Our last stop in Milledgeville was Central State Hospital. I’m going to let the photos speak more than the words in this post. The link above gives you the history of the place. At one point, it was the largest mental institution in the country, and it reflected the changes in how our country dealt (and deals) with mental illness – both good and bad.
According to this sign, this building was originally the Male Convalescent Building. It was built in 1884. Georgia College, just down the road, was founded in 1889. Lots going on in Milledgeville in the late 1800s.
It’s pretty, right? Trees blooming, red brick, interesting architecture, a beautiful spring day.
But look more closely. Broken windows, vines growing on the building. It doesn’t show in this photo, but the roof is gone on much of the building. I could see blue sky through the roof.
When I posted photos of my Middle Georgia trip on Facebook, these photos of Central State got the most comments. People had memories of Central State or of family members who were sent here.
And I think many of us are fascinated with how “insane” people were treated years ago.
On the building next door, the metal grating on the windows was obvious.
Across the pretty park-like space of the main horseshoe from the Walker Building is The Jones Building, the former hospital where patients (from Central State as well as Milledgeville) were treated.
The “No Trespassing” sign adds “unsafe building and grounds.”
The Georgia State Seal somehow retains its color. “Wisdom, Justice, Moderation”
What does Central State Hospital say to us now? All of the buildings are not in disrepair. Some are in use. Actually many are. But what about the ones in these photos?
I don’t have answers.
But I think pondering is good.