Coldwater State Home

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Coldwater State Home
Established 1871
Opened 1874
Closed 1992
Current Status Closed
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Coldwater, MI
Alternate Names
  • Coldwater Regional Mental Health Center
  • State Public School for Orphaned Children
  • Michigan Children's Village
  • Coldwater State Home and Training School
  • Coldwater Regional Center for Developmental Disabilities


The Coldwater Regional Mental Health Center opened in 1874 as the State Public School for Orphaned Children. The school was opened in Coldwater on May 21, 1874. Once admitted, children participated in "family-like" life in cottages and a placing-out program. A third of each day was used for schoolwork, a third for recreation and entertainment, and a third for acquiring work skills. Children learned reading, spelling, counting, calisthenics, singing, cyphering and slate drawing. By the turn of the century, the facility had become the only home in Michigan admitting both normal and handicapped children.

In 1939 the Children's Village became the Coldwater State Home and Training School, and persons of all ages with more serious handicaps were admitted. By 1960 there were 2,900 residents. During the 1970s, special education, training and living experiences in communities reduced the number of residents to less than 700. Renamed the Coldwater Regional Center of Developmental Disabilities in 1978, the remodeled facility provides training programs for independent living and self-help. In 1985 the center began to convert to a psychiatric hospital, and in 1986 its name changed to the Coldwater Regional Mental Health Center. The Coldwater Regional Center for Developmental Disabilities closed in 1992. The Michigan Department of Corrections acquired the facilities for the Florence Crane Correctional Facility and Camp Branch, a minimum security prison camp. Camp Branch closed in 2009 and Florence Crane closed in 2011, but Lakeland Correctional Facility is still operational.



Waiting for Home: The Richard Prangley Story : A True Story of Strength and Survival, by John Schneider. Grand Rapids, Mich. : William Eeerdmans Pub., 1998. Free eBook from the Internet Archive


The Delicate Duty of Child Saving: Coldwater, Michigan, 1871-1896, by Patterson, R. S. and Rooke, Patricia. Michigan History, Volume 61, No. 3 (May 1977), pp. 194-219.