Lakin Industrial School for Colored Boys, north of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, was a reform school for blacks.
Lakin Industrial School for Colored Boys was founded by T.G. Nutter, Harry Capehart and T.J. Coleman, three black state legislators that created several state-funded reform institutions for blacks between 1919 and 1921.1 2 Several buildings were constructed west of West Virginia Route 62 in rural Mason County near Lakin State Hospital. A three-story brick school building was built in 1924 out of fireproof materials and was the first structure to be finished.1 A gymnasium was added in the 1940’s, along with several auxiliary buildings.
Lakin Industrial School closed in 1956, only two years after the Brown versus Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision that led to the gradual desegregation of many public schools and colleges the United States. Those who remained before its closure were transferred to the Pruntytown Industrial School at Pruntytown.1 The Lakin complex was later acquired by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services and then deeded over to the West Virginia Department of Agriculture in 1976 for use as storage.
An arson attempt in 2000 did very little damage to the school, a testament to the brute strength of the fireproof building even after decades of abandonment.1 In November 2006, the Lakin Industrial School was demolished.
- Sergent, Beth. “Tumbling into history.” Point Pleasant Register 18 Nov. 2006. Web. 25 Nov. 2006. Article.
- Shawkey, Moris Purdy. “West Virginia In History, Life, Literature and Industry.” 1928.