Genoa State Hospital

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Genoa State Hospital
Established 1884
Opened 1936 (as a state hospital)
Closed 1951
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Genoa, NE
Alternate Names
  • Genoa Indian Industrial School
  • Genoa State Farm


The Indian Industrial School at Genoa was the fourth non-reservation boarding institution established by the Office of Indian Affairs. The facility opened on February 20, 1884, and, like other such schools, its mission stressed assimilation into white society through a combination of manual training and education. The village of Genoa was selected because the Federal Government already owned the former Pawnee Reservation property there and it was several days ride from any reservation. The students that came to the Genoa Indian school were from all over the United States and over 40 tribes. In time the school grew from the original 74 students to an enrollment of 599, and encompassed over 30 buildings on 640 acres.

As the Great Depression of the 1930s worsened, Indian parents became more willing to send their children to boarding schools. In 1933, the Bureau of Indian Affairs notified Indian boarding schools to enroll only the neediest of children. Soaring enrollments, encouraged by the bad economic times of the Depression, was the reason for limiting enrollment. In 1934, the government closed the Genoa Indian School.

The Genoa Indian School was donated to the state of Nebraska in 1934. The Legislature in 1935 designated it the Genoa State Hospital. In 1937 the Legislature changed the name to Genoa State Farm. The Penitentiary discontinued its operation during the W.W. II period. When it closed it was given to the University of Nebraska and made into a seed farm. In 1951 most of the buildings were auctioned off.

In 1976, the Genoa Indian School was declared a State Historical Site and in 1978 it was designated as a National Historical Site. Today the Genoa US Indian School Foundation operates the facility as the Genoa U.S. Indian School Museum. The museum attracts about 3,000 visitors annually. The only building that remains from the school is the Manual Training building which has been restored with new windows, doors, heating and air conditioning.