The Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School in Mt Pleasant is a strange and mysterious looking place, and doing some research I found that it’s history is strange and mysterious too.
According to wikipedia the first building was erected in 1892 for the purposes of educating Native American children and the eight-classroom building opened to the first seventeen students in June of 1893. Enrollment had increased significantly and in the coming years it was necessary to build additional buildings to house all of the students and their daily activities. These included separate boys and girls dormitories, a hospital, a woodworking and blacksmith shop; a building for industrial training, a dining hall, a clubhouse for the employees of the school, several farm buildings.
Some accounts I have read make it sound as if it was a wonderful place to “educate” Native Americans but while researching about the Marquette Orphanage, I know that many of these places run by the government were used as a way to “reform” native American children, I also found references that claim abuse of the children and strip them of there heritage.
The school closed on June 6, 1934 when the State of Michigan took over the property for Michigan Department of Mental Health services and it became The Mount Pleasant Branch of the Michigan Home and Training School. The intent of this home and training school was to house and train mentally handicapped young men. Many of the boys were abandoned; some were juvenile criminals that did not understand their crime or charges in court. Some of the residence were physically handicapped, but a majority of the residents had some kind of mental health issue.
There are rumors of abuse to the patents by the staff. I know what we find horrific, was accepted back then, but who knows what has happened at that facility over the years it was in operation.
I have had people tell me it also housed the criminally insane including murders and rapists but I am not sure about that, I think it gets confused with a correctional facility in Iowa called the Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute originally known as the Iowa Lunatic Asylum which opened in 1861.
An old Native American cemetery is on or near the property and 174 undocumented children died at the school along with its history as a mental institution it is rumored to be haunted.
It was designated as a State Historic Landmark in 1986 and you can see some of the buildings on Crawford road, I took my photos from the road, I was told it was patrolled and they watch closely for trespassers. Patrolled or not, I don’t trespass and I would advise anyone against it.
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