DIXON DEVELOPMENTAL CENTER
Contributed by Karen Holt
And thanks to Elsie Harmon for providing some "dates" we need

Illinois State Colony for Epileptics
Dixon State Hospital
Dixon State School
Dixon Developmental Center
Mabley Developmental Center


Dixon State Hospital

1899 Illinois General Assembly established Illinois State Colony of Epileptics under Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities

1909 Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities and the boards of trustees of all state charitable institutions were abolished and executive and administrative control was transferred to the newly created Board of Administration, however no funds for construction and operation were appropriated until 1913. Dixon , Illinois was chosen as location for the Illinois State Colony of Epileptics and construction began. Finances for construction and operation were slow in coming.

1917 The Department of Public Welfare assumed all responsibility for the school when the Civil Administrative Code was passed.

1918 May 1 school opened under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Welfare

1921 Renamed Dixon State Hospital to reflect the change in duties. The institution expanded to include care for the mentally retarded when residents of Lincoln State School , Lincoln , Illinois were transferred to Dixon to alleviate overcrowding.

1927 School of Practical Nursing opened

1953 Governor William Stratton approved name change from Dixon State Hospital to Dixon State School .

1961 Department of Mental Health assumed control of the facility from the Department of Public Welfare.

1967 The School of Practical Nursing closed

1975 Name changed by the Illinois General Assembly to Dixon Developmental Center but remains a state run residential home for the mentally disabled.

Unknown date Name changed to Mabley Developmental Center. It was named in honor of Jack Mabley (1915–2006),an American newspaper reporter and columnist for his generous support and fundraising activities for the center. This included his creation of the Forgotten Children's Fund, which raised money for the center.

NOTE: The Mabley Development Center at 1120 Washington Ave. , Dixon , IL 61021 is a state operated intermediate care facility for mentally retarded.
These buildings are located south of where the original property of the Dixon State School that I remember was located.

Other tidbits of remembrance.

This institution had a significant part in the Dixon and Lee County community. There are many women who received their nurse’s training there. There were so many people who found employment at Dixon State Hospital/School. Churches held religious services there. They had a Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troop. Many in the community went there to entertain the residents. I found a note in Ronald Reagan: the presidential portfolio by Lou Cannon - 1920 “Two years later, according to a newspaper account, mother and son entertained patients at Dixon State Hospital “with a short and enjoyable program” that included a banjo performance by Nelle and two readings by Ronald.” Residents also were entertained by residents of the school. In newspaper July 18, 1947 Coming Social Events section I found this: American Legion Auxiliary. Lee county council picnic and program for veterans at Dixon State Hospital . May 7, 1949 sports page headline: Mayor to Toss First Ball in Sunday Opener, Bands Will Play; Locals Face Paw Paw. The article goes on to say “The Dixon State hospital band will play before and during the game and there’s a possibility, too that the hospital’s crack Boy Scout drum and bugle corps will also drill.” An update inserted states: The Dixon State hospital bank will play a concert starting about 1:30 p.m. tomorrow. A drill by the Boy Scout drum and bugle corps is scheduled a short while later. Definite word that the corps would be at the opener was announced by the hospital authorities today.” I do remember the Drum and Bugle Corp marching in parades in Dixon .

Dixon State Hospital/School was a very large facility. One report listed 2918 residents in 1931 and 2505 in 1932. A report for 1954 stated it had more than 5,000 residents.

In 1999 the average number of residents at the Mabley Developmental Center was 104. The Mabley Developmental Center focuses exclusively on the developmentally disabled.

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