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Downtown Entrance Statements

Oakdale Building Cupolas

DSCThe City of Lapeer was once the home of the first institute for the disabled in Michigan.  The center was originally named The State Home for the Feeble Minded and Epileptic.  In 1937 the name changed to The Lapeer State Home and Training School. The name changed again in 1972 to Oakdale Center for Development Disabilities. 

Construction at the site on W. Genesee St. started in April 1894. The first patients were admitted on August 20, 1895.  The State home was fully self sufficient.  They provided their own food, had a dairy farm and even did their own laundry.  There were also covered corridors to move patients from one building to the next in the complex.  Oakdale was actually listed in Ripley’s Believe It or Not for having the largest covered passageways in the world.

This institution was once among the world’s largest of its kind.  Oakdale had over 2,000 acres, 58 buildings, and a population that peaked at 4,600 plus.  The institution was the largest employer in Lapeer County.  In September of 1991 the last three residents left Oakdale. There is very little of the Center remaining today which is the location of Mott Community College -  Lapeer and Chatfield School.   When the buildings in the complex were removed, the distinctive cupolas on Building 35 and on Building 36 were saved and added to the city signs as the Downtown Entrance Statements to historic downtown Lapeer.  These cupolas are signature structures in the Lapeer area.

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