State Reform School for Boys at Marysville

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State Reform School for Boys at Marysville
Established 1860
Opened 1861
Closed 1868
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Marysville, CA
Alternate Names


The early 1860s was a time of upheaval. California had only been a state for a little more than a decade. The official California capital city had yet to be determined and wouldn’t be named until 1879. Multiple cities vied for the designation, hoping to land state facilities to better their chances. It was in this setting that California established the State Reform School in Marysville in 1860. The school was constructed in 1861 and opened near the end of the year. The new school housed eight boys in April 1862 and 13 later in the year. Meanwhile, San Francisco’s reform school housed many more children at a significantly reduced per-inmate cost.

The Assembly passed an act (Assembly Bill 505) providing for the removal of the inmates of the State Reform School (in Marysville) to the Industrial School, San Francisco in 1866. An 1867 report to Gov. Frederick F. Low showed the school was still running in Marysville. By 1868, the Marysville reform school was a “deserted village,” according to newspapers. The Secretary of State was given charge of the Reform School property and it was shut down. Marysville’s remaining youths were transferred to the Industrial School in San Francisco.