Carlisle Indian Industrial School

Carlisle Barracks,
Carlisle, PA 17013

The Carlisle Indian Industrial School was founded in October 1879 and was designed to assimilate students into the mainstream culture. It 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. Guided tours are occasionally offered by the Cumberland County Historical Society or visitors can purchase at a self-guided walking tour brochure at History on High.

A marker located on the North side of Claremond Road, 50 feet East of the Carlisle Barracks entrance reads: "This school was the model for a nation-wide system of boarding schools intended to assimilate American Indians into mainstream culture. Over 10,000 indigenous children attended the school between 1879 and 1918. Despite idealistic beginnings, the school left a mixed and lasting legacy, creating opportunity for some students and conflicted identities for others. In this cemetery are 186 graves of students who died while at Carlisle."

A marker located on Indian Field reads: "Charles Albert 'Chief' Bender - One of baseball's great pitchers. Bender played for the Philadelphia Athletics from 1903-14, helping them to win 5 pennants and 3 world championships. After winning 212 games over 16 seasons and becoming one of the first World Series stars, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1954. His mother was one-half Chippewa, and he attended Carlisle Industrial School on this site from 1898-1901."

Click here to learn more about the history of the school and to see which historic structures are still standing.

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