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The Industrial School and Hygiene Home for Friendless Persons (also known as the Home for the Friendless) was chartered as a charitable institution by the State of Kansas on 15 September 1890, as a co-operative venture for the care of orphan children. The pattern of administration was that of a corporation. Although the charter was not granted to the church the members of the corporation and of the Board of Directors were almost exclusively Krimmer Mennonite Brethren (KMB), and the institution was always considered a home mission project of this group, who also assumed the responsibility of providing necessary funds. At the annual conference held on 19 October 1896, at the Gnadenau Church near Hillsboro, Kansas, it was announced that the building was ready to begin the work with 20 children, preferably Kansas children. The establishment was motivated and aided by M. E. Gordon, River Brethren of Pennsylvania, who visited the community in 1880 and decided that it would be an excellent location for such an institution. In the beginning a few members of the Board of Directors were River Brethren. Amanda Dohner, a member of a River Brethren community in Pennsylvania, served as the first matron in the home.

The institution was also supported financially by the Brethren in Christ and the Mennonite Church (MC). Financial reports of the Home appeared regularly in the Herald of Truth (MC). In the Herald of Truth for 14 July 1904 and 12 January 1905, six month financial reports of the Home for the Friendless were submitted by Joseph F. Brunk (MC). Already in the issue of 1 August 1894, R. J. Heatwole had reported a visit to the Industrial School and Home. For a time Joseph F. Brunk served as the superintendent of the Home. The project was, therefore, a demonstration of inter-Mennonite co-operation.

Beginning in 1889 homeless children were brought in from Chicago; 60 to 80 children filled it to capacity. About 1910-1915 the orphanage gradually became a home for the aged. Until 1946, when the building was destroyed by fire, it served as a home for the aged under the Krimmer Mennonite Brethren Conference. In 1915 the KMB Conference obtained a new charter and changed the name to Salem Home. After the fire the Salem Home was moved to Hillsboro and housed in a small annex of the Salem Hospital. With completion of the new hospital building the whole building utilized by Salem Hospital became the Salem Home for Aged People.


Gemeindeblatt und Waisenheim (Hillsboro 1894 ff.).

Hillsboro Community Medical Centre. "HCMC-Mission & History." 15 September 2004. (accessed 6 October 2007).

Jahrbuch der Krimmer Mennoniten Brudergemeinde (1894 ff.)

Author(s) Menno S Harder
Melvin Gingerich
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Harder, Menno S and Melvin Gingerich. "Industrial School and Hygiene Home for Friendless Persons (Hillsboro, Kansas, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 27 Jun 2017.,_Kansas,_USA)&oldid=120731.

APA style

Harder, Menno S and Melvin Gingerich. (1959). Industrial School and Hygiene Home for Friendless Persons (Hillsboro, Kansas, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 June 2017, from,_Kansas,_USA)&oldid=120731.

Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 31, 33; vol. 4, pp. 1093, 1145. All rights reserved.

©1996-2017 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.