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Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf

Also known as:
Minnesota School for the Deaf
Active dates:1863 -
Function: The Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf prepares deaf and hard of hearing students to reach their fullest potential by promoting communicative, intellectual, social, physical, and emotional development in every aspect of its programs.
History: Minnesota became a state on May 11, 1858. In that year, during the session of the first state legislature, definite action was taken looking toward the establishment of a school for the deaf children of Minnesota.

The Honorable George E. Skinner, one of Faribault's representatives in the state legislature, asked that a "deaf and dumb asylum" be located in Faribault. The legislature decided that this institution should be located in Faribault if the citizens of the town would provide 40 acres of land within two miles of town for a site.

Citizens promptly donated 40 acres a mile or so west of town for the institution. Here the matter rested for five years. That no action was taken during these five years is not surprising when we recall that this was the time of the Civil War and local rebellion.

When the legislature met in January 1863, Senator Berry of Faribault introduced a bill providing for the inauguration of the proposed school for deaf and blind children.

One of the first steps was to appoint a superintendent for the school. A number of applications were received and one of the commissioners, Mr. Rodney A. Mott, went to Ohio to meet Roswell H. Kinney, one of the teachers at the Ohio School for the Deaf. Mr. Kinney was highly recommended and was named the first superintendent of the Minnesota School for the Deaf.

On returning to Faribault Mr. Mott began looking for a place in which to open the school. There was no money available to put up a building on the 40 acre site. Mr. Mott did the only thing he could. He rented a building in town. The rental was $150 a year. The building was located on Front and Main and had been a store and home. This is now the corner of Central Ave and Division St.. The building was furnished and made ready for the opening of school on the second Wednesday of September, 1863.
(Above history taken from the Minnesota Academy for the Deaf Website, 9/13/2010).
News clippings and documents. Agencies Notebook Collection, 2010.
Record last updated: 09/13/2010

All information on this group from the Library’s collection of agency notebooks has been digitized. These materials are incorporated into the “documents/articles” section of the record. Please contact a librarian with any questions. The Minnesota Agencies database is a work in progress.

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