Florida Farm Colony

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Florida Farm Colony
Florida Farm Colony
Established 1915
Construction Began 1919
Opened 1921
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Gainesville, FL
Alternate Names
  • Florida Farm Colony for the Feeble Minded and Epileptic
  • Sunland Training Center
  • Tacachale DDC (Current)


The Florida Farm Colony began in 1915 with the establishment of a legislative commission to study the needs of persons who were "feeble-minded" and epileptic. This resulted in November 1921 with the opening of the Florida Farm Colony for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic in Gainesville, Florida on a 3000-acre tract. This was the first state-funded program for residents with developmental challenges. It began with three buildings and 240 residents. During the New Deal in the 1930s, the PWA built several more buildings. The Florida Farm Colony had a capacity of 550 patients by 1939, when the name of the institute was slightly altered to reflect new nomenclature (Dell, 1939). It became The Florida Farm Colony for Epileptic and Mentally Deficient Children. Thus established, it remained the only public facility for mentally retarded children in Florida for over 30 years.

In 1957, it became the state-run Sunland Training Center, soon followed by other Sunland hospitals across the state. By 1959, the Gainesville Sunland had 1400 children, with a waiting list of 800 more, and a typical wait time of 18 months for admission. In the 1960s, Sunland centers and hospitals were opened in five other Florida cities. Today it operates under the name of Tacachale DDC.

Images of Florida Farm Colony[edit]

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