Filming location is Ford Complex at Berry College – DIRT
Some architecture tends to lend itself to the macabre, with Gothic Revival, Victorian and Richardsonian Romanesque styles naturally evoking haunting images and thoughts. It’s no surprise, then, that filmmakers turn to such designs time and time again to serve as backdrops for productions of a dark nature. Take, for example, the Ford Complex, a touching collection of English Gothic structures framed by a vast forest that has been selected to pose as a spooky mental institution in not one, but two recent productions, notably as Pennhurst Mental Hospital on the final season of ‘Stranger Things’.
Allegedly located in County Kerley, Ind., on the beloved, real-life Netflix series, the striking resort sits on the grounds of Berry College, a private liberal arts school in 2277 Martha Berry Highway NW in Mount Berry, Georgia, about 70 miles northwest of Atlanta. (Bonus – the Victorian residence used as The Creel family home on the show is a few miles south at 906 E. 2nd Ave. in neighboring Rome.)
Originally established at the turn of the 20th century, the college’s history is rooted in selflessness. Its creation was born thanks to Martha Berry, the daughter of a wealthy local businessman, who met some local children while reading a bible on his property one fateful day and was discouraged to discover that they did not attend school or church regularly. To remedy the problem, she began leading weekly Sunday school classes. The gatherings became so popular that in 1902 she officially established the Boys’ Industrial School on 83 acres of woodland she had inherited from her father. An all-girls institution and junior and senior colleges then followed.
Work and giving became part of the teachings of the college. The New Georgia Encyclopedia website explains: “From its inception, the Berry program has emphasized the regenerative power of work. Diligent work, she believed, would foster the character of her students by encouraging responsibility and a sense of self-esteem. Beginning in 1914, students in the schools worked eight hours each week on two consecutive days and attended classes on four other days. The labor program helped keep operating costs low, as students built the campus and maintained its facilities, and allowed students to use their labor to pay for all their tuition and expenses.