Central State Hospital (Milledgeville, GA): Part 1

Milledgeville, GA, once the capital city of our fair state, had by the time I came into being become known as the place where the “loony bin” resided. Now, I know that’s not politically correct, but it’s what people in these parts called it. The last thing you wanted was to be sent to Milledgeville. As a little girl, I was always curious about the place and frightened of it at the same time. I often imagined a town full of crazy people. As I grew older, I became aware of the fact that it was also the home of a good college, then Middle Georgia College (I believe it is now Georgia State College in Milledgeville or something like that). Over the years, I have driven by the city once or twice, but until the first part of this month, I had never really taken the time to explore. Now that I have, I will definitely be going back.

So what prompted my recent exploration? Well, my father-in-law has been doing some work out there, and after looking through some of my photography, he realized that I might really enjoy checking out the campus of Central State Hospital. And he was right!

One particularly beautiful Sunday afternoon, I went outside and told my husband, who was cutting grass, that my camera and I would like to go for a drive. He decided that he would go with me, so he put away the mower and off we went. But where would we go? Well, remembering the stories his dad told us about the hospital out in Milledgeville and knowing there were some great old buildings to photograph, we headed to Milledgeville.

Now, we headed there before I did the actual research on the place, so I didn’t realize that the campus consisted of over 1700 acres of land. That being said, the GPS found it a bit of a challenge to locate this place called Central State Hospital. Of course, one would assume that it would take us to the currently operational portion of the hospital or perhaps the museum, but good old Google Maps must know where I like to hunt, because where it took us was the Howell Building. (It must be familiar with my ghost hunting search history.)

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Now imagine this being the scene that greets you when you drive up to a spooky old abandoned hospital…behind a prison no less! My first thought was, “Patients go in, but they never come out.” Little did I know how true that thought was. Many a patient entered the walls of this institution only to spend the rest of their days there. Then, abandoned or forgotten behind the walls of this institution, left by family who didn’t know how to care for them or simply desired to be rid of them, many died with only a patient number, a file, and simple metal post to mark their existence.

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Approximately 25,000 souls lie beneath the grounds of this institution in the six cemeteries that dot the landscape. Between overpopulation and underfunding, it didn’t take long for this institution, originally named the Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum, to begin losing patients due to disease, lack of care, and unfortunately mistreatment.

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So if you happen to be wandering around these grounds and feel like you’re not alone, it wouldn’t be surprising. Now, I can’t say that I saw any apparitions on this trip, but it certainly was a good place for haunts to hang out. That being said back to…

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While this was certainly not the oldest building on the site, it was quite interesting. It was also one of the few buildings you could walk all the way up to and really get a good look at and take some really great photographs. I decided shortly after arriving that black and white would be the way to go for this old place to add to the somewhat creepy ambiance…especially with Halloween coming up. Drawing from my memory bank of creepy horror stories about asylums and hospitals, you can only imagine the stories I was coming up with walking around this place. Especially when greeted with creepy scenes like this…

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Now, before you start thinking I broke into this old building, let me assure you, these photos were taken from safely outside through this bygone relic of vandals past…

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Unfortunately, broken windows were quite common with many of the buildings here. Also, due to the buildings being left to the elements and decay, completely missing windows and collapsed roofs were quite common as well, making many of the buildings unsafe to be entered. I hear there are portions that you can tour with permission, however, so I shall be making inquiries into that very soon.

The Howell Building was one of the newest of the abandoned structures and only fell into disuse in the early 1970s, yet it had its fair share of vine growth, broken windows, and general decay.

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As you can see, the cornerstone of the building puts the date at 1939, and apparently it was commissioned in 1940, so it was only in use for 30 to 35 years before being abandoned to the elements. And the elements have certainly taken their toll…

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Now, I want you to click on that last picture, because it is interesting. There’s a little white looking object in the second window from the top that I first thought was perhaps a smoke detector. On closer examination (zoom in), I realized it was a leather sofa. What is strange is that the brickwork from outside is reflected even to the contours of the sofa. It is propped up on its end with the back toward the reflection of the window from outside. I hope you can see it because it is fantastic. What I couldn’t figure out, however, is why the brickwork is reflected on the sofa the way that it is. If you have any insight, please feel free to post a comment.

Ok, now back to the rest of the photographs…

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And these last three of the Howell Building give a glimpse of some of the places where the roof has started collapsing…

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This was the start to a great adventure…however, this post has gotten long, so I leave you with piqued interest and those three dreaded words…

…to be continued….buahaha!

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