Saratoga County, New York
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From 1904 to 1965, The Hawley Home provided a temporary place to live at 64-66 Ludlow Street in Saratoga Springs for children whose families could not care for them. At least a few thousand children lived there over the years, some for only a week, some for many years. The object of the Home, as described by Bostwick Hawley (1814-1910), for whom it was named in 1906 was as follows: "to receive, to care for, and to educate indigent and orphan children that are between 18 months and 10 years of age. This includes such management and training as belong to a well-regulated family. The discipline is parental."
The structure is still in place but is now a privately-owned apartment building. Records of the residents are not available other than those from Saratoga County public records summarized below. Data in this page comes from the publications listed below and memories of still-living former residents. The Saratoga Room in the Saratoga Springs Public Library has a collection of old clippings and photos from scrapbooks.
If you have any further information on the Hawley Home for Children, its workings or residents, please contact Mr. Richard Elwell .
Life In The Home
Someone had to pay for every child in the Home, either a family member or public agency. In 1891, the weekly charge was $1.50 per child in the facility which preceded the Hawley Home; by 1940 it had risen to $3.00. The staff consisted of a Superintendent, boys' and girls' matrons, dietician/cook, janitor and helpers. All were women except for the janitor.
(Go to page 2 for information about the women who were Superintendents.)
After 1934, when an addition was built on the south end of the original structure the Home had a capacity of 34 children. Extra rooms on the third floor would accommodate a few more temporarily. These rooms were intended for medical isolation of children with contagious infections and sometimes for older children who had outgrown the second floor dormitories. The Superintendent and two other matrons had rooms immediately outside the dormitories. Youngest children were put to bed first, followed on a schedule by increasing ages. In the winter everyone got a spoonful of cod-liver oil. The walk-in linen closet next to the Superintendent's room was occasionally used as a detention room, as a part of the 'parental' discipline.
Meals were taken in the main dining room. Every child had to clean up everything on his or her plate before being allowed to leave. The main recreation room was used for group activities such as listening to the radio. At Christmastime, each child was given a cardboard box to decorate; on the big morning around a tree in the main room, the boxes would contain presents - everyone received something. There were two other playrooms in the new addition, with gym rooms beneath them. Outside in back were a large gazebo, swings, jungle jim, see-saws and sandboxes.
After breakfast, most children went off to school, either School No. 4 on Spring Street or a parochial school such as St. Clement's on Lake Avenue. Everyone had a chore of some kind, even if it was only making a bed; there were dishes to wash, dry and put away as well as pots and pans. The whole building had to swept and kept dusted. If a child's chore was finished, he was free to come and go as he pleased although meals were served on a strict schedule. Boys often went around to neighborhood homes trying to earn something by raking leaves, shovelling snow or performing some other work. Some had paper routes and other part-time jobs. In the summer, other opportunities came along, such as selling race track programs and shining shoes at the train station.
Overall, a child's life was as near to normal as could be arranged in an institution. There were occasional outings to the Lake or Geysers Park for swimming and picnics. Parents and relatives visited and children sometimes went away on out-of-town visits. Boys and girls participated in school plays, athletics and scout troops, including camping trips. Some took music lessons and practiced piano in the parlor. In the winter a lot of children went sliding downhill in Congress Park. The Home had a fleet of sleds in all sizes, all painted dark green.
(Go to page 3 for information about some of the children.)
1 - Superintendent 2 - Entrance Hall, Stairs 3 - Parlor 4 - Porch 5 - Main Recreation Room 6 - Boys Playroom 7 - Girls Playroom 8 - Kitchen 9 - Pantry 10 - Staff Dining 11 - Main Dining Room
1 - Superintendent's Room 2 - Linens/Detention 3 - Matrons' Rooms 4 - Boys' Dormitory 5 - Bathroom 6 - Bathroom 7 - Girls' Dormitory
1. Stonequist, Martha, "Hawley name brings back memories - Saratoga Springs
, Nov. 8, 1989.
2. Keese, Jason W.,"Orphanage mementos to be preserved in Saratoga library - Old Hawley Home scrapbooks move to Saratoga Room", The Saratogian , July 4, 1997.
3. Carola, C., Mastrianni, B. And Noonan, M.L., "George S. Bolster's Saratoga Springs", The Donning Co., 184 Business Park Dr., Virginia Beach, VA 23462, 1990.
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