Michigan School for the Blind

The Michigan School for the Blind is a former academic campus at 715 W. Willow Street in Lansing, Michigan. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2018.[1]

Michigan School for the Blind
Michigan School for the Blind administration building Lansing.jpg
Old Main (The Abagail)
Location715 W. Willow St., Lansing, Michigan
Coordinates42°44′54″N 84°33′53″W / 42.74833°N 84.56472°W / 42.74833; -84.56472 (Michigan School for the Blind)Coordinates: 42°44′54″N 84°33′53″W / 42.74833°N 84.56472°W / 42.74833; -84.56472 (Michigan School for the Blind)
Built1912 (1912)
ArchitectEdwin Bowd
Architectural styleNeoclassical
NRHP reference No.100002714[1]
Added to NRHPJuly 26, 2018


In the 1850s, Abigail Rogers and Delia Rogers founded the Michigan Female College, constructing a campus in Lansing at this site. State colleges began admitting women in 1869, eliminating the need for a Female College and the institution was closed. The building spent a brief time as an Oddfellows Hall. By 1879, the Michigan School for the Blind and Deaf, then located in Flint, Michigan, needed a second campus for students with different needs. The former Michigan Female College became the Michigan School for the Blind.[2]

Over time, the school required more space. In the 1910s, the school hired architect Edwyn Bowd to design a new high school (constructed in 1912), a superintendent's house (constructed in 1914), and a new “Old Main” building (also called the Abigail), which was constructed in 1915. Older buildings were eventually demolished, leaving these as the oldest structures on the campus.

By the 1970s, attendance at the school was declining. By 1996, the Lansing campus was closed. The campus was sold to the Lansing Housing Commission. Redevelopment was slow and the campus was refurbished piecemeal.[2] The main section of the campus, including the high school and the Abagail, was purchased by a developer, with a plan to renovate them into housing units announced in 2016.[3] The first phase was completed in 2018.[4]


Old Main is a three-story Neoclassical structure built from brick and limestone. It is an E-shaped structure, and has been enlarged several times.[5]

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ a b "National Register of Historic Places Program: Weekly List: 7/19/2018 - 7/27/2018". National Park Service. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Lawrence Cosentino. "The Abigail waits for a mission".
  3. ^ Eric Lacy (January 19, 2016). "School for the Blind site primed for historic rebirth". Lansing State Journal.
  4. ^ Eric Lacy (June 5, 2018). "Historic Michigan campus near Old Town shows signs of revitalization, seeks tenants". Lansing State Journal Published.
  5. ^ "Michigan School for the Blind / Administration Building". MichMarkers. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  6. ^ Egan, Paul (March 31, 2017). "Robert Mahoney, Michigan's first blind state lawmaker, dead at 95". The Detroit Free Press.
  7. ^ "About the Hosts". Doug Spade. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  8. ^ "Stevie Wonder: 'I'm going to take a break'; will have kidney transplant this September". Detroit News.
  9. ^ Tillotson, Kristin (22 June 2014). "Blind woodworker has a magic touch: 'You learn to see with your hands'". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Retrieved 2019-11-05.