From The Republican
by Fred Contrada
Sunday, February 15, 2009
As in recent years, Northampton is pinning its hopes for the economic future on a tract of land that was known in its hey-day as the home of the Northampton Lunatic Hospital.
The facility, which eventually changed its name to Northampton State Hospital, has been closed since the early 1990s. After a long struggle to wrest control of the land from the state, the city has slowly and painstakingly been working to realize its vision of a village of new commercial, industrial and residential space on the land formerly known as Hospital Hill.
With the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency, a quasi-public agency, at the helm, the one-time hospital campus has undergone a complete makeover. Most of the buildings, including the iconic “Old Main” that served as the chief administration building, have been demolished and their rubble carted away. Traces of the hospital have even been excised from the name of the project, which is now called Village Hill Northampton.