Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bethlehem Orphan and Half Orphan Asylum

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In perusing the maps of Rosebank and Fort Wadsworth I wander a little south of my usual hunting grounds and discovered something new: the Bethlehem Orphan and Half Orphan Asylum. A little quick digging revealed it was a Lutheran (yay) undertaking.
A little more research told me that the orphanage had been founded in 1886 by eleven churches in response to large number of children orphaned during a severe cholera outbreak in NYC. In 1915 they were able to buy about 20 acres of land on Staten Island from the Barrett family.

postcard showing the entrance to the orphanage

The establishment operated until it burned down in 1972. As the social services were turning away from orphanages towards foster care the Lutheran Social Services of New York declined to rebuild it and sold off the property. Today it's a huge tract of typically unattractive townhouses.

New York Times article from 1915


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Simone said...

Hi, would love to know where you located some of this information, as I'm researching the same area. Many thanks in advance!

The Wasp said...

Hope you see this. I take most of my pictures from the NYPL Digital Gallery and a lot of my information from the NY Times archives. If you're a subscriber you have unlimited access to back to 1851. Otherwise I just google and scour what shows up. It's surprising what you can find simply doing that.

The Wasp said...

I also garnered information from Lutheran Social Services' own website and their history.

Unknown said...

I was a guest there for a few years starting in 1959. I just started a Facebook group for the Home and would love to the other alumni join the group.

The Wasp said...

I'm going to go check out your facebook group, right now.