This building is all that remains of the former Morris Industrial School for Indians. Built in 1899, it along with a classroom building, a superintendent's residence, a laundry, a bath house, and a barn were added to the Indian mission school originally established by Mother Mary Joseph Lynch and the Sisters of Mercy in 1887.
The Sisters of Mercy mission school at Morris housed Chippewa Indians from Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota and Dakota Indians from Sisseton Reservation in South Dakota. The mission school was operated under a contract with the federal government, whose policy prior to 1887 had been to isolate Indians on reservations. After 1887, the Dawes Severalty Act emphasized assimilation of Indians into mainstream culture. Mission boarding schools were established to fill the need for an education system. In Minnesota, many of these boarding schools including the Morris School, were administered by the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions.
In 1896 federal policy changed again, and administration of the Morris Indian mission school was transferred to the federal government. The Indian Industrial School at nearby Clontarf was closed and its students were transferred to Morris, where they were offered both industrial and academic classes. The combined school at Morris continued to operate until 1909.
growing opposition to Indian boarding schools, the federal government again changed its policies and abandoned the concept. The Morris Industrial School for Indians was one of the first five federal Indian schools to be transferred to state governments for use in their general education systems. In 1909, the school was renamed the West Central School of Agriculture, and in 1960, changed to the University of Minnesota, Morris.