Pueblo County, Colorado
Orphanages

Contributed by the Pueblo County Volunteers.

Sacred Heart Orphanage – May 1, 1903 – At least 1968

Emanuel Faith Home 1920

Fries Orphanage – In existence in 1900, listed on Fourth Avenue, - June 10, 1900

Holy Family Orphanage

Lincoln Orphanage – 1905 – 1963

McClelland Orphanage – April 25, 1905 – 1960s

Pueblo Children's Home – At least 1900 (at the same address as McClelland in later years)

Orphan Train

Adopted Children

General Pueblo Orphanage Articles:

Pueblo Chieftain 12-25-1994 – Little Remains of Orphanages But Memories and Records – Orphanages, A Second Look – Maybe it was the times – the best of times; the worst of times? – or coincidence. But in the very early 1900s, Pueblo seemed on a roll when it came to building orphanages.

All three are gone now – pretty much having retained their sense of joint timing by disappearing as orphanages in the very late 1960s – although remnants of the buildings remain.

In 1903, under the guidance of then-Pueblo Chieftain owner John Lambert, a handful of Franciscan sisters established the Sacred Heart Orphanage at 2315 Sprague.

In January 1905, the Protestant Orphanage Committee began plans for what soon would become the McClelland Orphanage, and in the same year, what was to be known as "the only home for colored children in an area of seven states," Lincoln Home was established at 2713 Grand. The institution was the offspring of The Colored Orphanage and Old Folks Home, located then at 306 E. First. 

McClelland began as a humble operation run by the deaconesses of the Methodist Episcopal Church at 1104 E. Routt. The small house there quickly filled up, and boys were forced to live in a tent in the front yard. Pueblo real estate and investment magnate Andrew McClelland bailed out the operation with a donation to the committee of lots and a three-story building at Lake and Abriendo. McClelland's wife, Columbia, helped a fund-raising committee with a personal check of $5,000. In April 1906, the expanded orphanage opened its doors at 415 E. Abriendo, site of what is now McClelland Learning Center – part of which was once the orphanage, but not the original building.

Joanne Dodds, assistant director of McClelland Library, writes about Pueblo orphanages in her just-released Pueblo history, "They All Came to Pueblo – a Social History." An insight on the McClelland operation: "By 1919 the (McClelland) board reports included data on who paid for the care of the children. The July 1 report records the following: "Twenty-five paid $15 per month, one paid $20, three paid in work, 11 paid $6 to $12 per month, three were county charges for which the county paid $25 and there were 10 charity cases. "The next board report identified the orphanage population as 56, consisting of 28 girls, 19 boys and nine babies."

A 1959 report, on file at The Chieftain, listed the previous year's income for McClelland as $1.33 per diem from the Department of Public Welfare for 13 children; 45 partial payment for 45 children, no charge for 10 youngsters; and failure to pay for 22 orphans.

Additionally, the report categorizes reasons for which McClelland's charges had been put into the institution: "Separation, divorce and indebtedness; unfit parents (alcohol, mental retardation); widowers; illness of guardian(s); children unable to adjust to living conditions within their own or foster homes, and inadequate housing." In an interview, Dodds noted that half or more of the children in the homes were there for relatively shorts terms: "The babies and very young children were usually adopted fairly quickly, usually within a few weeks. Older children were placed into homes of relatives or into work situations, both in the city and on the farms."

She writes in her book, however, that the remaining group consisted of "older children aged 10 and above who, for unknown reasons, were never placed."

Pueblo Chieftain 12-25-1994 – Pueblo Orphanages Weren't Like Those in Literature – Orphanages, A Second Look -

One searches fruitlessly, in Pueblo, to find truly negative experiences of local orphanages.

In "Confessions of an English Opium Eater," 19th-century author Thomas de Quincey wrote, or recalled, dourly: "So then, Oxford street, stoneyhearted stepmother, thou that listenest to the sighs of orphans and drinkest the tears of children, at length I was dismissed from thee." Not a pleasant reflection.

But there are no Dickensian Bleak House tales to be found here, although the lack of citations proves little conclusively.

Pueblo newspaper accounts indicate the institutions were run efficiently, supported by the community and motivated by the best application of whatever social direction and consciousness were prevalent at the time.

The buildings were clean, heated, comfortable, but they were institutions, not family homes. One can imagine – but not easily document – the legions of overworked, underpaid staff members who did their best in an imperfect situation. With staffers as well as residents, there were occasional flaws, lemons, if you will.

But in general, those who cared and were cared for did the best with the hand that life had dealt them, and because we were a lot younger a nation than today, the hand was a different one, sociologically.

Local sponsors, shakers and movers at the turn of the century included prominent African-Americans, Pueblo businessman/philanthropist Andrew McClelland and his wife, Columbia, and Pueblo Chieftain owner Frank Lambert.

Ordinary Puebloans were quick to respond dependably with cash, food, toys, clothes – whatever donations it took to make the system work. All seemed to be motivated by humane and scriptural directions to care for orphans – babies and children who lacked the usual home setting for whatever reason.

Blacks were disposed to take care of their own, including widows, at what became Lincoln Home; Catholics focused on Catholic kids at Sacred Heart Home; and Protestant youths were cared for at what started out as a project of the Protestant Orphanage Committee and became McClelland Orphanage.

Most children were in orphanages by virtue of a home situation that had gone wrong – deaths, illnesses, abandonment – and society responded in the best way it knew how.

The society and social approaches changed; orphanages became "homes," then centers before finally disappearing with the same sort of coordination with which they came along together at the beginning of the century.

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, they were gone, replaced by the system of direct aid to families and individuals attacked by and now out of vogue in some quarters.

Pueblo Indicator 10-12-1929 – The Community Chest in Action – All Pueblo and Pueblo County Indorses This Work of Charity – It carries on without calling upon citizens for time and labor.

The Community Chest is one central organization of twelve agencies, for the purpose of raising funds for their work, in one big campaign each year.

The names of the agencies, and the amount which each needs for this year, are:
Child Welfare - $19,645.15;
Lincoln Home - $2,043.00;
Salvation Army - $7,020.20;
Family Service - $16,310.00;
Y.M.C.A (Boys' Dept.) - $5,035.00;
Boy Scouts - $7,845.90;
Emergency Fund - $10.000.00;
Campaign - $500.00;
Sacred Heart Orphanage - $8,736.74;
McClelland Home - $6,472.67;
Day Nursery - $1,966.00;
Red Cross - $2,258.00;
Y.W.C.A. - $6,615.63;
Whittaker House - $1,121.13;
Care of T.B. Patients - $1,500;
Collection and Service to Agencies - $4,500.00.
Total Needed - $101,569.27.

Sweet Charity is the greatest of all virtues. Charity giving should be a pleasure. Help the needy. Help those who are sick and in distress. It is bread cast upon the waters.

Pueblo Indicator 11-8-1930 – The Pueblo County Chest –

So that the needs of the poor and destitute families and homeless children of the city will be cared for during the coming year the Pueblo Community Chest opens its eighth annual appeal for funds on Monday, Nov. 10.

Carrying on the campaign work will be hundreds of volunteers who for one week will solicit business houses and individuals for contributions to the chest.

It is expected that demands for relief this year will be greater than ever before and chest workers are stressing the necessity of Pueblo people giving generously so that the total budget of $100,266.18 will be realized.

The budget for the coming year is not greater than that of last year, but it is felt that if fully subscribed all the needs of the agencies participating in the Community Chest will be met.

Because of the expected demand for relief all the budgets of the relief giving agencies have been increased and the allowances for the character building agencies have been decreased.

The agencies, for which the Community Chest collects in one campaign each year are the American Red Cross, Boy Scouts, Child Welfare and Public Health Association, Day Nursery, Family Service Society, Lincoln Home, McClelland Children's Home, Sacred Heart Orphanage, Salvation Army, Whittaker Settlement House, and the boys' department of the Y.M.C.A. and the Y.W.C.A.

Last year the agencies gave medical treatment to 2,397 poor people, treated 2,371 children in clinics, cared for 2,378 destitute families, providing them with food, fuel, clothing and rent. The orphanages gave entire care to 330 children last year.

Other agencies conducted educational and recreational programs for 3,000 boys and girls, young men and young women.

Numbers of ex-service men were assisted in getting compensation from the government. One agency cared for 3,782 children while their mothers worked.

Importance of raising the full amount of the budget this year was stated by Max D. Morton, president of the local chest. "Many who gave last year will be unable to contribute this year," said Mr. Morton, "and it is up to all of us who are gainfully employed to give generously this year.

Many other cities have raised more money this year in their campaigns than they did in 1929."

Pueblo Chieftain 3-9-1996 – Outstanding Women Honored at Women's History Week Luncheon – If Mary A. Patterson and Lillian Thatcher were alive today, they would have been proud of the great strides women have made in the Pueblo community through the years. Both leaders in their day, Mrs. Patterson and Ms. Thatcher were honored Friday, along with 14 other women, during the Women's History Week luncheon for their "outstanding contribution to the community." … Ms. Thatcher (1870-1948), daughter of pioneer banker John A. Thatcher, was said to have an "understanding and serious concern for world problems." She served with the American Red Cross during World War I and was a founder of the Arkansas Valley Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, the Pueblo YWCA and McClelland Orphanage. Although she didn't have children of her own, it wasn't uncommon for Ms. Thatcher to help many Pueblo youths pay for their education. That along with other forms of local benevolence are things Ms. Thatcher did "quietly, shunning recognition or fanfare." …

Pueblo Chieftain 3-1-2002 – Local DAR Chapter Celebrates 100th Year – The Arkansas Valley Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will celebrate its 100th anniversary Saturday at the Pueblo County Club. The roll call of women who gathered in 1900 to start what became Chapter 581 of the DAR reads like a who's who of historic Pueblo families: Edith Baxter McClain, Martha Noble, Edna Baxter, Clara, Ella and Kate Duke and Margaret and Lillian Thatcher. The chapter received its charter in 1902. "The ladies were gathering here during a great boom period," said Donna Bottini, the regent of the Arkansas Valley Chapter. "They were from the East and some of them belonged to the DAR on the East Coast. "To belong to the DAR, you have to be able to trace your family to an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War. That was the common thread among the Pueblo women." Bottini said the events sponsored by the organization received several write-ups in The Pueblo Chieftain. "They put on plays to raise money to help support orphanages in town such as McClelland and Lincoln," she said…

From Ninth Biennial Report of the State Board of Charities and Corrections For the Biennial Period Ending November 30, 1908, by Colorado State Board of Charities and Corrections, published by The Smith-Brooks Printing Co., State Printers, Denver, Colorado, 1909:

List of hospitals, private, semi-private and charitable orphanages, relief societies, charity organizations, neighborhood house, etc., etc. Hospitals, etc., Pueblo County:

The McClelland Orphanage, Pueblo

Sacred Heart Orphanage, Pueblo

Colored Orphanage and Old People's Home, Pueblo

Brief statement of the various private institutions throughout the State which have filed a report with this board.

Pueblo County:

McClelland Orphanage Association, Pueblo, Colorado

Anna Burgess, Superintendent

W. L. Hartman, President

J. J. Lace, Secretary

C. B. Crawford, Treasurer

During this year this institution has cared for one hundred children; of this number, eighteen were free, and twenty-three partly paying. Value of property used for corporate purposes, $40,000. Value of real estate in lots, $10,000. This orphanage is managed by the Deaconess', an order in the Methodist Episcopal Church, who do charitable work.

Pueblo Colored Orphanage and Old Folks' Home, 306 East First Street, Pueblo, Colorado

Lucile A. Hargrove, Superintendent

Susie Starkey, Matron

Rev. J. C. C. Owens, President

Mrs. Edith B. Settles, Secretary

Dr. S. P. Douglas, Treasurer

Number of persons cared for during year was forty-two. Of these, seven were free and eleven partly paying.

Pueblo Star Journal – 1-1-1910 Several Hundred Children Tenderly Cared For In Orphanages.

The city cares adequately for the fatherless and motherless, there being three splendid institutions for this purpose. Of these, the largest is the Sacred Heart Orphanage, maintained by the Catholic Church, and located in the southern portion of this city. Here there are about 200 girls who find a home, where they are cared for in a motherly manner. Prior to the present year the orphanage housed orphans of both sexes, but during 1903 it's policy has been changed so that the boys are sent to a Denver institution, while the Sacred Heart Orphanage cares only for girls.

The McClelland orphanage, under the care of the deaconesses of the Methodist church, is located on Abriendo avenue, on the plateau known as The Mesa. It cares for children of both sexes and has about 70 inmates. The orphanage is located pleasantly in a handsome old mansion, surrounded by almost a block of ground, and the children are given every possible attention.

On East First street is located the Colored Orphanage and Old Folks Home, under the charge of Mrs. Lucy Hargrove, superintendent. Here about 20 Colored orphans and several old people find a good home, where every possible attention Is provided. The orphanage is supported by the Voluntary contributions of the good people of the city of all races.

During the year the Sacred Heart orphanage was aided considerably by a campaign undertaken on St. Patrick's day, when the young women of Pueblo sold green bows to the charitable and realized a considerable sum of money. While there have been many efforts made In behalf of this and the other orphanages of the city. Pueblo has done it's duty generously by the orphan children and it to be doubted if there are better institutions for their care to be found anywhere.


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