The terrible Civil War spawned lasting York, Pa., community contributions

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Mural artist Don Gray works paints the Children Home of York panel on the then-Health Center building on South George Street. This is one of 18 large-scale murals of York. He’s working on Children’s Home founder Samuel Small. Notice the size of the painting vs. the height of 6-foot man. (See finished mural below.) Also of interest: Civil War affected women in York County – and vice versa and Isabel Small led procession of women who made wreath for Abe Lincoln’s coffin and Samuel Small tops York, Pa. community contributor list.
Could positive community developments come out of the terrible Civil War?
I counted several in my York Sunday News column, Good grew out of terrible Civil War:
- The seeds of York Hospital.
- A spotlight on the community contributions of women on the home front.
- Those serving gained a larger view of the world.
- And creation of the Children’s Home of York.
Of course, these come in addition to the end game – the banishment of slavery for hundreds of thousands of people south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Here’s more on that last local community contribution, the Children’s Home, still operating today (a sidebar I wrote with column):


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The original Children’s Home of York at Philadelphia and Pine streets. (Courtesy York County Heritage Trust.)
After my presentation on the Murals of York to a group of about 200 women recently, two in the audience talked in the question-and-answer time about the Children’s Home of York painting.
Or more accurately, they talked about the Children’s Home. With gratefulness in their voices, they told about how family members benefited from the home.
That’s the legacy of the old four-story building, originally constructed at Pine and East Philadelphia streets, to care for and train orphans of Civil War soldiers. It was one of the community assets spawned by the Civil War.
The home’s mission broadened over the years to care for children and families with a variety of needs. This building came down in the 1970s, and the agency is now located on Shoe House Road, east of York.
The low wall seen in paintings and pictures of the Children’s Home stands tall today in front of the small shopping plaza sitting in the old home’s footprint. It bears a plaque giving the home’s years of operation at that site: 1867 to 1972.
“Dedicated to all the children,” the plaque states, “that called this home.”

Also of interest:

Old Children’s Home of York another example of unleashed wrecker’s ball in 1960s era
Archives:
- All York Town Square posts from the start. (Key word search by using “find” on browser.)
- Of course, you can always search for York Town Square post on Google.
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The finished Children’s Home mural.
Top and bottom photos courtesy York Daily Record/Sunday News.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
This entry was posted in All politics is local, Archives, all posts, Civil War, Explanations/controversy, For photo fans, Local journalism & Web, Local landmarks, War. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The terrible Civil War spawned lasting York, Pa., community contributions

  1. Anonymous says:

    Saw this mural and just had to read up on it.

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