Lutheran Orphans Home and Asylum Germantown

Lutheran Orphans’ Home and Asylum, Germantown PA 1892-1914

Philadelphia has been justly noted for its many charitable and benevolent institutions. Among these the “Orphans’ Home and Asylum for the Aged and Infirm of the Evangelical Lutheran Church at Germantown” holds a conspicuous place.

The design of founding a Home in Germantown Pennsylvania dates back to 1852, but nothing definite was done until 1858, and on the 18th of March, 1859, the first child was received into a small house on Main street, which, however, soon proved too small and inconvenient. In October of the same year the property on Main street above Carpenter, where the institution now stands, was purchased. It has a front on Main street of 138 feet, and extends back 1075 feet to Cresheim road. The design from the first was to provide a home for destitute orphan children, without regard to creed or country. The first charter is dated June 4, 1860, and was subsequently amended by an Act of Legislature, and the institution exempted from taxation. In 1862 a building was put up for a school and dormitory for the boys.

Lutheran Orphans Home and Asylum Germantown
Postcard depicting the Lutheran Orphans Home and Asylum Germantown

When so many children were made orphans during the late war, this institution was among the first to open its doors for these soldiers’ orphans, and 98 were admitted up to the time when the State provided homes for them. In 1865 the corner stone was laid for a large and suitable building to accommodate at least 80 children, which was finished in 1866 at a cost of $30,000. Although at times under clouds, the institution has prospered and grown more in favor with the Lutheran Church and community at large. In 1879 a building 140 feet long and 40 feet wide, with wings at the ends of 60 feet, was erected for the accommodation of the old and infirm, and was occupied May 1, 1880, after its cost of $20,000 had been raised by voluntary contributions, so that no debt remained. The grounds and buildings have been much improved during late years. Fronting on Main street is about an acre of well-kept lawn, dotted with flower-beds and planted with fruit trees. In the rear is a kitchen garden of about 2 acres, where all the vegetables needed for the institution are raised, with the exception of potatoes. The garden, with the help of one hired man and the assistance of the older boys under the management of the superintendent, is one of the best-cultivated gardens in Germantown.

Memorial Home for Infants
Memorial Home for Infants

The asylum for the old people is of brick with basement, two stories and mansard roof and is heated throughout by steam. It contains a large diningroom, chapel, parlor, two sitting-rooms, and thirty-five bed-rooms. Each inmate has a room to himself. A special feature are two porches, each one hundred feet long and twelve wide, sheltered for east, west, and north, and facing the lawn.

The orphanage is a stone building sixty feet square with a basement, three stories and attic. The basement contains the children’s dining-room, playroom, kitchen, laundry and bath-room. The latter is so arranged that the children can learn to swim. The first floor is occupied by the main schoolroom, superintendent’s dining-room and office, and the parlor; the next has the kindergarten, superintendent’s and assistant’s bed-room, and the sewing-room, and on the third are the children’s dormitories. The building has three separate stairways from the basement to the dormitories, and in addition is provided with a regular fire escape on the outside. The play ground is large where the children enjoy themselves when they are not at work or in the schoolroom. Of the five hundred and forty-six children received into the Home from the beginning many are now engaged in the various occupations of life. Three of the boys are now pursuing their studies to prepare for the ministry. There are now in the Home fifty-five boys and twenty-five girls. In the Asylum thirty-one have a home, some of whom have nearly reached four score and ten. Thus from a small beginning this institution has grown to a considerable magnitude, and is in a prosperous condition and deserves the support of all kind-hearted and generous people.

While the 1892-1894 annual reports showed the title in English, the later version of the annual reports have the title in German, Jahres-Bericht des Lutherischen Waisenhauses u. Altenheims. Some of the text within each manuscript is also in German, however, the lists of orphans and elderly are always in English.

List of Orphans for 1894

The list below contains only the known list of orphans as reported in the yearbook for 1894. The prior two years yearbooks failed to include any sort of a list of children, though they do list the names of benefactors and what they contributed to the organization. The subsequent years will be extracted over the coming month, as we make our list as complete as possible.

SurnameGivenSexAgeWhen AdmittedWhere Born
BennicoffEddieM418/07/1893Allentown, PA
BrechtJohnM1107/01/1891Philadelphia, PA
BrechtHarryM907/01/1891Philadelphia, PA
BrechtMary A.F707/01/1891Philadelphia, PA
BreitmeierCatherine S.F1014/05/1891Philadelphia, PA
BreitmeierRosinaF714/05/1891Philadelphia, PA
BuehlCharlesM1306/05/1886Philadelphia, PA
FornwaldHattie M.F1305/11/1889Lebanon Co., PA
FryEmma M.F1129/10/1890Rupert, PA
GeilHermanM1316/04/1890Philadelphia, PA
GetzElisabethF1627/04/1885Philadelphia, PA
GoetzJuliusM1321/01/1887Philadelphia, PA
GoetzPaulineF1121/07/1887Philadelphia, PA
GrabowskyAnnaF713/10/1893Philadelphia, PA
HaseFrederickM313/01/1894Philadelphia, PA
HatzThomasM618/01/1891Camden, NJ
HatzEmilieF918/06/1891Camden, NJ
HeiseJohn GustaveM913/01/1894Philadelphia, PA
HeiseAnna F.F513/01/1894Philadelphia, PA
HeiseMary M.F213/01/1894Philadelphia, PA
HendershotHoward A.M1202/04/1890Danville, Montour Co., PA
HendershotAlfred W.M1002/04/1890Danville, Montour Co., PA
HenselAmeliaF1330/07/1885Philadelphia, PA
LampaterFred A.M817/04/1893Philadelphia, PA
LampaterEugene H.M517/04/1893Philadelphia, PA
LinnJ. EmersonM1528/01/1886Riverside PA
LoeligerCharlesM1419/07/1884Philadelphia, PA
LongStanton J.M1018/07/1893Allentown, PA
LongFulton J.M818/07/1893Allentown, PA
LoserJames W.M1309/02/1888Union, Lebanon Co., PA
LoserO. ThomasM1209/02/1888Swatara, Lebanon Co., PA
LundN. Grover G.M827/04/1890Philadelphia, PA
LutzErnest M.M1619/03/1885Philadelphia, PA
MarquetLouis T.M1428/01/1886Baltimore, MD
MartiC. MathildaF916/03/1892Wilmington, DE
MoyerGeorge SamuelM620/07/1893Lebanon, PA
MoyerStellaF520/07/1893Lebanon, PA
OttAnna E.F813/02/1884Richlandtown, PA
OttoWilliamM1222/01/1889Philadelphia, PA
RitzerCharlesM802/11/1888Baden, Germany
SchaalAugustM1422/07/1886Philadelphia, PA
SchaeferHelenF1028/06/1889Philadelphia, PA
SchaefferSylvesterM1410/11/1887Richland, Bucks Co., PA
SchaefferEugene C.M1110/11/1887Richland, Bucks Co., PA
SchellhasWilliamM914/10/1892Philadelphia, PA
SchellhasM. ElisabethF614/10/1892Philadelphia, PA
ScherleEllenF1019/07/1889Montgomery Co., PA
ScherleMartha A.F625/03/1892Lansdale, PA
SchneiderJacobM1519/03/1885Reading, PA
SchuhHarryM806/06/1892Philadelphia, PA
SchuhJohnM706/06/1892Philadelphia, PA
SeegetsMary O.F1002/11/1888Allentown, PA
StappClaude B.M1514/08/1888East Penn, Carbon Co., PA
StappHenry F.M1214/08/1888McKeansburg, Schuylk Co., PA
TroutmanNewton J.M1503/06/1887Hickory Corner, Northumberland Co., PA
TroutmanEdwinM1203/06/1887Hickory Corner, Northumberland Co., PA
VibleJohnM523/07/1891Philadelphia, PA
WagnerOliver P.M1025/09/1891Macungie, PA
WagnerAnnie M.F925/09/1891Macungie, PA
WampoleCharles S.M1302/07/1888North Wales, PA
WeaverWilliamM1407/08/1883L. Saucon, Northampton Co., PA
WhitebreadW. EdgarM1419/03/1885Upper Lehigh, Luzerne Co., PA
WirthWilliamM1418/04/1884Philadelphia, PA
ZerbeMahlon R.M604/09/1893Reading, PA
ZerbeHowardM504/09/1893Reading, PA

Asylum, Orphans,


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5 thoughts on “Lutheran Orphans’ Home and Asylum, Germantown PA 1892-1914”

  1. My mother, her brother and sisters lived in the Lutheran Home from 1926 to 28/29. They were placed there after their mother died and their dad was a night watchman for the PA RR. is there any information I can find out about their time there?

  2. i am searching for information concerning my mother who was a resident at this orphanage, and at some point was working outside of orphanage at a German bakery in Philadelphia ,She was invited to a Christmas party the German’s ,at a well today man’s home. At this home she was raped by a son of the wealthy man. My mother gave birth to a son around age of 15 to 16 years of age .My mother did not even know she was pregnant. Was sent from the home to delivery baby at a unwed home for the birth. Later on they brought the boy to visit her at the orphanage .Not realizing this was her child ,she believed she was just baby sitting the boy, and played with him. We understand his name was Bruce O’brien .My mother is in your census records as a resident of the Lutheran Orphanage ,and there is plenty of documentation of her life there. I am the daughter of Flora Elizabeth O’Brien ,Marie Frego Arnold. We are seeking to find out if this child is still alive today, and where the record of his birth possibly could be .Can you help us? My mothers sister was also at this orphanage as census records prove this also. Contact me at

  3. Was the home used after 1919, and if not where else were orphaned children sent after 1920 in Germantown? My father, Robert O Vought was supposedly raised in an orphanage in Germantown, PA. Then moved to Illinois by the time he was 20.

  4. Hello, I’m trying to find the names of my great-Grandmothers’ biological parents.
    I have very little information on her.
    Her name was Elizabeth Kurze.
    She was born between 1900-1904
    Her father was from Switzerland and her mother was from Germany.
    I’m also unsure who adopted her.

  5. Hello,
    I’m looking for the true parents of my grate grandfather Edward. It seems that he may have been adopted by Andrew Willsey and Mary Trumbull. Edward was born on 23 Apr 1878 in Charlestown Township, Tioga County, Thank you!

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