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One of three such facilities built by the State of Massachusetts, this hospital opened its doors in 1858. According to the laws of the time, any person who was "insane" for over one year had to be committed to a state facility. They became wards of the state, which had to provide for their care and well-being. The Northampton Insane Hospital was located up on a hill one mile outside of the town center. It had beautiful views and numerous pathways for patients' open-air exercise and recreation.