Faribault State School

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Faribault State School
Construction Began 1879
Current Status Closed and Preserved
Building Style Cottage Plan
Peak Patient Population 3,355 in 1955
Alternate Names
  • Minnesota Institute for the Deaf, Dumb and Blind
  • Minnesota Institute for Defectives
  • School for the Feeble-Minded
  • School for Feeble-Minded and Colony for Epileptics
  • Minnesota School and Colony
  • Faribault State School and Hospital
  • Faribault Regional Center


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". 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.

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.[1]



  1. Information from: placeography.org