Whitten Village

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Whitten Village
Established 1918
Opened 1920
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Clinton, SC
Alternate Names
  • State Training School for the Feeble-minded
  • Whitten Center


Whitten Village was founded in 1918 as the State Training School for the Feeble-Minded and was initially administered by the Board of Regents for the State Hospital for the Insane. In 1920, before the first dormitory was completed in Clinton, S.C., the institution was placed under the State Board of Public Welfare. In 1923 its name was shortened to the State Training School. The Board of Public Welfare was abolished in 1939, and the school was placed back under the board of regents of the State Hospital. A separate board of trustees for Whitten Village was established by the legislature in 1957, but in 1967 it was placed under the new Department of Mental Retardation, which is now the Dept. of Disabilities and Special Needs. The school was named Whitten Village in 1952 in honor of its superintendent, Dr. B. O. Whitten.

The facility was renamed Whitten Village in 1952 and became Whitten Center in 1972. By the 1950s, with improved funding on the state level and the influx of federal funds, Whitten’s facilities and population increased dramatically. In 1965 Whitten Village served more than 2,500 residents. However, as society moved to a different understanding of mental retardation, the number of patients began to decline. With federal funding going toward public school special education and parents increasingly caring for their children at home, Whitten Center’s population continues to both decline and age. As of January 2002 Whitten Center, under the auspices of the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, housed 372 residents.