VIEW: Northern State Asylum Dairy Farm
– Sedro Woolley, WA
In case you are wondering, yes you are reading the title correctly. We have our own abandoned (somewhat) insane asylum right here in Western Washington. I say somewhat because the asylum itself is partially occupied by active businesses and government offices. What is completely abandoned and accessible though is the trails and structures of the adjacent dairy farm.
The North State Hospital for the Mentally Ill was built in 1909 as part of a 700 acre parcel of land. The land was used to make the hospital self sufficient, as well as to provide sources of income from selling resources to outsiders. The farm, which included a substantial number of cows, was a place where patients worked and socialized during their stays there.
The hospital and farm shut down in 1973, and are now owned by Skagit County. The farm was eventually turned into a recreational area, allowing visitors to walk around the structures and along five miles of trails that contain out buildings and a cemetery (which is a big fenced in field with no headstones, we didn’t go in there … no thank you).
There is a lot to see and do, most of it featured in the area pictured above which is located a short walk from the parking lot. While there are signs warning not to go into any of the many structures, you can easily see everything through the numerous doorways and windows found in each one. We had a blast exploring everything and taking pictures without having to break any rules.
The buildings themselves are beautiful and, despite being old and abandoned, are still mostly in pretty good shape. There are lots of architectural features (farm style of course), colors, artifacts, and things to see. It is a photographers dream, as you can tell from the over abundance of photos included with this feature. It is actually yet another spot I plan on returning to so I can take more.
This is an awesome place to spend the day and fun for adults and kids alike. While you are in the area, be sure to stop and eat lunch or dinner at The Woolley Market. It is a co-op store with loads of local foods, drinks, and products as well as an awesome kitchen (eat the local Wagyu burgers and pick up some of the meat to take home with you).