This is the former site of the Jacksonville Insane Asylum which in later years became the Jacksonville Developmental Center in Jacksonville, Illinois. It was opened in 1851.
In those times, Illinois law allowed husbands to commit their wives without a hearing. This was so in the case of an important lady named Elizabeth Packard. She was committed because she questioned her husband’s religious beliefs along with his opinions on financing and child care. During her stay, she was regularly questioned by doctors and, although encouraged, refused to change her views. She was eventually allowed a jury trial where the jury declared her falsely imprisoned and she was released.
She went on to form the Anti-Insane Asylum Society and led a campaign to guarantee that everyone (including wives) got a public hearing before being committed. Can you imagine if this law had never changed??
Today, it’s just a pretty shell of what it was. At a closer look, you’ll see the buildings are falling apart. Some have disturbing graffiti, many windows have bullet holes. When driving through it, you almost feel as if time just stopped. You wonder what happened to all of those people… And who is still around!!