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Friday, September 9, 2011

Historic Florida State Hospital ~ Chattahoochee, Florida

The very first thing I want to do is say hello to my new followers ~ you don't know how much it means to me to have you tag along with us on our adventures. Please go visit these great folks and see what they have been up to lately: Shirly @ Our Second Childhood ; Kyotesue @ The MoHo and Other Traveling Tales; jld52405 (Can't find their blog); Paul & Marti Dahl @ R Sanity RV Travels; and Mike Mills @ Mills Travels . Thanks again for joining up!!!

When I was a little girl my brother & I were so active that we, according to my mother, would drive her crazy. She would always say you're going to drive me to Chattahoochee ~ so I knew there was a mental hospital there. It scared me for years and when we drove by it I would hide. To this day it gives me a strange feeling. However staying here I ended up going over and driving around the hospital. It is huge with many many buildings and a diverse history.

The hospital was originally the site of the Apalachicola Arsenal built in the 1830s and named after the nearby Apalachicola River. The hospital's current Administration Building is the original Officers' Quarters of the Arsenal and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It served as a supply depot during the Seminole Wars. The first engagement of the American Civil War in Florida took place here on January 6, 1861 when a Confederate militia unit from Quincy overcame Union soldiers at the Arsenal.

The water tower & building where steam was generated in the old days to heat the buildings

In 1868, Florida Governor Harrison Reed made the arsenal property at Chattahoochee into Florida's first penitentiary. Florida's first recorded inmate was Calvin Williams, incarcerated in Chattahoochee in November 1868 for the crime of larceny and sentenced to one year. By 1869 there were 42 inmates and 14 guards. In 1871, the prison was put under civilian jurisdiction. Malachi Martin was appointed as warden, gaining a reputation for cruelty and corruption. He used prison labor for his personal benefit to build houses and tend his personal vineyards, amassing a huge fortune. The book, The American Siberia, was written in 1891, portraying the Chattahoochee prison as a place of relentless barbarity. The prisoners were relocated in 1876 to a prison at Raiford, Florida and the prison became a state hospital

In 1876 the prison was refurbished as Florida State Hospital for the Insane, Florida's first mental institution. The hospital has been the focus of investigations over the years for allegations of mistreatment of patients. Many of the patients are criminals who have pleaded insanity or found insane by the courts. They are evaluated there and treated so they can return to prison to serve out their sentence or go to death row.

The hospital was featured in a 1989 movie, Chattahoochee, starring Gary Oldman and Dennis Hopper

building where they keep patients

That's my story & I'm sticking to it ...It still gives me the creeps but I didn't hide this time ~ lol

Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!


Jim and Sandie said...

We grew up with Warm Springs, MT as that place we didn't talk about. Had an Aunt who spent some time there and everybody talked about it in whispers. It's not used anymore but I'm sure it's walls could tell some sad stories. At least yours is a beautiful looking building.

Hootin' Anni said...

This is absolutely amazing. What 'old world', or southern charm!!!! No matter what it was used for, the historical aspect is just too interesting.

Bridget said...

I didn't know Chattahoochee was in Florida...is it really hotter than a hootchie cootchie? I don't blame you for being a little scared of that place, I think I would be too! Thanks for sharing this little bit of history with us.

Elaine said...

historically it has an interesting past for sure..gorgeous building the architecture is amazing..I'd be a bit spooked also....

~M said...

I wonder if Ghost Hunters investigated this place on one of their episodes...hmm! Beautiful building and fascinating history. Thanks for sharing. Cheers! ~M

Happytrails said...

What a beautiful facility!! So glad you didn't hide this time!! LOL
I think "Jammin" had a great idea....Ghost Hunters might want to check this place out!!
You guys have fun!!

Sue and Doug said...

good to hear that you have overcome your fear!.. I am sure that Ralph wouldn't let the men in white coats come and take you away!!

Karen and Al said...

You guys sure have taken in some Florida history this summer. Interesting tour!

Rick said...

What a beautiful looking old building. Too bad it seems to have such a sketchy history.


Get your mamogram & check up today... Early detection saved my life....


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