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Location DB > United States > Rhode Island > Exeter > The Ladd School
The Ladd School
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 Database Info
created by Grozny on 7/5/2004 3:40 PM
last modified by Million Dollar Man on 1/24/2015 3:04 PM
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled as Demolished, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.
What used to be a scattered assortment of more than a dozen buildings designed for the care and rehabilitation of mental patients. Only a handful of the original buildings remain. As of summer 2004, new buildings are being constructed on the property. There's been a rumor that one of the older buildings was going to be refurbished in some way. Set into the woods off of Route 2 in Exeter, on the same grounds as a drug rehabilitation center, and by a large cemetery.
 Basic Information
Type: Campus
Status: Demolished
Accessibility: Easy
Recommendation: forget it
 Physical Information
Route 2
Exeter, Rhode Island
United States
Owner: State of Rhode Island
  • See a map of this location
  •  Hazards
  • asbestos
  • rust
  • unsafe flooring
  •  Interesting Features
    The cylindrical Fogarty building is very interesting. It looks like a big blender. Access to the roof is possible giving you a view of the surrounding area.

    Exeter is a creepy town, from vampire legends to ghosts. The asylum is isolated in the woods. We visited on a rainy night and the atmosphere was pure creepiness.

    Aside from having plenty of weird physical features (padded rooms, chairs with straps surrounded by medical machinery), there are a lot of sub/urban legends about this place being haunted. Rhode Island is a small state where everyone knows everyone else, and it isn't hard to find someone who had an uncle or whatever that did time here, and was abused.
     Security Measures
  • fences
  • part-time guard
  • wooden boarding
  • US Job Corps at entrance
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 1907
    Closed: 1994
     Required Equipment
  • flashlight
  • long pants / sleeves
  •  Recommended Equipment
    Breathing Mask, Camera, Extra Batteries
    Founded in 1907, by Dr. William Gleason, Chairman of the Providence School Committee, the so-called Rhode Island School for the Feeble Minded began on a farm in Exeter, RI, and was modelled after the then Massachusettes School for the Feeble Minded, better known today as the Fernald State Institution in Waltham, MA. It's original purpose was for the training of mildy retarded to socially and morally delinquent youths in domestic sciences, and factory and farm work, for their eventual parole, hopeful discharge and subsequent integration into society, by their placement in foster homes and work programs. ... Oftentimes, in the institutions earliest decades, adolescents of relatively normal intelligence were often sent to Exeter for sexual promiscuity, hyperactivity, epilepsy, truancy, and other perceived defects.


    As early as the 1960's organizations backed by State officials and emboldened by a gradual shift in public attitude toward the mentally handicapped sought the closing of the Ladd School, and the eventual end to instituionlization et al in Rhode Island, though it was many decades before Rhode Islanders would indeed see an end to Ladd. Overcrowded for all it's years in existence, the Ladd School reached a peak population documenting in excess of 1,000 patients in the late 1960's. Finally in 1977, a class-action lawsuit was brought against the State and then governor Bruce Sundlun by the Ladd School Parent's Association, when a routine investigation at the institution spurned months of furthering investigations unveiling years of medical neglect attributable to a number of patient deaths.


    n 1986, Rhode Island Governor Edward DiPrete announced at a press conference the official phasing out of the Ladd School, and eight years later, the institution closed it's doors for good. ...

    More at, including updated information on demolished buildings, photography, in-depth historical reports, urbex journals, and other fun stuff.
     Media Coverage
    News Channel 10 did a story in October of 2003 on the school. They had uncovered, using UE websites as research, that patient records had been left in the building. The state was embarrassed and moved in. The once easily accessible buildings were boarded up and all the records were removed. Because of the media, police now regularly patrol the grounds.

    The Providence Journal also followed the story. If you go to the archives, you can read the articles. You can also find microfilm from 1994 when the school closed. Go back far enough, you can read articles from when the place opened in 1907.

    Articles can also be found regarding allegations of patient abuse.
     Future Plans
    Apparently condos are being built on the site. Get there before it is all torn down. Several buildings are already gone.

    Addendum: The plans are finalized for a Firefighting Training Academy for all Rhode Island stations. It's fate is sealed and it is already being demolished. If you want to see it, it is now or never.

    Add your own story
     Photo Galleries
    Click to view gallery
    Ladd School
    Mon, Jul 5th, 2004
    posted by Grozny
    4 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    outside only
    Sat, Nov 12th, 2005
    posted by Anonymous
    4 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    September 2008.
    Thu, Nov 13th, 2008
    posted by amy atomic
    22 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    trip 1: meh
    Sun, Jun 17th, 2012
    posted by gimpcat
    25 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Mon, Sep 10th, 2012
    posted by Kurt
    4 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Ladd School 2014
    Sun, Nov 24th, 2019
    posted by StateHospitalExplorer
    25 pictures

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     Moderator Rating
    The moderator rating is a neutral rating of the content quality, photography, and coolness of this location.

    Category Rating
    Photography 10 / 10
    Coolness 10 / 10
    Content Quality 10 / 10
    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Steed on 11/24/2019 1:00 PM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Nov 24 19 at 13:00, Steed validated this location
  • on Nov 24 19 at 1:40, StateHospitalExplorer swapped pictures 3 and 5
  • on Nov 24 19 at 1:40, StateHospitalExplorer swapped pictures 2 and 3
  • on Nov 24 19 at 1:40, StateHospitalExplorer swapped pictures 1 and 4
  • on Nov 24 19 at 1:28, StateHospitalExplorer swapped pictures 14 and 19
  • on Nov 24 19 at 1:28, StateHospitalExplorer swapped pictures 18 and 24
  • on Nov 24 19 at 1:27, StateHospitalExplorer swapped pictures 12 and 18
  • on Nov 24 19 at 1:27, StateHospitalExplorer swapped pictures 12 and 13
  • on Nov 24 19 at 1:27, StateHospitalExplorer swapped pictures 11 and 12
  • on Nov 24 19 at 1:26, StateHospitalExplorer updated gallery picture 026.JPG
  •  Forum Threads about this Location
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    You must log in for this feature to work.those poor peoplemetalwitch404109510/14/2005 9:10 PM by L. Fancy
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