Caro State Hospital

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Caro State Hospital
Established 1913
Opened 1914
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Caro, MI
Alternate Names
  • Michigan Farm Colony for Epileptics at Wahjamega
  • Wahjamega Farm Colony for Epileptics
  • Caro State Hospital for Epileptics
  • Caro State Home & Training School
  • Caro Regional Mental Health Center


In the spring of 1913 Judge Henry S Hulbert and Tracy W McGregor, members of an organization of Detroit businessmen called the Thursday Noon Group, helped to lead a campaign aimed at social reform of the Detroit area prison and mental health programs of the time. The work of this organization culminated in the creation and passage of the 1921 Act 392 of the public acts, which provided that the state should have the power to "care, custody, and maintenance of feeble-minded persons within such county".[1]

Prior to the passage of this act Hulbert, McGregor, and Fred M. Butzel began to focus on juvenile delinquents, the mentally ill, and persons who were diagnosed with the newly assigned medical condition of Epilepsy. All three men felt that improper care was being given to some of these people, and that segregated institutions that provided more treatment specific care for each persons disorder were more essential to treatment and as such a facility devoted to the treatment of epilepsy was established in 1914 in Wahjamega, a small unincorporated community in the Township of Indianfields, Michigan[2]. Much of the original population of the facility was moved from the then overcrowded Lapeer State Home for Epileptics. By 1928 funding shortfalls had lead to overcrowding here too, and the governor pushed for an expansion of services, which resulted in the state passing a 120 million dollar expansion bill in 1930-32.

This facility gained some fame later on as it was one of several facilities that was involved in forced sterilizations that took place under Michigan laws from 1914 to the mid 1960's[3]. The facility has operated under several names over the years and is currently still in operation as the Caro Regional Mental Health Center. In October 2019, lawmakers authorized construction of a $63 million, 100-bed state psychiatric hospital to replace the current Caro Regional Mental Health Center on the Caro site. There was a groundbreaking in 2017 to build a $115 million, 200-bed, 225,000-square foot hospital; but just as construction was to start, Gov. Whitmer, and Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon halted the project and hired a consulting firm to review it.