Known during its years as the "spooks' temple," the Pratt Institute soon earned the respect of local citizens and eventually gained national fame after it was constructed by Morris Pratt in 1889. For those interested in Spiritualism all over America, Whitewater became known as the "Mecca of Modern Spiritualism."
There is little written concerning the life of Morris Pratt. However, it is well known that after his visit to the Lake Mills Spiritualist Center in 1851, he became very interested in psychic phenomena and the Religion of Spiritualism. Being well educated, he frequently argued with ministers who criticized Spiritualism and on several occasions was evicted from their churches. At one time, he was fined for his controversial actions. Being dedicated to the promotion of Spiritualism, he fully recognized the need for educated workers to present the religion to the intellect of the times.
It is said that "one day his Red Indian guide told him of certain mineral deposits unknown to any white man." He made an investment in a company which later became the profitable Ashland Mine of Ironwood, Michigan. Pratt always said, "If I am made rich, I will give part of it to Spiritualism."
Within a few month's time, he made over $200,000. He did not hesitate in fulfilling his promise by using part of the monies for the benefit of the cause of Spiritualism. In 1889, the Temple was dedicated. When opened, it consisted of lecture rooms, office, a chapel and dormitories. The land and original building at Whitewater, Wisconsin, was deeded to the Morris Pratt Institute.
11811 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226-3342