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