In 1909, the Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Facility opened its doors as a home for troubled boys. At its start, the center was considered a progressive institution for housing problematic youth separate from prisoners.
“The young men lived in a series of dormitory style buildings, and received an academic education as well as learning a trade. Students worked in industries including shoemaking, printing, barbering, textiles, and a machine shop.“
However, as time went on, it was discovered that many dark and disturbing secrets had developed behind its closed doors. The school became a place where horrific incidents were the norm, and many of its former residents share stories of brutal mistreatment and abuse.
“Violence, rape, beatings and inhumane conditions were prevalent. In 1948, as part a statewide effort to limit ‘feeblemindedness’ and ‘improve’ the population, the Stonewall Jackson Training School performed vasectomies on six teenage males, making it one of the last places to perform sterilizations under state care.”
Now much older, many of the boys kept here have shared their stories of abuse, revealing chilling tales of what went on inside these walls. Polluted by its dark past, the heavy aura of dread that shrouds the old buildings seems to confirm their stories.
Today, what’s left of the campus grounds remain uninhabited. Nature has taken its toll on the buildings; bricks fall from the dilapidated structures as the mortar crumbles and wooden support beams shrink under the weight of time and neglect.
The once glistening white paint now falls from buildings in sheets, almost as if the campus is trying to shed the past it’s ashamed of. An eerie quality encompasses the site, a subtle reminder of the facilities dark history and the role it had in over a century worth of imprisonment, pain, and mistreatment.
GPS Coordinates: 35.365419, -80.596820