In 2021, I posted a four-part blog series on the State Village for Epileptics. Founded in 1898, the village served residents with a variety of medical and psychological disorders for almost 100 years. It began as a residential treatment facility for epileptics. Isolation from the public was thought to be a good treatment for epileptics in the early part of the 20th century. At its peak, it had over 600 residents, along with many employees living on the campus that is known as Skillman Park today.
Thanks to Maryanna Twomey, we can now see what several of the 100+ buildings looked like through the postcards she acquired at an estate sale. Maryanna worked at the North Princeton Developmental Center, so the cards piqued her interest. The postcards show some of the main buildings on the campus. You can see that they were substantial structures, made to last. Many were brick buildings, and others were large wooden structures made in the style of the era in which they were constructed. Because it was a self-contained village all services were provided for the residents. In addition to resident and employee living facilities, there was a laundry, library, auditorium, and more. All of the buildings except two were razed due to disrepair or asbestos issues when the state sold the property to Montgomery Township in the 1990s.
You can learn more about the State Village and its history by reading blogs 62-65. Several other buildings are pictured in these blogs.
Click on any of the pictures in the gallery below to expand the view.
1. The State Village served its primary purpose, treating epileptics, until the late 1940s, when medications were developed to help people control their epileptic seizures. In the early 1950s, the Village changed its name to Neuropsychiatric Institute, and it served a variety of patients with mental disorders. In the 1980s, it changed again to North Princeton Developmental Center, continuing to serve patients with a variety of disorders.
2. Montgomery Township sold most of the State Village property to Somerset County, which maintains it as Skillman Park.
3. The only buildings remaining on the park grounds today are the Village School, which serves third and fourth graders in Montgomery Township School District, and a former employee home.
4. There are additional properties that were part of the State Village but were not sold to Somerset County. The State of New Jersey still owns land and farm buildings east and west of the park. To the east of the park along Burnt Hill Road, several buildings including a dairy barn are still intact. To the west of the park along Route 601, there is a farmhouse and barn. Both of these properties are for sale, and the Montgomery Open Space Committee and others would like to see the land preserved for public use.
Information came from earlier blogs.
Postcards of Skillman Village were scanned from the collection of Maryanna Twomey.
Copyright © 2022 by David Cochran. All rights reserved.