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Geneva, Illinois

Illinois State Training School Cemetery

The Illinois State Training School was an institution for “wayward” girls in Geneva, Illinois. Built around the turn of the century, it was in operation into the 1970s.  

Many of its alumni describe it not as a school but rather as a cruel prison, with locked doors and bared windows.  Girls describe being sent to the “hole” and of being beaten for minor offenses. Some reports state that Chicago journalists at the time accused the institution of using handcuffs and whips.

Some of the girls were sent to the institution for being with child out of wedlock, and there were accusations that many of the children were never returned to the mothers. This small cemetery is all that remains of the institution today.

Know Before You Go

The small cemetery sits between houses on a residential street. It has a fence around it. Just outside of the cemetery there is a walking path into the woods. There is a stone pillar at the start of the path. It seems plausible that this pillar might remain from the institute.