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Mysterious America

Girl’s School Cemetery in Fox Run Subdivision

This unassuming suburban subdivision was once home to a facility for wayward girls, and the graves of their anonymous children still remain.

  • The Illinois State Training School for Girls at Geneva opened in 1894 and closed in 1978.
  • The facility was known by various names, including The Geneva Reformatory for Girls, Geneva School for Girls, and Illinois Youth Center at Geneva.
  • Some residents report seeing apparitions or hearing infants crying near the old cemetery.

Today, Fox Run Subdivision is situated off Crissey Avenue near the banks of the Fox River. On the other side of the Fabyan County Forest Preserve and Settler’s Hill Golf Course sits the Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, home of the Kane County Cougars minor league baseball team.

On calm summer nights, sounds of the cheering crowd drift across the green and through the trees to the meandering rows of nearly identical houses. The sound disturbs the eerie quiet just inside the treeline, where rows of nearly identical gravestones poke through the grass behind an iron fence.

This tiny cemetery is all that remains of the Illinois State Training School for Girls at Geneva, which for 84 years housed adolescent girls between the ages of 10 and 16 who had been convicted of offenses punishable by law. Inevitably, deaths from illness and suicide occurred at the facility.

Girls without families, or who had been disowned, were buried in a cemetery on the property. Several dozen infants were buried there as well, and today the cemetery contains 51 graves. After the institution closed and was torn down, a plaque was erected at the cemetery that reads:

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