Dixon State School

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Dixon State School
Established 1899
Opened 1918
Closed 1983
Current Status Closed as a State School.
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Dixon, IL
Peak Patient Population 5,100 in 1953
Alternate Names
  • Illinois State Colony for Epileptics
  • Dixon State Hospital
  • Dixon Developmental Center
  • Jack Mabley Developmental Center


In 1899 the General Assembly instructed the Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities to prepare plans for the establishment of the Illinois State Colony for Epileptics and to report to the Governor on their activities. However no funds for construction and operation were appropriated until 1913.

A site in Dixon was chosen and construction began under the supervision of the Board of Administration which had succeeded in 1909 to the responsibilities of the Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities. The colony opened on May 1, 1918. Since the Board of Administration had been abolished by the Civil Administrative Code of 1917, the new institution came under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Welfare.

Although the institution originally was designed for the care of epileptics only its duties soon expanded to include care for the feeble-minded. To reflect this change, the colony was renamed Dixon State Hospital and later Dixon State School. A school for practical nursing also was opened in 1927. The Department of Mental Health assumed control of Dixon State School in 1961 and changed its name to Dixon Developmental Center in 1975.


Main Image Gallery: Dixon State School