The Abandoned Forest Haven Institution in Laurel, Maryland | Abandoned America

From its foundation in 1925, the District Training School for the Mentally Retarded was less about treating those with physical or developmental disabilities than it was removing them from sight. The school's Laurel, Maryland site was chosen by Congress for its rural location and to replace the appallingly named Washington Home for Colored Idiots, which residents of the nearby Logan Circle neighborhood had pressured lawmakers to close. The new training school's campus comprised approximately 300 acres and 22 buildings, including a cafeteria, a recreation center, a gym, a theater, a baseball field, a hospital, a chapel, administrative offices, school buildings, dormitories, and a farm. Described as state of the art, programs like the ones held in the farm colony were designed to teach residents useful skills that would eventually help them find jobs in the region, such as tending crops and milking cows.

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