It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where the District Training School made the transition from a relatively innocuous treatment and training center to what one investigating attorney described as “the deadliest known example of institutional abuse in recent American history.” In the beginning, at least, things appeared uneventful. Then, in 1954 a man was arrested in Pennsylvania on white slavery charges for bringing a resident of the school to York ‘for purposes of prostitution’, although there’s nothing indicating that this was anything more than an isolated incident. Around that time, a Frederick, Maryland newspaper carried a story about a boy who was committed to the school after living with a pack of stray dogs for over two weeks because he was afraid of being whipped at home.
Forest Haven in Laurel, MD was never a great place, even when it was open. Now that it’s abandoned, it’s become something of an urbex playground despite its dark past.