Lincoln State School
|Lincoln State School|
|Building Style||Cottage Plan|
|Alternate Names||Illinois Asylum for Feeble-Minded Children,
Lincoln State School and Colony,Lincoln Developmental Center
In 1865 the General Assembly instructed the directors of the Illinois Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb to establish an Experimental School for the Instruction and Training of Idiots and Feeble-Minded Children in the State of Illinois. The school was temporarily located in Jacksonville and after a five-year trial period the General Assembly incorporated it as the Illinois Institution for the Education of Feeble-Minded Children.
As one of the state's permanent charitable institutions, it was to provide care, support, training, and education for mentally deficient children. A three-member board of trustees, appointed by the Governor, exercised general supervision and selected a superintendent to operate the institution. They also were subject to the investigative authority of the Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities. Appropriations for the acquisition of land and the construction of buildings were made in 1875 but the institution's permanent quarters in Lincoln were not occupied until 1878. In 1877 the institution's name became the Illinois Asylum for Feeble-Minded Children.
The institution had its own hospital and shops in which inmates manufactured brushes, mattresses, and shoes. Inmates also worked on a nearby farm owned and operated by the institution.
In 1909 the Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities and the boards of trustees of all state charitable institutions were abolished and executive and administrative control was transferred to the newly created Board of Administration. Under the new board the institution became Lincoln State School and Colony.
With the passage of the Civil Administrative Code in 1917 the Department of Public Welfare assumed all responsibility for the school and retained control until the creation of the Department of Mental Health in 1961. The school's name which had been shortened to Lincoln State School in 1953 was again altered to Lincoln Developmental Center in 1975. After years of investigations into neglect and abuse of patients, the facility closed on August 31, 2002.