(Rosewood State Training School)

200 Rosewood Lane, Owing Mills, MD

Status: Former State School for the Developmentally Disabled; Partially Demolished; University Campus


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Attribution: SheepNotGoats at English Wikipedia


In March of 1888 the Maryland State Legislature approved the construction of State facility for idiots and the feeble minded. They approved only $10,000 ($323,190 in 2023) toward the goal of finding a location and building the institute.

 All children between 7 and 17 were to be enrolled for free while younger children were to be charged $250 (just over $8,000 in 2023) to enroll.

Unlike most other similar institutions at the time there was no golden period in the beginning for Rosewood. Right from the beginning there not enough of anything due to the insufficient funds. So right from the start only children judged able to be trained were admitted to the school.

Only white children were to be admitted. Boys were taught farming and carpentry and the girls were taught sewing and other domestic training. The idea was that these “inmates” – yes that’s what they were called – would be self-sufficient when the school released them at 17.

The State pushed very hard for the asylum to be completely self-supporting almost from day one. All buildings were constructed by the boys as well aas most of the farming duties; girls made and repaired all the clothes as well as milking the cows.

In 1900 the Rosewood Board proposed a construction school to be opened for colored students and a new building for epileptics; the State turned both ideas down. The epileptic building was only constructed later due to private funding.

During this time the State passed a bill moving all insane and feeble-minded children from the almshouses to asylums. This overcrowded the facility even more but, at least, got them more State money.

Between 1911 and 1933, in the worst example of mistreatment of it’s charges, the asylum sold 166 inmates – mostly girls – to the rich. The children, through no fault of their own, became indentured to there owners and were used as unpaid or sold into sexual slavery.

Many of these children would be dead within 1 or 2 years; usually due to mistreatment and/or malnutrition.

In 1943 the physically handicapped were admitted to the school and by 1950 all age restrictions were removed regarding admittance.

In 1956 the asylum finally began to admit African American patients.

By 1968 the population had exploded to 2,700 patients and there was no longer any effort to educate them. Classrooms were converted into housing and many patients were expected to live at the school for their entire lives.

By the end of the 1960’s focus turned toward moving the developmentally disabled back into the community. Although they were no longer required to be self-supporting but, rather, were moved into group homes. After reaching its highest point the facility’s population began to drop.

In 1981 the US Justice Department declared the residents of the school were not receiving even the minimal level of adequate care. This led to the oldest buildings on the campus being condemned and all patients were moved to the newer buildings.

In 2006 the original main building was burnt to the ground in a case of arson.

In 2009 another of the old buildings went up in flames and the fire department allowed it to burn as it was slated for demolition. This fire was ruled as possible arson.

On June 30,2009 the facility was closed permanently, and all remaining patients were moved to other facilities.

The grounds and remaining buildings are now owned by Stevenson University that are converting them into sports fields and as an addition to the Faculty of Education.

Per satellite view on Google Maps some buildings remain but many of them are just concrete pads now.


Paranormal Activity

The most common reports are of the apparition of a woman in a window of the main building. Of course, that building burnt down in 2006 so these reports are impossible to confirm.

Other Reported Activity: apparitions of former patients and staff both on the grounds and in the buildings; shadow figures including those that interact with the living up to and including physical contact; powerful empathic feelings of despair, hopelessness and fear (meaning fear that the patients felt when they were alive; not your fear of the paranormal); cold and warm spots; unexplained mists; disembodied voices; touches, pokes and prods from unseen entities; phantom footsteps; unexplained sounds including whispers, breathing, screams, crying and loud bangs; objects moving on their own; electrical disturbances and feelings of not being alone, being watched and being followed.