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Snake Hill

Snake Hill

Posted: 2 Jan 2001 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 4 Jun 2005 11:08PM GMT
Surnames: HALPIN, MATTHEWS
In the 1950s Snake Hill was a challenge for my 12-year-old neighborhood pals. We'd hike westward from Jersey City on the road toward Secaucus and then follow some railroad tracks south to Snake Hill. It was like an island in the middle of the "meadows", a huge marshy area. At that time the NJ Turnpike extension was being blasted out of its east side. Some public institutions were there, including a jail on the west side. Sorry, but I don't know the names of those institutions.

Snake Hill

Posted: 2 Jan 2001 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 22 Jul 2001 4:42AM GMT
Surnames: Sweeney, Spears, Milander, Miles, Sullivan, Phillips, Thomas, Heffernan
I have recently learned that my uncle's sister was a patient at a place called "Snake Hill Hospital for Contagious Diseases." It was in New Jersey and I'm assuming it was in Hudson County as my uncle was raised in Bayonne. I have searched and cannot find any place by that name. Does anyone know of such a place? I am not sure of the name of his sister but my uncle's name was Daniel Joseph Sweeney and he married Grace Regina Spears.

Snake Hill, Hudson County

Bill Kehoe (View posts)
Posted: 3 Jan 2001 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Snake Hill was a name given to a rather abrupt geological prominence at the extreme western end of Hudson County, probably within the town of Secaucus. It was a collection of hospitals or wards of hospitals that dealt with either contagious diseases or perhaps even mental illness or dementia. I believe that the last administrator of that hospital before it was closed was Andrew Sapienza, who had previously been administrator of the Jersey City Medical Center and seemed to thrive on major challenges. Andrew was my uncle. He retired to the Jersey shore (Spring Lake Heights) where his son Charles also lives after the hospital was closed. Charles may have more information on the hospital than I have.

Snake Hill

Posted: 3 Jan 2001 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 3 Jul 2001 8:41PM GMT
You can reference a string of messages on Snake Hill that is listed in this queries forum under the surname of WARREN. The messages began on April 24, 1999.

Snake Hill

Posted: 4 Jan 2001 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 8 Nov 2003 2:19AM GMT
Surnames: Russell, Doyle
Does anyone know when Snake Hill opened? I have an ancestor who lived in Jersey City and then went to a "sanitarium" after a "nervous breakdown". I know it must have been near to JC because his family had visited him. I would think the years were probably from the late 1890s to about 1910. Would Snake Hill have been in operation then?
If not, any other ideas?

Snake Hill

Bill Kehoe (View posts)
Posted: 5 Jan 2001 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Russell, Doyle
You may not have gotten my message. The first thing you need to do is probably to learn the actual name of the sanatoriam. To the best of my knowledge, the name "Snake Hill" was one we applied to several related hospitals on a very obvious eminence in Hudson Co. that sticks up out of the Jersey Meadows near Secausus, NJ. I believe that my uncle, Andrew Sapienza, was the last director of this facility and that he retired around 1960. I know that he was previously the director of the Jersey City Medical Center around 1957.

snake hill

Jeanine Matthews (View posts)
Posted: 6 Jan 2001 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: snake hill
Snake Hill is located in Secaucus NJ in Hudson County. I belive it was called Hudson County Diagnostic Hospital near the end. It was were county people went for mental problems. When it closed I know some people went to Pollack Hospital in Jersey City, which is part of the Jersey City Medical Center. Pollack is basically a nursing home now I believe. Hope this helps. Also Snake Hill also had a juvenile facility for incorrigable kids, but I'm not quite sure. Hope this may help someone.

Snake Hill

Posted: 6 Jan 2001 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 4 Jun 2005 11:08PM GMT
Surnames: Halpin, Matthews
Here are four tidbits related to Hudson County's Snake Hill:

(1) SECAUCUS, FROM. SISKAKES OR SIKAKES
the place where the snake hides. The Indian name for Snake Hill, now transferred to the upland between Pinhorne Creek and Hackensack river.

(2) AUTHOR: McGarrity, Mark.
TITLE: Whatever you call it, Snake Hill endures.
SOURCE: Newark Star-Ledger, Wednesday, May 20, 1998, pp. 39, 40.
QUOTE: Traffic-chopper jocks call it "Fraternity Rock" because of all the graffiti splashed on its flanks. Hudson County says it's "Laurel Hill." Historians? They prefer "Snake Hill," while noting that other monikers have been applied to the Secaucus promontory: "Long Neck" was one (maybe for all the beer bottles that now lie smashed in its former quarry) and "Mt. Pinhorne" for a 17th century owner.

(3) http://www.torreybotanical.com/njnbtofc/snakehil.html

(4) http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/04/19/reviews/sullivan-mag-a...

Enjoy!

Snake Hill

Posted: 7 Jan 2001 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 3 Jul 2001 8:41PM GMT
As you can see, Snake Hill is indeed a favorite topic of discussion for Hudson County history buffs. It was known as "Slangen Bergh" to the early dutch settlers of the area. Once part of a rich plantation that in the early 1700's included 1200 apple trees, Hudson County purchased the property (300 acres) in 1862 for $12,000. The Alms House was erected in 1863, and within 10 years had housed over 2800 people (max 500 people at one time). The Penetentiary was completed in 1870, and my ancestor Patrick Warren was its first warden. The insane assylum was completed in 1873, and housed over 100 people within the first 8 months of its operation. A most interesting piece of Hudson County history that was leveled to make room for the NJ Turnpike.

Snake Hill

Kathy Taft-Becker (View posts)
Posted: 7 Jan 2001 12:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Taft, Becker, Tagliaferri, Reynolds, Conroy, Worley
O.k. folks, here is some info on the infamous "Snake Hill"

Snake hill was in fact at many different times....
an insane asylum, an alms house, a hospital for contagoius diseases, and home for the criminally insane. The Secaucus Museum supposedly has quite a bit of info on all of this.

The source for my information is a book "The Meadowlands" written by Robert Sullivan. It was published in 1998, By Anchor Books/Doubleday. I found it in Barnes and noble! The best I could tell you is that the Secaucus Museum is located in the Secaucus Police Garage. The town historian is Dan McDonough. From this book - page 25 " ...McDonough's knowledge of Secaucus is Snake Hill oriented, so the Secaucus Museum is actually a kind of Snake Hill Shrine" This book mentions Snake Hill in many areas and it mentions the lunatic asylum and the alms house. If I can help you any more please let me know. I will try to find more in the book if I can.

The records for the asylum and hospital are supposed to be housed at Meadowview Psychiatric Hospital on County Road in Secaucus, though I have no confirmation of such. If they have the records that is the place they should be.

If I can be of any further help, let me know.
Good luck,

Kathy

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