Abandoned History

Preserving History one shot at a time

Central State Hospital (Milledgeville, Georgia)

Central State Hospital (CSH), located in Milledgeville, Georgia, is the state’s largest facility for treatment of mental illness and developmental disabilities. The CSH complex currently encompasses about 1,750 acres (7.1 km)


The facility offers short-stay acute treatment for people with mental illness, residential units and habilitation programs for people with developmental disabilities, recovery programs that require a longer stay, and specialized skilled and ICF nursing centers. Some programs serve primarily the central-Georgia region while other programs serve counties throughout the state.


In the first decades of the 19th century there was a movement in several states to reform prisons, create public schools, and establish state-run hospitals for the mentally ill. In 1837, the Georgia State Legislature responded to a call from Governor¬†Wilson Lumpkin, by passing a bill calling for the creation of a “State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum.” Located in Milledgeville, then the state capital, the facility opened in 1842.

Under Dr. Thomas A. Green, 1845 to 1879, care of patients was based on the “institution as family”. This modeled hospitals to resemble an extended family. Green ate with staff and patients daily and abolished chain and rope restraints.

The hospital population grew to nearly 12,000 in the 1960s. During the following decade, the population began to decrease due to the emphasis on deinstitutionalization, the addition of other public psychiatric (regional) hospitals throughout the state, the availability of psychotropic medications, an increase in community mental health programs, and many individuals moving to community living arrangements. During FY2004-FY2005, the hospital served more than 9,000 consumers (duplicats counted) – from nearly every Georgia county.

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