Ridge Home: The Sinister History of an Abandoned Colorado Institution
At its peak, Ridge Home served nearly 1500 patients from 1912 to about 1992, but over the years a much darker tale has emerged about what went on inside that facility as funding began to dwindle.
Ridge Home Beginnings
The state of Colorado began planning a 300-acre mental hospital around 1909. By 1910 the first buildings went up in Arvada, Colorado, and by 1912 the first patients were coming to Ridge Home. By 1936, the Colorado State Home and Training School had over 200 students committed to staying at Ridge Home for life. In addition to the State Home, the facility was also known as Ridge Home and the Home for Mental Defectives.
Beginning of Dark Tales from Inside Ridge Home
Patients dropped off at Ridge Home are said to have been sedated like in many mental hospitals at the time. Using tools like the Western History Newspaper Index you can search for headlines with more details about some of the terrible conditions inside the school.
- 1940s: Forced Sterilization is said to have been regularly practiced on patients at Ridge Home.
- 1950s: A Ridge Home Administrator is said to have told the press that several adult patients did not need to be living at the facility but that their families had abandoned them there.
- 1970s: Cracks in the foundation and unstable foundation forced parts of the school and quarters to be abandoned. The buildings were also deemed not to be compliant with the fire code of the time as they lacked fire exits and fire escape paths.
- 1980s: Reports of residents being neglected at Ridge Home. At least one staff member was sent to prison for abusing patients.
- 1992: Ridge Home closes for good although it would take almost 20 years before the remains are demolished.
Awful Reports of Neglect and Abuse
Imfromdenver.com reports that in the late 1980s one nurse who worked at Ridge Home said it was constantly covered in bodily waste as patients would go to the bathroom just about anywhere and orderlies didn't seem to care. Lawsuits from patients' families and threats of huge fines from the Federal Government seemed to catch people's attention. Another paranormal site says a nurse working at the facility says 17 people are said to have died there in the 1950s. The nurse claims to have witnessed beatings, rape, and violence at the school. Reports say a series of tunnels ran under the facility and there are reports that awful things happened down there.
Ridge Home Closed in 1992
By 1990 the home was closed and only severely ill patients were allowed to live there. After a fire in 1991, the facility would soon be finished. The Colorado Historical Society took the building's cornerstone out in 1992. Scroll on for photos from the grounds and footage from the old Ridge Home below.
The Sinister History of an Abandoned Colorado Institution