On June 10, 1931, the cornerstone was laid for the Fairfield State Hospital. At that time many area residents opposed its location. Sixteen buildings were situated on 100 acres of land, surrounded by 670 additional acres. In the later 1940's and 50's more buildings were added. Most were built of red brick in a colonial style. When it first opened on June 1, 1933, there were only 3 Doctors and less than 500 patients. More than 4,000 patients, 20 Doctors, 50 nurses and additional staff occupied the facility in the late 1960's. Fairfield Hills was owned by the Dept. of Mental Health, Conn. Treatments of hydrotherapy, electrical shock, seclusion, drug therapy, alcoholism and frontal lobotomy were regularly performed. There was a tunnel system underground which connected all patient buildings. The tunnels were used by doctors, nurses and patients during winter months. They were also used to transport food and even corpses. Most tunnels were filled in by the town in 2009. The Fairfield Hills Authority was established (2004) by the town of Newtown. Many improvements have been made allowing for cultural and recreational uses of the land. In the past, the film Sleepers was filmed at Fairfield Hills starring Robert De Niro, Brad Pitt and Kevin Bacon.
As the M.A.P.S. Team approached the sprawling lawns of Fairfield Hills, we were taken back by the enormous area it covered. The numerous brick buildings stragically placed throughout the grounds, caught our immediate interest. With cameras and EVP recorders in hand, we slowly ventured towards the dilapidated brick structures fully aware of the signs which read....Keep back 15 ft. from these buildings. As we snapped photos of what were at one time glorious architectual examples, feelings of total saddness engulfed us all. The building with barred windows felt particularly mournful. Although the warm summer sun was apparent, there was a cold lonely feeling to the place. Our hearts went out to the many patients who once occupied Fairfield Hills of Newtown.