


Since its closing, many attempts to purchase the land have been made, but most potential buyers, after having been approved to buy, have had their proposal for usage vetoed by local government and the like. The land on which the old Henryton Center rests goes on the market occasionally (every 5–6 years or so) and then is removed from the market. The state of Maryland spends a large amount of money to maintain the property minimally and occasionally patrol, and it is an expense that the state seems eager to be rid of.

Henryton in 1926
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