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3.8
12 votes

Dejarnette Children's Asylum

Staunton, Virginia USA

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  • This location is on private property and is presented for information purposes only.
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“A former children's asylum with a dark past..”

This place is on private property. Listing for informational purposes only. Please do not visit without express permission from the land owner. Founded in 1932 as a private pay unit of the Western State Hospital, the DeJarnette Center for Human Development (formally the DeJarnette State Sanitorium) was named after Dr. Joseph DeJarnette, a prominent Virginia psychiatrist and strong supporter of eugenics, particularly the compulsory sterilization of the mentally ill.   The real horrors of Dejarnette came from the doctor that gave the hospital its name. Dr. Joseph Dejarnette gained a reputation for human experiments. He would often take the blood from the most hyperactive children and inject it into those who were depressed. He was also known for roaming the halls while quoting Adolf Hitler, claiming that human sterilization was his greatest work.  Because of these experiments, and the strange sightings that have occurred on the premises since, many paranormal investigators now believe that the building is haunted. The old DeJarnette Center, seen in 2011 In 1975, the Commonwealth of Virginia assumed responsibility for the entire complex, and it was renamed "The DeJarnette Center for Human Development". The institution maintained financial independence from its foundation in 1932 until it was re-formatted in 1975, and at that time, was absorbed into the state-managed health-care system as it existed in the 1970s. At the time of the conversion, patients above the age of 21 were transferred to the relatively new campus of Western State Hospital, which had moved from downtown Staunton to its current location (parallel to the DeJarnette Center, on the opposite side of Richmond Road) during the early 1960s. As a matter of practicality, and perhaps to inaugurate the official transition from private to public funding, the cafeteria of the late 1940s was demolished and a new two-story building was constructed with an open lobby and cafeteria on the first floor, and administrative offices on the second floor. This final addition to the DeJarnette Center connected the original two buildings of the sanitorium, which were constructed in 1932 and 1938. 1981 was a year of drastic change for the Center. In early 1981, the DeJarnette Center for Human Development began an effort to service patients throughout the year; prior to that time, the young patients were sent to their parents' homes or therapeutic foster homes each weekend and went for extended visits during the summer to their parents' homes. Additionally, the former Adolescent Unit of Western State Hospital was shut down, and minors of adolescent age were permanently transferred to the DeJarnette Center. This was the apex of the scope and size of the DeJarnette Center. A concrete above-ground pool was constructed, and was in operation until the late 1980s, at which time insurance costs became excessive. In late 1987, the stock markets crashed, and the resulting economic turmoil expressed a terrible strain upon the taxpayer-supported funding of many public programs operated by the Commonwealth of Virginia at that time. By 1990, the impact of severe budget cuts became evident; facilities such as the DeJarnette Center, and the quality and relative luxuries (such as the swimming pool) of state-funded hospital operations, collapsed into a cesspool of underfunded community-based operations. Mental health care and services provided for by the Commonwealth of Virginia would never again see the funding priority which they had held during the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1996, the DeJarnette Center relocated to a new 48-bed facility, adjacent to the grounds of Western State Hospital. In 2004, plans were made to demolish the original DeJarnette complex, and to replace it with a shopping mall and parking lot. However, plans for the project fell through when not enough tenants were secured for the proposed mall. As of 2011, the campus of the former DeJarnette Center for Human Development still exists, though in a considerable state of disrepair.

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Reviewed by
kburke4287

  • 1 Review
  • 5 Helpful
September 24, 2016
Rated 3.0

I remember this place very well i was a patient there around 4 years old up to 6 years old, There was a lot of crazy stuff going on while I was there. Alot of visits from doctors and nurses for no reason. They locked you up in a room for hours with just a bed and maybe a book every once in a while.

5 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
RebbekkahHolt

  • 3 Reviews
  • 9 Helpful
January 02, 2015

I was a patient at this hospital from 11.5 until I was 13. I remember the building that was "abandoned" for reasons never explained to me. I use to try to escape by running through the immense field. I could walk you through almost the entire building.

4 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
ghosthunter514

  • 2 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
November 06, 2017

my great aunt was sent there bc her mom did not want her at home she said she remembers screams from the basement as if they were cutting someone open to test them and she also told me she was asleep one night and i white or gray figuire was walking threw the halls and it was not a patent r a dr she thinks it was a ghost and it was a small child she says if she had to guess age anyware from 3 to 6 years old i hope you find this helpfull

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
RebbekkahHolt

  • 3 Reviews
  • 9 Helpful
January 02, 2015

I can say there were a lot of strange things that happened there.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
RebbekkahHolt

  • 3 Reviews
  • 9 Helpful
January 02, 2015

I also remember the staff there. they were ok.I remember pending a lot of time in the green seclusion rooms n the bottom floor

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
justinmcmillan

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
December 02, 2019

katiee580 I was there around same time line 92-93. Peery 2. Honestly, DeJarnette was kind of a blast. Most of the people that supervised us were interns from UVA, and they were super chill. The doctors were aight. We had weekly meetings with our assigned shrinks. Mine was named Dr. Tupper. Our floor supervisor? Not sure the title, I remember his name was Buzz. There was also an intern named Joey. He used to tell us dirty jokes when we would go down the stairwells to the cafeteria. The bottom floor housed the cafeteria, the school and the gym. In May 1999 was passing through Staunton from Radford and I decided to stop and check it out. I ended kicking in the gymnasium doors and walking through. It really wasn’t creepy to me. I seemed to be one of the first to get inside. There was no graffiti. The walls were damaged in places and there were pigeons or doves roosting inside of them. There were papers scattered everywhere. I found a big ring of keys which I took with me. Like a trophy cuz l, ya know, keys were what you wished for when you were stuck there. A number of years later I was on a photography blog and one person had listed the various entry points in the building. He stated that the original way they began sneaky into the facility was though a kicked in door in the gym, which had since been boarded up. Pretty sure that was me!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
katiee580

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
September 26, 2018

I was there from 1991-1994 on the adolescent unit. Honestly, the nurses and staff were always great to me. Yes, the facility was run down, but it was full of good people

1 person found this review helpful
  • 15 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
July 20, 2015

Very cool. Originally we were directed to the old Common Wealth of Children and Adolescence, and even though these buildings are shut down and abandoned, the actual Asylum is across Hwy 250 from there. It's actually on George M Cochran Pkwy. You'll pass one gate that's locked up, but keep driving around the back and you can actually pull up into the driveway to take you on the grounds. We were able to get better directions from the Asylum's facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dejarnette-Childrens-Asylum/201660246549161?fref=ts
The only fence is right at the main front door but no where else, so you can get right up on the building. It's boarded up pretty tight. There was one board taken out in the back that you can get into the building from. Or a good drill can take the screws out of the boards. We didn't go inside just because we're chicken of the law and it was day time, but I wish we had.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Jerry

  • 2 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
March 24, 2014

While it is impossible to legally get close, it was right off the highway and we got some great photos. Don't go too far out of our way, but if this is on your way it's worth stopping by.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
1803001588

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
October 28, 2019
Rated 5.0

is all of this true if so a patient that has been there say that it is because i kind of don't believe any of this stuff

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Dejarnette Children's Asylum

Staunton, Virginia
USA

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  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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