Tag Archives: North Georgia Depots & Railroadiana

Central State Hospital, Milledgeville

Central Building [now known as the Powell Building], Central State Hospital, National Register of Historic Places

The Georgia Lunatic Asylum opened on the outskirts of Milledgeville in 1842, its name only slightly more benign than the original “Lunatic, Idiot and Epileptic Asylum” conjured at its establishment in 1837. The need for such a facility was precipitated by the social reform movements popular in the early 19th century and at first, especially under the guidance of Dr. Thomas A. Green, patients were treated as humanely as possible. Green was responsible for attempting to humanize the plight of the asylum’s population, removing chains and restraints and even taking meals with them. Within its next century, though, the institution occupied over 200 buildings on nearly 2000 acres. At its peak, there were nearly 13,000 souls residing here, making it the largest state mental institution in the nation.

Victorian Building, Central State Hospital

Unfortunately, after the Civil War, the institution experienced rapid growth, as many communities warehoused “undesirable” people from their communities to what was essentially a prison sentence at Milledgeville. This included thousands of veterans whose maladies deemed them impossible to treat in their resource-strained communities. This growth lead to a 100:1 physician to patient ratio that persisted for nearly a hundred years. In 1897, the facility came to be known as the Georgia State Sanitarium. But to most Georgians, it was simply known as “Milledgeville”. It was universally known in the state as a place to avoid. Walking the immense grounds today, one has to feel sorrow for the souls who were put away here, and a sense of anger at the horrible way we treated the mentally ill until the recent past.

Storehouse, Central State Hospital, National Register of Historic Places

By the 1960s, pharmaceutical advances helped reduce the number of patients who were subjected to such horrific treatments as electroshock therapy and lobotomies. For much of the 20th century, the institution was essentially an experimental laboratory of psychology, doing greater damage to its residents than good. The name of the property was changed to Central State Hospital in 1967 and by the 1970s, the population was in rapid decrease.

Auditorium, Central State Hospital

Today, fewer than 200 residents are in treatment here and a goal of phasing out the facility altogether is closer to reality. Most of the buildings are in ruin and while anyone is welcome to walk around the grounds, it’s illegal to enter any of the structures. A round-the-clock security team strictly enforces this mandate.

 

 

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Filed under --BALDWIN COUNTY GA--, Milledgeville GA

Atlanta & West Point Railroad Depot, Madras

Madras was originally known as Powellville and later, Powell’s Station. By 1904, the name was changed to Madras. I believe the depot was built around the time of the name change but have been unable to locate any history.

Thanks to Carol Chancey of the Moreland Cultural Arts Association for pointing me in the  direction of Madras.

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Filed under --COWETA COUNTY GA--, Madras GA

Atlanta & West Point Railroad Depot, 1917, Palmetto

This depot served Palmetto until the mid-1960s when it was transferred to the city for municipal use. It went through a long state of decline before a full restoration was completed in 2012. It now houses a museum and event spaces.

 

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Filed under --FULTON COUNTY GA--, Palmetto GA

Railroad Underpass, 1918, Palmetto

There are a couple more of these masonry underpasses in Palmetto and at least one in Fairburn. The Palmetto examples are contemporary to the Atlanta & West Point Railroad depot and may have been built by the railroad. They’re really amazing examples of engineering, considering they’ve been in use for 99 years and have carried millions of tons of freight over the past century.

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Filed under --FULTON COUNTY GA--, Palmetto GA

Seaboard Air Line Railway Depot, 1910, Elberton

One of Georgia’s finest old depots, this is now home to the Elbert County Historical Society.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --ELBERT COUNTY GA--, Elberton GA

Central of Georgia Railway Depot, 1890, Chickamauga

After having fallen into disrepair for many years, including the loss of its tower, this depot was recently restored and is now home to the Walker County Regional Heritage and Train Museum.

Chickamauga Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --WALKER COUNTY GA--, Chickamauga GA

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

blue-ridge-scenic-railway-engine-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-north-georgia-usa-2017

This tourist railway normally runs a between Blue Ridge, McCaysville, Georgia/Coppherhill, Tennessee, following the Toccoa River for much of he route. I’ve not taken a trip with them (yet) but have heard great things about the pace, the views, and the vintage cars (you can choose from air-conditioned or open-air). Keep the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in mind if you’re traveling to the mountains.

blue-ride-scenic-railway-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-north-georgia-usa-2017

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Filed under --FANNIN COUNTY GA--, Blue Ridge GA