Insane

“He belongs out at the end of 5th Street.” That was a common phrase in Fulton while I was growing up. It was usually said good-naturedly, in a teasing way, sometimes spitefully, and once in a while, with dead seriousness.   Out at the “end of 5th Street” tall stone gateposts led into the spacious, green landscaped grounds of the State Insane Asylum.  When I was a child huge Oak and Walnut trees shaded rows of white metal rocking chairs, where patients spent long summer afternoons enjoying the fresh air. Other patients played on special swing sets built for adult sized bodies  with child-like minds.  There were all kinds among the 1200 people who lived at the asylum.  Some were slow and needed a little extra looking after. Some were old and forgetful. And some were truly mad. Insane.

Insane, that politically incorrect term, is no longer used.

Fulton State Hospital , a Mental Health Facility, offers treatment to about 375 clients. There are four units including maximum-security (Biggs Forensic Center, 186 beds), intermediate security (Guhleman Forensic Center, 91 beds), developmentally disabled (Hearnes Forensic Center, 24 beds) and the Sexual Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Service program (SORTS, 75 beds)

The old brick buildings of the insane asylum have been leveled to the ground, along with all the towering shade trees, the winding walkways, and every single blade of grass.  In the middle of the devastation, a new modern facility is rising.

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