Faribault State School and Hospital, Faribault, Minnesota

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Faribault State School and Hospital

Faribault, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year Established: 1879
Year Ended: 1998
Historic Function: Campus (educational)
Historic Function: State Hospital
Notes: Bill Stacker entered the hospital at age seven and remained there for forty-sex years. He was discharged in the early 1960s and after moving to Minneapolis, he met Barry Morrow, a college student and musician. Barry found a position at the School of Social Work at the University of Iowa and Bill accompanied him to Iowa City. The School of Social Work owned a coffee shop where they employed handicapped individuals and used it for other practicum’s for students. Bill worked at the coffee shop and became a local celebrity. He won Iowa’s Handicapped Person of the Year award in 1977.


The Minnesota state legislature authorized the board of directors of the Minnesota Institute for the Deaf, Dumb and Blind to open in 1879 an experimental department for "idiotic and feeble-minded children" (Laws 1879 c31). In July of that year, a class was organized of fifteen children transferred from the Rochester and St. Peter state hospitals. In 1881, the legislature directed that the School for Idiots and Imbeciles was no longer an experimental program and was to be connected with the Minnesota Institute for the Deaf, Dumb and Blind (Laws 1881 c145). In 1887, the school was made a department of the institute and the name was changed to the Minnesota Institute for Defectives (Laws 1887 c205). The name School for the Feeble-Minded was adopted in 1887, changed to the School for Feeble-Minded and Colony for Epileptics, and again changed in 1949, to the Minnesota School and Colony (Laws 1949 c142). It became the Faribault State School and Hospital in 1955 (Laws 1955 c662); in 1967, the Faribault State Hospital (Laws 1967 c6); and in 1985, the Faribault Regional Center (Executive Order No. 85- 17). The institution closed on July 1, 1998.

Activities and Functions

When the school opened it performed the functions of a school, a home, and a hospital. The three distinct departments were the School and Training Department, Custodial or Home Department, and Epileptic Hospital. In its later years, its functions included reducing the dependencies of mentally retarded individuals; providing care, treatment, and training for the purpose of returning persons to as normal a life as possible; assisting families in coping with the problems of mental retardation; fostering public understanding and involvement; promoting development and use of community services; and conducting research into causes, prevention, and treatment of mental retardation. The patient population consisted of persons of all ages representing all types and degrees of mental retardation, many of whom were also physically infirm.

The institution served the entire state until the mid-1950s, with a peak population of 3,355 in 1955. It then became a receiving institution serving 28 counties. Just prior to its closing, it served the counties of Hennepin, Dakota, Rice, Steele and Freeborn, but individuals from a number of other counties were still in residence.


Memories and stories


Olof Hanson, who graduated in 1881 after three years, is possibly the first deaf architect in the nation. He continued living in Faribault after graduating from college and made a living in architecture and teaching at the same School for the Deaf which he attended. [*note: Olof Hanson was a graduate of the MSAD - Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf. Although MSAD is located in Faribault, it is not the same as the Faribault State School. Faribault is also home to a third state school, Minnesota State Academy for the Blind (MSAB)]

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Related Links


  • Minnesota Historical Society History Agnecy
    Personal tools
    [http://discussions.mnhs.org/HP/oneonone.cfm snubnosed]