Girls Industrial School at Delaware

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Girls Industrial School at Delaware
Established 1869
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Delaware, OH
Alternate Names
  • State Reform School for Girls
  • Scioto Village School for Girls
  • Scioto Juvenile Correctional Facility (Current)


Founded in 1869 on the west bank of the Scioto River, GIS occupied as much as 189 acres. Many legislators feared that placing juvenile criminals in prisons with adult offenders would further corrupt the youth. The institution was located on the grounds of the former White Sulphur Springs, a resort established in 1847. Many people believed that water from the spring had medicinal qualities. On February 24, 1874, a fire destroyed several of the buildings, but the State of Ohio rebuilt the destroyed structures and, over the years, added several additional buildings.

In 1901, the Girls' Industrial Home consisted of a 189-acre farm on the west bank of the Scioto River. Eleven buildings comprised the Girls' Industrial Home at this point, including an administration building, a school building, a hospital, and eight cottages to house the inmates. Each cottage held between forty and fifty girls.

C.M. Ginther of the Dayton News wrote in 1920 that: “When the school was established fifty-one years ago, its purpose was misunderstood. Its founders had a definite aim, but, unhappily, the public obtained a perverted notion about it. The idea gained credence that it was a place of punishment where girls from 8 to 21 years of age were incarcerated for disobedience or wilfulness. Apparently no shred of the truth reached the public mind that it was a school in which the best theories of modern education were followed. Girls admitted to the place were, by the very fact, ostracized and given a character which bordered on depravity. When they left the school the public regarded them with suspicion.” And, yet, the very next year, the school was officially described as a place for “the instruction, employment and reformation of evil-disposed, incorrigible, and vicious girls.”