On May 13th, 2015 Superior Court Judge Stephan Hansbury will hear arguments from Preserve Greystone regarding the demolition of The Kirkbride Building. The 139 year old Kirkbride Building was once a state psychiatric hospital and was a forerunner in the evolution of moral treatment to the mentally ill. Preserve Greystone is, “a New Jersey-based organization dedicated to protecting the open space and historic building on the former Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital property in Morris County, NJ.” The Kirkbride building is not currently on the National Register of Historic Places, although Preserving Greystone is pursuing a historic designation.
Historic Preservation Commissions are created by a Governing Body with the purpose of designating and regulating historic sites and districts. 5 to 9 members make up this commission and consist of people knowledgable in building design and construction, people knowledgable or interested in local history, and municipal residents.
The 675,000 square foot Kirkbride Building is considered too costly to be preserved by the state. Demolition began last month and is estimated to cost $34 million dollar, two rear wings have already been destroyed. If Preserving Greystone were to win a stay from the Court, the organization will focus efforts on creating an assisted living facility in the central portion of the building with an additional museum and renovated chapel for special events.
4,000 signatures have been gathered in the hopes of halting any further demolition. The buildings historical prowess and beautiful Victorian Architecture are the main points for its proposed preservation. Chris Christie had this to say about The Kirkbride Building: “It wasn’t an easy decision, because it is a historic structure…But it was the right decision.”