The Carlisle Indian Industrial School was founded in October 1879 by U.S. Army Officer, Lt. Richard Henry Pratt. It was the first U.S. government off-reservation school to enroll students from virtually every Native American Indian nation from the various agencies and reservations. Beginning with an enrollment of 82 children from the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Sioux communities, numbers swelled to as many as 1,000 children annually during the period from 1879-1918, when the school closed. Designed to offer academic and industrial training the program enrolled over 10,000 American Indian children. The experiment was designed to assimilate students into the mainstream culture and was housed in Carlisle, PA at the Carlisle Barracks, now the home of the U.S. Army War College. "Carlisle" became the model for 24 off reservation schools with the purpose of acculturation.
Many of the school buildings are still standing. The site is designated as a National Historic Landmark. Guided tours are occasionally offered by the Cumberland County Historical Society where a self-guided walking tour brochure may also be purchased. Visit the Cumberland County Historical Society's Carlisle Indian School exhibit.
Among the sites still standing: A replica band-stand located in the center of the parade area where the Man-on-the-band-stand, who edited the weekly and monthly school newspapers, oversaw activities; Superintendents' quarters, home to the five military officers and civil servants in command; Administration Building where the superintendents, staff and Outing administrators' officers were located; Model home where the domestic arts department entertained; teachers' quarters, including apartments, staff cottages and several houses built by student labor; Thorpe Hall, the gymnasium named after the famous Olympic champion and Sac and Fox athlete, Jim Thorpe, who was 'discovered' at Carlisle by Coach Glen Scobie 'Pop' Warner, whose house is also located on campus; Washington Hall, the athletic dormitory; the historic Hessian Powder Magazine or guardhouse where the guards were trained; Ashburn Hall, the hospital; Pratt Hall, the doctor's quarters; a replica grandstand; Letort View Community Center which was built as the print shop; the laundry; Leupp Indian Art Studio built for the Native Arts and Crafts program; a warehouse; and the Farmhouse where students lived and were trained in farming techniques. There is a cemetery that holds the remains of many students who passed away at the Carlisle Indian School or on Outings.