Starr Commonwealth for Boys
State Register of Historic Places
The Starr Commonwealth for Boys, the original campus ofwhat has become the three-campus Starr CommonwealthSchools, was established by Floyd Starr as a home andschool for wayward, delinquent, and neglected boys. Starr’smotto was “There is no such thing as a bad boy.” In 1913,Starr purchased a forty-acre tract, the central core of thepresent three hundred acre campus; he and the first two boyslived in an old barn on the property until October 1913, whenthe first campus building, Gladsome Cottage, was completed.The institution has grown over the years so that it nowcontains over one hundred and fifty young man and twentyninebuildings; however, all of the early structures, includingthe Old Barn and Gladsome Cottage, have been retained.
THE STARR COMMONWEALTH SCHOOLS | In 1913,Floyd Starr purchased forty acres of land on Montcalm Laketo found Starr Commonwealth for Boys, a nonprofit homeand residential school for wayward, delinquent and neglectedboys. At that time, the only building on the property was anold barn in which Starr and the first two boys stayed until thefirst structure was completed. Today, 155 boys are served ona 300-acre campus encompassing facilities built with privatecontributions. Services to youth were expanded with thefounding of the Van Wert, Ohio, campus in 1951 and themerger with the Hannah Neil Center for Children inColumbus, Ohio, in 1978. Focusing on positive support inthe character development of troubled children by providinga well-founded academic, social and spiritual exposure, StarrCommonwealth is now a nationally recognized child careorganization. | FLOYD STARR | Floyd Starr, originator ofthe credo, “There is no such thing as a bad boy,” was born inDecatur, Michigan, on May 1, 1883. After graduating fromMarshall High School, he worked for several years in a halfwayhouse in St. Louis, Missouri. Returning to Michigan, heobtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Albion College in1910. Fulfilling a lifetime dream to someday adopt fiftyboys, Starr founded Starr Commonwealth for Boys in 1913.”Uncle Floyd,” as he was affectionately called by his boys,earned the respect of court officials, co-workers and studentsfor his successful work with homeless, neglected anddelinquent boys. He received numerous citations for hishumanitarian efforts. Starr retired from active leadership ofStarr Commonwealth in 1967, but provided guidance untilhis death on August 27, 1980, at the age of 97.
Source: Michigan’s Historic Sites Online, Downloaded 2003.