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Lakeside for Children (Kalamazoo, Mich.)



Lakeside for Children was established as Lake Farm for Boys by William S. Dewing, an English-born Kalamazoo businessman, on September 30, 1907.

By the spring of 1908, 55 acres of farmland were purchased on the shores of Whites Lake just south of downtown Kalamazoo. Newspaper accounts of the grand opening said that the new home was “the first of its kind in Michigan” for destitute and homeless boys and was one of the few in the whole nation.

The population of boys on campus slowly grew after 1909 and by 1942 numbered 42 ranging in ages from 6 to 16. The average stay was three years. Many were orphans, but others that were abused and neglected, or those from poor families that could not care for them.

Through the years, private gifts and a trickle of aid from the State of Michigan helped offset expenses, as did the sale of eggs, milk, and crops raised on the campus farm. An annual “letter campaign” begun in 1925 and donations from local benefactors paid for campus improvements and operational expenses.

In 1877, William G. and Jane Tuttle Dewing opened the Children’s Home for young girls who could not attend traditional classrooms because of family difficulties. The three story was later renamed Dewing Hall for Young Girls. After operating in houses at W. Main, Douglas Ave., and Potter St., their program for girls was blessed with a three-story brick building in the 800 block of South Westnedge Ave. in 1877 that became known as the Kalamazoo Children’s Home. (The structure was razed in 1972.)

The program later merged with Lakeside in 1963. On April 8, 1964, one year after that merger was completed, Lake Farm for Boys became Lakeside Inc.

In October 2005, the organization took on the name Lakeside for Children. In 2007 the board narrowed the focus to just 12 to 18 year olds. At one time children were sent to schools in the Kalamazoo Public School System. Later classes were held on-site provided by KPS.

Also in 2007, Lakeside contracted with Sequel Youth Services to operate all campus programs and started the Lakeside Academy, a staff-secure residental program. In 2020 Lakeside Academy closed permanently. Lakeside continues to be active in the community.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Lakeside For Children records

Identifier: RH-A-4248
Scope and Contents

This collection contains documents, ledgers, and photographs from Lakeside for Children, a residential treatment center located in Kalamazoo Michigan.

The photos are a mixture of black and white and color; and show buildings on the campus as well as staff and children who lived at Lakeside.

The material covered in the ledgers includes financial information such as monthly expenses, case update information, etc.

Dates: 1920s to early 2000s