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DeJarnette Center

East side of the DeJarnette Center for Human Development, February 19, 2011

The DeJarnette Center for Human Development was founded as the DeJarnette State Sanitorium in 1932 as a private pay unit of Western State Hospital, a nearby mental institution.  The Staunton, Virginia facility was named for Dr. Joseph DeJarnette, director of Western State Hospital from 1905 to 1943, and a prominent supporter of eugenics.  The Peery Building was constructed to the south the original building in 1938.  In 1972, the facility became a children’s mental institution, and took on its final name.  A center lobby was also constructed at that time, linking the two buildings.

The DeJarnette Center relocated to a new, smaller facility across US 250 from the original facility in 1996.  The original facility was closed at that time.  The new facility originally took the old facility’s name, until, in 2001, being renamed the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents due to Dr. DeJarnette’s support of eugenics.  In 2004, there were plans to demolish the original facility and replace it with a shopping center.  These plans ultimately fell through due to inability to secure enough tenants for the proposed shopping center.  In 2009, the facility was boarded up to prevent unauthorized access.

With the exception of the lead photo, which was taken a year prior, I took these photos of the facility’s exterior on May 28, 2012 during a day trip to Augusta County with friends.  We didn’t go inside the facility, and I strongly recommend not doing so, as the building is contaminated with asbestos, and is also infested with snakes.

West side of Peery Building West side of original building
West side of Peery Building, south end
Northwest corner of original building South end of Peery Building
Graffiti on the roof of the original building
Pattern on the railing of a balcony on the original building Portico over the main entrance to the original building
Board-ups over windows on the east side of the original building
Portico over the main entrance to the original building Sign warning unauthorized individuals not to enter the property
Center section, with board-up over the large two-story windows
East side of Peery Building East side of Peery Building
Detail of portico on the east side of the Peery Building
Portico on the east side of the main building, seen through a hole in chain link fencing surrounding the entrance The east side of the Peery Building, beyond fencing around the main entrance to the original building
Dormers and an antenna on the roof of the original building

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