Indiana School for Feeble-Minded Youth -- Fort Wayne State School Mortality Lists
The Indiana School for Feeble-Minded Youth in Fort Wayne opened its doors in 1890 on East State Street, in an area that was, at the time, in the country. The school's campus included the Administration Building, cottages, a school, an industrial arts building, a hospital, and a gymnasium. The vocational arts were divided by gender, with men learning carpentry, agriculture, painting, upholstering and the making of mattresses, shoes and bricks, and the women learning the domestic arts of cleaning, cooking, canning, dressmaking, loom weaving and laundry. Residents came from all over the state. In 1931, the 1130 resident capacity facility housed 172, and had a waiting list of 200. That same year, the legislature changed the school's name to Fort Wayne State School.
In 1960, many residents moved to the new site at Stellhorn and St. Joe Roads, but some residents continued to live at the old school for about 20 years. After a number of years in which the State Street campus was inhabited by vagrants and rats, the Administration Building was demolished in 1982 to make way for North Side Park, which became Bob Arnold Northside Park. The Park Department saved a stone archway to leave as memorial to the former residents.
These mortality lists are taken from the Annual Reports of the Fort Wayne State School to the Governor, and cover the time period from November 1912 to June 1937. (ACPL call number GC 977.202 F77fmy.) After that time, the reports did not list the deaths. The report includes name, age, date and cause of death, and evaluation grade. Actual death records were created for each individual and are part of the Allen County Death Records. Microfiche copies of the Allen County Death Records to 1932 are held at The Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library. Later death records can be obtained from the State Vital Records Office. Among other information, death records could provide birthplace and parents' names, when known. Also provided are burial places. Some deceased residents were buried in their hometowns, others in various cemeteries in Allen County, including the institution's cemetery, located in Section 19 of St. Joseph Township, on the west side of St. Joe Road, between Broyles and Canterbury Boulevards. There is one large stone, dated 1901 to 1967, but the graves were never marked. It is probable that some of those bodies supposedly buried at the school cemetery were instead donated for medical research. Many deceased inmates, however, were buried in other cemeteries or returned to their hometowns for burial.
This database may be searched in the following ways:
- Fuzzy -- will search for that string of characters. Searching for Smith would find Smith, Smithson, Arrowsmith, etc.
- Exact -- will search only for that exact text. Searching for Smith will find only Smith.
- Soundex -- will search for the Soundex equivalent. Searching for Smith will find Smith, Smythe, Schmidt, etc.