We’ve been following the development of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s new multi-use wellness complex being built at Broad and Morris for a while now.
While it was previously the site of a branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia (this new complex will include a library, as well), the history of the location doesn’t stop there. Prior to the library being built on the property in the 1960s, the location was the home of The Southern Home for Destitute Children, an orphanage.
Hidden City wrote an interesting article about the history of the orphanage that was once at this location.
Here’s an excerpt from the story:
Founded in 1849, the institution that became Southern Home was originally called the Moyamensing Union School and Children’s Home and was located at 1100 South Street. In 1854, it moved to 12th and Fitzwater, and in 1874 it adopted the name Southern Home for Destitute Children. By 1889, the orphanage had outgrown its building. The trustees purchased the large lot on South Broad Street between Morris Street and Castle Avenue for $43,000. In 1890, construction on the new building began, and on October 31, 1891, the children of the Southern Home moved in. The building, designed by James Hamilton Windrim, was described in the 1892 Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners of Public Charities as an impressive, modern facility: “The dormitories, schools, play rooms, infirmary, etc. are large, well-lighted and well ventilated, the house is fully equipped with modern improvements. A large play-ground, enclosed in the square has been laid out with walks, trees and flowers, making a small park of beauty and shade, for the health of the inmates which will also be of public benefit as an open air space.”