Near Petersburg in Dinwiddie County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Petersburg State Colony for the Negro Insane
—Dinwiddie County —
At the beginning of the 20th Century, the terms “idiot”, “imbecile”, and “moron” were commonly used legal definitions for the mentally retarded. Care for the mentally handicapped at this time was not directed at education, but at bare maintenance. There were no admission criteria, and young people and hardened criminals were placed together.
From 1943 to 1952, as attitudes changed and the idea of occupational education began to take hold, the Colony became a training school, similar to a boarding school. Criminals were discharged, the atmosphere changed, and the facility was renamed “Evergreen” because of its beautiful green setting.
In 1960, the institution moved to its current 66-acre site across from Central State Hospital and its name was changed to the Petersburg Training School. In 1967 the facility was integrated, and in 1971 the facility received an influx of clients with mental retardation from
When the services and facilities were expanded in 1975, the facility was renamed the Southside Virginia Training Center for the Mentally Retarded. The Training Center is one of five regional centers in the state to provide health, habitation and educational services for those eligible and stands as an example of the change in policy and attitude toward the education of persons with mental retardation through the years.
(Above) Built in 1904, the Female Psychopathic Building was occupied on all floors for dormitory purposes for female psychopathic patients. Clients with mental retardation were housed in this Central State Hospital building along with the mentally ill before the 1971 legislative change to separate them.
(Top Left) The Training Shop and Implement Storage Building was a two story frame building with an ordinary wood joist roof covered with metal. The first floor, which was entirely open, had an earth floor and was used for the storage of farm implements. In the center of the building was a small enclosed portion which contained a pipeless furnace which heated the
(Bottom Left) This is a one story Quonset building with cinder block foundations. The building was used as a barber and beauty shop for patients.
(Above Right) The Milk Barn was a two story frame building with an ordinary wood joist roof. The first floor contained forty-four metal cattle stanchions. The second floor was used for storage of feed. The building had no means of artificial heat and was lighted by electricity.
Erected by Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail®. (Marker Number 15.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 37° 12.611′ N, 77° 27.215′ W. Marker is near Petersburg, Virginia, in Dinwiddie County. Marker can be reached from 7th Avenue half a mile north of Albermarle Street. Touch for map. This marker is on the grounds of Central State Hospital. Marker is in this post office area: Petersburg VA 23803, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Edge Hill (approx. 0.3 miles away); Central State Hospital (approx. 0.4 miles away); Confederate Fort Whitworth (approx. half The Battle of Fort Whitworth (approx. half a mile away); Siege of Petersburg—Grant's Eighth Offensive (approx. 0.8 miles away); Confederate Fort Gregg (approx. 0.9 miles away); Fort Gregg (approx. 0.9 miles away); Rohoic Dam (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Petersburg.
Also see . . .
1. Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. (Submitted on October 19, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Southside Virginia Training Center. (Submitted on October 19, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • African Americans • Civil Rights • Education •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 19, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,625 times since then and 73 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 19, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.