Was incorporated in 1849 and organized in 1853, its object being to take in, care for, and provide homes for poor orphan children, and recently an additional feature has been added to its objects, namely: to care for the children of deceased Union soldiers. Both the Chicago Orphan Asylum and the Catholic Orphan Asylum, opened their doors in the aftermath of a cholera epidemic.
This Institution has a large four-story brick building for the accommodation of its inmates. Its capacity is sufficient for between four and five hundred children. The Asylum is located on Michigan Avenue, between Twenty-second and Twenty-third streets, on a lot two hundred by three hundred feet in extent, tastefully ornamented with trees, shrubbery, &c., and having a children’s playground.
The Asylum is ably sustained by the contributions and yearly subscriptions of the benevolent and charitable people of Chicago, through whose noble liberality it was established, and thus far successfully maintained.
The amount of good that has been accomplished by this institution to unfortunate, friendless, and homeless children, cannot be estimated. Hundreds of little ones have been rescued from wretchedness, kindly cared for, and when arriving at a proper age, provided with good homes. Every sentiment of humanity appeals to the public to fester and amply support an institution that is so beneficent in its purpose.
Visitors are admitted from 10 A. M. to 5 P. M.
Michigan Avenue, between Twenty-second (South) and Twenty-third (Palo Alto) streets
Newspapers carried the following notice on August 13, 1849:
ORPHAN ASYLUM. At a meeting of the trustees of this institution, held on Saturday last, 23 ladies were appointed Directresses. They are requested to assemble this afternoon at 3 o’clock in the First Presbyterian Church.
The following officers and committees were appointed:
Mrs. John H. Kinzie ••••••••••••• First Directress
Mrs. Dr. Pitney ••••••••••••••••••• Second Directress
Miss Julie Rossiter ••••••••••••••• Secretary
Committee on Health •••••••• Mrs. Boone, Mrs. Porter
Committee on Diet and Provisions ••••••••••••• Mrs. Hamilton, Mrs. Dryer
Committee on Instruction Moral, Religious and Literary •••••••Mrs. C. Walker, Mrs. H. Norton
Committee on the Wardrobe,Bedding, and General Order and Cleanliness of Asylum •• Mrs. Beecher, Mrs. McVicker
The directresses had their second meeting on Tuesday, August 21, when Miss Hanson was chosen governess. At the next meeting, on September 3, it was decided to hold sewing circles every Tuesday in September “to make up needed bedding and clothing.”
In the meantime the trustees had rented a house on Michigan Avenue between Lake and Water streets. It was a small frame building, fronting east on a grass-grown street, with Lake Michigan just beyond. No location during the cholera epidemic could have been healthier than this sandy, well-drained site.
All the furniture had been donated piece by piece and the result was barely comfortable; the floors were bare and there were no heating stoves to drive out the chilly dampness. But Miss Hanson and the first three children moved in on September 11.
It was a quiet homecoming. Mrs. Follansbee and Mrs. Beecher welcomed the governess and children in the name of the directresses. They assisted Miss Hanson in the work of settling the house, remained through the early evening and helped put the children to bed.