Metropolitan State Hospital

The Metropolitan State Hospital was an American public hospital for the mentally ill, located in the city of Waltham, Massachusetts. At one time the hospital was the largest and most modern facility of its type in Massachusetts. The Gaebler Children's Center for mentally ill youths was located on the grounds of the hospital.

It was closed in January 1992 as a result of the state's cost-cutting policy of closing its mental hospitals and moving patients into private care (see privatization). As of 2009, the main complex of buildings has been demolished and a large apartment complex has been built.

The Hospital's infamous cemetery still rests on the grounds, maintained by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Gravestones are marked by number and religion, with but a few markings bearing names.

Patient murder scandal

In 1978, Metropolitan State patient Anne Marie Davee was murdered by another patient, Melvin W. Wilson. Wilson dismembered Davee's body and kept seven of her teeth which were discovered in his possession by employees of the hospital. Despite this discovery and its obvious implications, no action was taken against Wilson until Massachusetts State Senator Sen. Jack Backman (D-Brookline) led a Senate investigation into the case along with 19 other reports of negligence by state mental health workers. On August 12, 1980 Wilson led investigators to at least three burial sites where he put pieces of Davee's body. Much of the material evidence in the case had been destroyed or gone missing. This evidence included a "hut" in the woods where Davee and Wilson met, clothes and even sheets which hospital employees discovered the day after her disappearance. Nearly two months after her murder, another search by hospital staff yielded pieces of Davee's clothing and belongings along with a hatchet, the supposed murder weapon.

Redevelopment and open space

Since the hospital's closing, the area to the west of where the buildings once stood has been developed into apartment housing. The extensive wooded grounds are open to the public and protected in perpetuity from further development. The trails include part of the Western Greenway link open space in the region, connecting to the Rock Meadow conservation area in Belmont to the east, and, according to future plans, in 2009, to the Middlesex County Hospital area to the west.

The Administration Building, pictured above, is the only remaining building of the campus to remain standing as of June 2011.