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Lufkin State School

Megan Biesele General Entry

Lufkin State School is off U.S. Highway 69 near Central in Angelina County. It houses individuals ranging in age from twelve to seventy-five, whose degree of intellectualy disability ranges from mild to severe. The school is housed in what was once the Lufkin Radar Base of the United States Air Force, which was acquired in 1961 by the United States government. When it was converted to serve as a school for the intellectually disabled, 292 ambulatory students were transferred there from other state schools in Texas. The barracks were remodeled to serve as dormitories. The site is in the East Texas piney woods. The Texas State Hospitals and Special Schools Board formally accepted title to the property in 1962. In 1970 the maximum capacity of the school was increased to 1,000, five new buildings and two dormitories were added, and the physical-therapy program was expanded. The school also began a joint program with Angelina College to provide a two-year degree program for technicians in intellectual disability. At the end of 1993 500 clients lived at Lufkin State School. The school offers residential care, occupational and physical therapy, schooling, and recreation. Housing units group students by age and degree of intellectual disabilities and ambulatory ability. The school has an infirmary, a dental complex, day rooms, two full-time pharmacists, and its own independent school district, housed in an educational building. All teachers at the school are trained in special education. Class sizes are three to seven students, with one teacher and one aide for each class. Basketball and softball teams have been organized. Clients can participate in a work program and receive a prorated amount of a normal wage. Lufkin State School is known for its splinting program, carried out to prevent deformities. The school serves twenty-seven East Texas counties.

Nacogdoches Sunday Sentinel, March 10, 1985. Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, Annual Report, Austin, 1970.


  • Education
  • State Schools and Orphanages
  • Health and Medicine

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Megan Biesele, “Lufkin State School,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 08, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 31, 2017

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: