Founding the Orphanage and Moving to Meigs Avenue

The original Jeffersonville Orphan’s Home stood near the Ohio River. An apartment building now stands on the area once occupied by the home. Lewis C. Baird's History of Clark County records that the Jeffersonville Orphan Home was founded in 1876, when several area socialites felt moved to provide care for the untended children of the city. Mrs. S.H. Patterson, Mrs. Caldwell, and Mrs. McClure established this first orphanage on Front Street, where it remained for three years. It housed sixteen children when it closed.

Sometime between 1879 and 1880, Baird notes that Hannah Zulauf provided land at 832 Meigs Avenue for the construction of a larger facility with a capacity of forty-five. At the 1909 publication of Baird's history, thirty-two children inhabited the home, cared for by five employees.

Baird notes that in the short time the orphanage had been open, five women had served as matron. Articles in the Jeffersonville Evening News show that many who held that position found the large population of children too boisterous, unruly, and difficult. As a result, turnover was very high.

Baird also mentions that the orphans were supported by Clark County. Common practice at the time dictated making orphaned children wards of the county. At the end of the nineteenth century, local governments often supported indigent, aged, disabled, and very young people. During times of disaster and economic hardship, when local tax revenues dipped, these people suffered from the lack of state and national support networks.



117 W Market St, Jeffersonville, IN 47130