Sunday, January 23, 2011

Linen Finney Military Hospital

I spent today on set at the former Linen Finney Military Hospital, now Southwestern State Hospital, in Thomasville, Ga. 

On my way to the hospital, I saw a historical marker sign and made a note to check it on my way back home. Aaron told me I needed to drive back to the barracks, which is where they were shooting. Naturally, I was confused, because I don't know of many hospitals with barracks. What I didn't know then was how old the hospital was and what it was originally built for. 

According to the Georgia Historical Society:
"Finney General Hospital , named in honor of Brigadier General John M.T. Finney, was authorized September 30, 1942, and dedicated June 16, 1943, on this site. Finney was one of sixty Army hospitals across the country built to care for sick and wounded World War II soldiers. Under Colonel Samuel M. Browne, Finney grew to two hundred buildings including hospital wards, a theater, gymnasium, chapel, bowling alley and barracks for German prisoners of war. Numerous celebrities visited to entertain patients and staff. Citizens of Thomas County provided support through the Grey Ladies Corps, plantation picnics, use of the YMCA, and lodging for soldiers’ families in private homes. Finney General closed December 15, 1945, having treated 23,055 WWII veterans."

It was really cool to be in the very barracks Nazi POWs were held as a movie about that era was filmed. Serendipitously, the show needed barracks, and the cast got a location that actually was used for that purpose. 

I'm not sure if the buildings we were in were the actual barracks used for the Nazi POWs, but I think it is so cool. You can't do much better as a production designer or producer to find a location that is actually built for the movie you're shooting. The location is a working hospital, and it was a lovely campus, though the building the crew shot in is now used for storage. 

Aaron adjusting his ear piece and his walkie at lunch. 
Long hallway in the barrack.
Mottled sunlight on the set.
1AD taking a nap on set at lunch time.

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