To a newcomer of the Valley, it may look like a nondescript patch of land — but for native Valleyites, this off-the-beaten-path cemetery is the resting grounds for patients held at the Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Situated near Beacon High School, this grave site holds the remains of nearly 1,000 patients who died at the hospital. If you’re brave enough to head to the eerie burial ground, you will notice the patients’ ID numbers chiseled on the headstones; more recent burials feature nameplates. It’s even said that the infamous late 19th-century serial killer Lizzie Halliday is buried here (for more on Lizzie Halliday, click here).
Accepting its first patients in 1892, the hospital confined and treated individuals committed to it by criminal courts, as well as inmates who were declared insane while serving their sentences at state institutions. Throughout its existence, patients were subject to various “treatments” and procedures, including electric- and insulin-shock treatments, and even lobotomies. Yikes! The now-defunct institution closed in 1977, but its legacy lives on with the help of the Fishkill Correctional facility, which still utilizes parts of the old hospital’s buildings.
Two thumbs up to Donna Tighe of Fishkill for being the first to correctly identify this cemetery. For our next contest, click here to identify the location of a bloody Revolutionary War battle.
Growing up, our house overlooked the Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Escapees have been known to pass through our yard.
My uncle used to work at the prison in the ’60s and used to tell us stories about some of the buildings being haunted.
I grew up reading about the “Mad Bomber,” aka George Metesky, in the newspapers. When I found out he was sent to Mattewan, I became fascinated by the place.
I walk my dog in and around this area regularly. I never thought it was creepy — just interesting and peaceful.
Just wanted to tell y’all how much I loved David Levine’s article (“Different Strokes,” September) on Jervis McEntee. As a former Rondout resident, I was fascinated to learn about one of my former neighbors. Looking forward to seeing the exhibits in person. Thanks for your great work!