Hiding in Plain Sight – The Wonders of Seaside Sanatorium

Posted: November 8, 2014 by Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cabin, Abandoned Connecticut, abandoned home, Abandoned Hospital, abandoned new england, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Beaches, Bird Watching, Birds, Broken, Cabin, Children, Children's Hospital, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, fire, for sale, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, House, Information, left behind, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, Ocean, Ocean View, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, seaside, Seaside Sanatorium, State Parks, Stories, time, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, Waterford, writing
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Hiding in Plain Sight

The Wonders of Seaside Sanatorium

By: Sean and Amanda

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Overlooking the waters of Long Island Sound stands the hauntingly beautiful Seaside Sanatorium. One of Connecticut’s many abandoned former mental health facilities, Seaside holds a dark past. With the waves of the ocean crashing against the shores a few yards from the facility, Seaside is as captivating as it is depressing. As one of the only major abandoned locations that is legal to visit, we have checked out Seaside Sanatorium on multiple occasions. During the winter, it is an empty and sad shadow of its former self. But during the summer, the grounds become an active place for swimming and recreation. Located in the town of Waterford, CT, Seaside sits seaside to the Atlantic Ocean. It is located along Shore Road in Waterford. While it faces the ocean, the grounds are nestled within a rather active neighborhood.

While the state of Connecticut is home to many abandoned medical facilities, Seaside Sanatorium is one of the more picturesque locations. The building itself was designed by the famous architect Cass Gilbert, the same man responsible for the famous US Supreme Court building in Washington DC and New Haven’s Union Station. The facility was opened during the early 1930’s, seeing a long and colorful history that lasted until 1996. Over the years it has served as a children’s hospital, a treatment center for the elderly, and a facility for the mentally handicapped. Sadly, the facility was home to several incidents of violent treatment of patients in the early 1990’s which would ultimately cause the demise of Seaside. It now sits abandoned, though it can be legally walked as a recreation area.

Our trip to Seaside was very easy to plan. There is a ton of information online about the facility including its history, location, where to walk, and where to park. It is in the middle of a residential neighborhood on Shore Road. Located right next to the abandoned grounds is an active state facility, so do not get mixed up. When you first arrive at the location, it will look like you do not belong. But trust us; it’s okay to be there. Online we found the official address to be Seaside Drive, Waterford, CT. Our GPS took us down Shore Road, located in close proximity to Harkness State Park. The facility is on the left, along the shore of Long Island Sound. Seaside Drive is NOT where you park. There is a steel gate blocking traffic into the facility. That is not where you belong. To the right of the gate is the active state facility. To the left of the gate is a parking lot, where it is legal to park. It is then a very quick walk onto the grounds.

There are several smaller buildings that are empty towards the parking lot. There is also what appears to be a security office and a Port-O-John. The first large building that we came across is the Nurse’s Quarters. Though it is slightly smaller than the actual hospital, it is just as picturesque. This building is effectively impossible to get into without vandalizing it. The windows are all boarded up from the inside. There are locks on the entrances. And the steps on all of the fire escapes have been removed. We would not advise you to try anything stupid. Besides, a family of very large sea birds called Osprey nest in the upstairs of the nurse’s quarters. You do not want to mess with them. Through not as good looking as some large birds, the Osprey family is just as strangely mesmerizing as Seaside itself.

Moving on past the Nurse’s Quarters, we came upon the hospital itself. Directly overlooking the ocean, it is a good sized building. There are four floors to the hospital. The main entrance is sealed up very well with boards, locks, and nails. Most of its windows are broken, and the inside walls are coated with graffiti. Large flocks of much smaller birds nest in different areas of the building. Facing the ocean lays the facility’s abandoned recreational area. A derelict chess board still stands with its two seats still intact. A broken down merry-go-round lies in ruin. What remains of the playground is overgrown with vines and vegetation. A child’s slide is still there, its yellow paint job slowly chipping away. Atop the building is a rusting weathervane, shaped like an old school whaling ship. Behind the building is what remains of Seaside’s parking lot.

The facility is very easy to get inside. There are many places that would be an easy jump or climb to get inside the facility. We do NOT recommend or condone this though. The facility is very unstable on the inside. And though the grounds of Seaside are legal to walk, it is ILLEGAL to go inside the facility itself. On most days, during the summer especially, there is a security guard on duty who is authorized to detain any trespassers. On one of our visits, one of these security guards saw us taking pictures of the buildings and came over to tell us all about the facility. He explained to us the history of the buildings and what plans the town of Waterford hopes to have for the grounds for the near future. He also gave us fair warning not to go inside the facility. He was very respectful and informative. We ask that you respect the guards and their job to keep people out of the facility.

Even though you cannot legally go inside Seaside Sanatorium, it is still well worth a visit. The grounds are very popular for dog walkers and beachgoers during the summer. But no matter what season you go, the buildings are just hauntingly breathtaking. They are something that you will never forget. There have been many rumors throughout the years of the grounds being demolished for either a condominium complex or a strip mall. But none of these rumors have come true yet. Until they do, Seaside Sanatorium continues to sit hiding from the world that left it behind in plain sight. Waiting.

  1. […] In the 1950’s, all adolescent patients were transferred to Seaside Sanatorium. (see our write-up here) In the 1960’s, Undercliff evolved once again into a state mental health facility. The main […]


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