State Orphans' Home.In the first few years following the Civil war, several of the northern states founded asylums for the care of children left fatherless by the soldiers who died on the field of battle or sacrificed their health in defense of their country. In 1885 the legislature of Kansas passed an act authorizing the trustees of the state charitable institutions to buy or accept as a donation a tract of land not to exceed 640 acres, and to erect suitable buildings for a home for the orphan children of ex-Union soldiers and sailors. Before selecting a location for the institution, the trustees were required to publish a notice in five of the leading newspapers of the state, announcing their intention to choose a site for the home, and receive proposals therefor.
STATE ORPHANS' HOME.
The purpose of the home is to receive and care for all indigent children of soldiers who served in the army or navy of the United States during the Civil war, "who were disabled from wounds or disease, or who died in indigent circumstances, and other indigent children of the state." An appropriation of $10,000 was made for 1886, and a like amount for 1887, provided $5,000 and 160 acres of land were given for the home. The home was located on a quarter section of land 2 miles north of the city of Atchison and three-quarters of a mile west of the Missouri river.
Children of five years and under were provided for first, then children between the ages of five and ten; and lastly those over ten and under fifteen, but none were to be cared for after they were fifteen, unless incapable of caring for themselves. The school consists of a kindergarten department, primary, intermediate and high school grades, similar to those in the Kansas public schools. The girls are taught cooking, sewing and all branches of housework; while the boys are given a course in manual training and taught branches of farm work. The aim of the home is to care for the neglected child population of the state, and by proper care and supervision make the neglected orphans good and useful citizens.
The institution has always received liberal support at the hands of the state and in 1891 an appropriation of several thousand dollars was made for building a new wing and making general improvements, in 1907 the legislature passed an act providing for the erection of a special cottage for crippled children, on the grounds of the home, and appropriating $25,000, "or as much thereof as may be necessary," for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the act. The building was to be but one story in height and its equipment of such a character that the crippled children could he treated, attend school and live without climbing any stairs.Pages 762-763 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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