The Grand Opening 

October 29, 1930

October 29, 1930, Frank G. Allen, issued a proclamation opening the Metropolitan State Hospital in Waltham. More than 300 persons were present to attend the exercises in the large auditorium of the main building. After calling the gathering to order, and presenting the Rev. Alfred J. MacDonald who delivered the invocation, the Commissioner, Dr. George M. Kline, spoke as follows: 

 

               Governor Allen, former Governor Fuller, Lieutenant Governor Youngman, members of the Council, members of the Legislature, ladies and gentlemen: It is a pleasure, as well as an honor, to express to you on behalf of the Commissioners of the Department our cordial welcome and our appreciation of your presence here at the official opening of the Metropolitan State Hospital.

 

The official opening of any State building marks a stage of progress in the cooperative effort of Governors, Legislators, the people, and departmental executives. It is, therefore, not only proper that there are here today representatives of each of these groups, but it is also most encouraging as an earnest indication that an interest in worthwhile accomplishments is not abating in this Commonwealth.

 

A need for a hospital to serve the Metropolitan District with its forty cities and towns has long been realized. Its opening is the fulfillment of a long cherished hope. 

It was in 1927 that the building program was begun. His Excellency, Governor Fuller, laid the corner stone in October, 1928. Today, fourteen buildings are completed, two are under construction, and plans for a hospital treatment building are nearing completion.

 

The purpose of this hospital is to provide humane care and treatment for the mentally ill and to be a center for service to the community.

 

Through its out­patient department incipient cases will receive attention. Advice will be given on prevention of mental disease, on mental hygiene, and after care of those dis­charged. The work of the hospital, laboratory, and the knowledge gathered will be put into practical application to aid in prevention. It is hoped that through these studies and findings greater progress can be made in the field of prevention.

Dr.George M. Kline 

The plan of the Commissioners has been to provide a most modern and efficient hospital, with due regard to wise economy in arrangement and construction. It is our belief today that nowhere in the country is there a hospital for mental disease superior in any respect to the Metropolitan State Hospital. No claim of this nature should be made without giving a measure of praise to the architect, Mr. Gordon Robb, to the Department engineer, Mr. Walter E. Boyd, and also to the builders, C. S. Cunningham & Sons, and Matthew Cummings Company, who have worked into stone the plans and hopes of the department. Specifically it has been our idea to arrange the buildings according to the needs of the various hospital activities, at the same time keeping in mind the operation of the hospital as a whole; for instance, the Administration group consists of the Administration Building and Employees' Homes. This group is connected by a tunnel to the Assembly Buildings. Large mental hospitals have followed one of two plans,  the Kirkbride hospital,  and the cottage type. There are certain advantages inherent in each type. In this hospital an effort has been made to incorporate the best of each type. Accordingly, there are individual buildings with connecting corridors of ample size to serve as day spaces for patients, affording the maximum of light and ventilation.

These connecting corridors are so arranged that patients can be routed in a continuous stream to the dining room and returned to the wards without any crossing of traffic. Likewise ambulatory patients can be brought to the dining room by means of service tunnels, and returned without conflict. Similar arrange­ments obtain in bringing patients to the Assembly Hall and returning them to the wards.

 

Of interest in this service building: Everything relating to food, - its storage, conservation, refrigeration, preparation, kitchen and dining rooms for patients and personnel for the entire hospital is housed in this central building. There have been departures from traditional hospital construction in the interest of the patients· welfare first, and secondly ease of administration  such as a new type of window which avoids the use of barred windows, and the use of sound deadening treatment of ceilings, etc.

 

Telephone and call bell systems connect all parts of the institution. Electrically operated clocks with automatic re-setting controls are installed so that every clock throughout the institution will register the same time as the clock in the Superintendent s office. A central radio system permits transmission of radio programs throughout the institution, and a microphone permits broadcasting of talks from some central point.

 

These are some of the physical features of our new hospital. As we consider the extent of our endeavor to provide today scientific care for the mentally ill, it is a contrast to look back almost a hundred years to a proclamation issued in 1833 by Levi Lincoln, then Governor of the Commonwealth, opening the Worcester State Hospital. In addition to announcing the opening of the hospital and providing for the removal of lunatics from the jails and houses of correction, the proclamation further states that, prior to their removal, the person of each and every lunatic shall be made clean, his or her hair cut short, and that he or she be clothed with fresh linen or cotton (having a change thereof) and a new suit of strong, woolen cloth of a mixed dark gray color, with woolen stockings or socks, and one pair of new shoes, together with an outside garment of some plain and substantial woolen cloth, and a hat, cap or other covering for the head, suited to the sex of the person.

 

Time, perhaps wisely, does not permit a review of the progress in the treatment of the mentally ill that has been made since that day. It may be generally stated, however, that every phase and condition of mental illness is being studied and treated today.

 

In closing I wish to point out that while the Department has pardonable pride in the opening of this great hospital, and in the realization that its hopes and plans have become material entities, nevertheless, from this establishment we read the challenge to carry on with sincere effort and devotion the work of the Department for the care of the mentally ill."