Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Corsicana Then and Now: IOOF Home for Children



There are still several buildings on the site and other memorial markers that I will post at a later date. Below is the text from the Historical Marker above.

TEXAS HISTORIAL COMMISSION MARKER, PLACED IN 1977

IN 1885 THE GRAND LODGE OF TEXAS, INDEPENDENT ORDER OF ODD FELLOWS, FOUNDED THE I.O.O.F. WIDOWS AND ORPHANS HOME, ONE OF THE FIRST FRATERNAL ORPHANAGES IN THE STATE. CORSICANA LODGE NO. 63 AND OTHER LOCAL CITIZENS GAVE 200 ACRES AS A SITE FOR THE FACILITY. ON APRIL 26, 1886, THE CORNERSTONE FOR THE FIRST PERMANENT BUILDING WAS LAID. ONLY ONE CHILD WAS RESIDING HERE IN 1891, BUT ENROLLMENT AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT SOON INCREASED.

THE HOME BECAME A SELF-CONTAINED COMMUNITY WITH IT’S OWN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT, FARM AND DAIRY, POWER PLANT AND WATER SUPPLY. ABEL RICE AUDITORIUM, BUILT IN 1911, WHEN ENROLLMENT WAS OVER 300 CONTAINED A SWIMMING POOL AND GYM, AND HOUSED THE FINE ARTS DEPARTMENT SPONSORED BY THE REBEKAH LODGES. THIS INSTITUTION ALSO SERVED AS A HOME FOR THE AGED FROM 1905 UNTIL A SEPARATE FACILITY OPENED IN ENNIS IN 1928.

AFTER PEAKING AT NEARLY 400 IN THE 1920S, ENROLLMENT DROPPED SHARPLY IN THE 1930S AND 1940S. THE SCHOOL CLOSED IN 1943, AND STUDENTS BEGAN ATTENDING CORSICANA PUBLIC SCHOOLS. CAMPUS BUILDINGS WERE MODERNIZED IN A 1940 “RECONVERSION PROGRAM”. RENAMED IN 1948, THE ODD FELLOW AND REBEKAH CHILDREN’S HOME HAS PROVIDED CARE FOR OVER 5500 PERSONS.

1 comment:

Andy in Friendswood said...

Hi folks,

Here's a link to a photo of the IOOF Home.
http://www.usgwarchives.org/tx/navarro/postcards/ioofhm.jpg