Lakin Industrial School

The OES visited the Lakin Industrial School for Colored Boys on August 14, 2005. While visiting the TNT area and the town of Point Pleasant, WV, we stumbled upon this former boy’s home while driving along WV Route 62. The building was often misidentified as insane asylum Lakin State Hospital, but the hospital was actually located just south of the boy’s home. Built in 1924, the Lakin Industrial School for Colored Boys was founded by T.G. Nutter, Harry Capehart, and T.J. Coleman, three African-American legislators who created several state-funded reform institutions for African-American between 1919 and 1921. The structure was built from fireproof materials and was very sturdy. A gymnasium and several outbuildings were added in the 1940s.

The school employed an African-American staff and housed African-American juvenile delinquents who worked on the surrounding farm. In 1954, the Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, desegregated many public schools and colleges in West Virginia, including the industrial school in 1956. The inmates who were still incarcerated at the school were transferred to the industrial school in Pruntytown. After the facility was abandoned, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services acquired the building but eventually transferred it to the West Virginia Department of Agriculture in 1976. In 2000, a fire did very little damage to the building, a testament to the strength of the structure, even after being abandoned for nearly fifty years. American Electric Power acquired the property and demolished the Lakin school in November 2006 to make room for their river operations.

Location Information: Demolished

The Lakin Industrial School for Colored Boys was located west of WV Route 62, north of Point Pleasant; Mason County, WV.