The property on which this building stands was purchased for $25,000 as a joint effort of nine parishes. It is alleged that the property was formally a burial ground.
This orphanage was opened June 1, 1875, and administration handled by the Sisters of St. Francis with a starting population of 47 children.
The first fire to affect the orphanage took place on Ash Wednesday, March 5, 1919. It took only six months, however, to recover and continue operations as before but with significant improvement.
The main building that is most prominent was apparently built in 1927, with the chapel added to the end of the building in time for Christmas 1938.
Since then, more than 15,000 children would call this place home before its closure in 1956 as a result of a second large fire.
When I arrived here and saw the place from the outside, I was instantly fascinated by it. I mean, church-run orphanages just conjure so many images that you can't help but try to imagine the lives of the children who called this home.
When I went inside, the light was dim, the floor sketchy in places, but the place certainly didn't disappoint. Probably the most impressive part, as you walk into it, is the chapel. It's such a large open space relative to the rest of the building.
I kept thinking about what a waste this all was.