Daughter of Woody Guthrie wants to preserve psychiatric hospital

Jan. 26, 2014 at 1:35 PM

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, N.J., Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The daughter of U.S. singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie wants to preserve New Jersey's Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, where her father once stayed.

Nora Guthrie said although her father wasn't a psychiatric patient at the hospital, she supports efforts to preserve the closed hospital building, the Newark (N.J) Star-Ledger reported.

The singer, who died in 1967, moved into the hospital in the 1950s after being diagnosed with Huntington's disease, a degenerative illness in which sufferers gradually lose control of their limbs.

"We're going to make something great out of Greystone," Nora Guthrie said at an event Thursday in New Jersey, promoting a new coffee table book by photographer Phillip Buehler, "Woody Guthrie's Wardy Forty: Greystone Park State Hospital Revisited."

The book features images taken inside the hospital and of Guthrie artifacts.

Six companies submitted redevelopment plans last year for the Greystone property but the state Treasury Department did not accept any of them. Local lawmakers have proposed Morris County to take over the property.

Co-sponsors of the bill have said they would consider saving Greystone's Kirkbride Building, which includes an ornate chapel that seats about 200 people.

"It would be nice to preserve some of that structure," Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco, a co-sponsor of the bill, said. "It can't all be preserved.

"There is some history there," Bucco said. "We have to make sure we do it right."

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