1880 : Michigan School for the Blind Opens in Lansing

September 29, 2018 all-day

Michigan School, Lansing
1859 building originally built for the Michigan Female College
Occupied by school in 1880
North and south wings added, 1884
William P. Appleyard, architect
Building still in use
engraving, 1886-88 biennial report

Michigan began educating the blind in 1859 at Flint’s Michigan Asylum. In 1879 the legislature established the Michigan School for the Blind, which opened here on September 29, 1880, with 35 students. The next year, five students were its first graduates. At first students learned by lecture/demonstrations, but in 1884-85 the school introduced braille reading and writing. The first deaf/blind student was enrolled in 1887. By the 1950s the school boasted its largest enrollment, three hundred children in kindergarten through grade twelve. Student activities included music, drama and track. In 1960 and 1963 student wrestlers won class B state championships.

Enrollment declined in the late 1970s, owing to a combination of state budget cuts and a changing educational philosophy. By 1996, local schools mainstreamed disabled students and the Lansing campus was phased out.

Source : Michigan Historical Marker, the only Michigan Historical Marker with the text also in braille.

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