This is how I remember Illinois State Training School for Girls, Geneva, Illinois. I used to park my car in the lot just opposite the guard station then walk through the middle of the grounds to Geneva Cottage or to Oak and Wallace Cottage on the right (just out of the picture). The cemetery is in the wooded area to the right. Even though I know there are beautiful homes built on this site now, I can’t imagine anything other than the place as it was when I worked there and youngsters were attending school, working and living in these buildings.

Does anyone know what all the buildings are? This is what I remember – correct me if I’m wrong. The little building at the entrance opposite the parking lot is the guard station. The building to the right of the driveway going to the second parking lot is the Administration Building (pathway to the door) with an employee residential building just to its right. Behind the second parking lot is the dispensary and the school to the right – the one with the steeple. Behind those buildings are the laundry, kitchen and other maintenance type buildings. Surrounding the middle are the cottages that became ‘home’ to the juveniles incarcerated there. Also a chapel is to the right of the school. I’m not exactly sure where but on the left was where inmates could go rollerskating and swimming. I remember a scary incident at the pool when an excited young girl saw the pool for the first time. She had never been in a swimming pool and couldn’t wait top get in and get wet. She jumped in, landed near me but couldn’t swim. Without any fear and laughing the whole while, she ‘climbed’ up me to stay above the water. I was pushed under and almost drowned!

This photo is a real memory jogger for me. I’d forgotten how big the institution was and how many buildings there were. What stories does it bring back to you?

This picture is provided courtesy of Geneva History Center Archives Collection