State Public School at Coldwater
In 1871 the Michigan legislature authorized the building of a special state public school to furnish temporary support and instruction for dependent and neglected children between the ages of four and sixteen until they could be placed in homes or returned to their families. The school was opened in Coldwater on May 21, 1874. Once admitted, children participated in "family-like" life in cottages and a placing-out program. A third of each day was used for schoolwork, a third for recreation and entertainment, and a third for acquiring work skills. Children learned reading, spelling, counting, calisthenics, singing, cyphering, and slate drawing. By the turn of the century the facility had become the only home in Michigan admitting both normal and handicapped children.
Coldwater Regional Center
By an act of the state legislature the State Public School became the Michigan Children's Village in 1835. The facility then began to admit only children with mild mental impairments. Most of the former residents were transferred to the Michigan Childrern's Institute, established in Ann Arbor in 1935. In 1939 the Children's Village became the Coldwater State Home and Training School, and persons of all ages with more serious mental handicaps were admitted. By 1960 there were twenty-nine hundred residents. During the 1970s special education, training and living experiences in communities reduced the number of residents to less than seven hundred. Renamed the Coldwater Regional Center for Development Disabilities in 1978, the remodeled facility provides training programs for independent living and self-help.