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.

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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.

Surname Given Sex Age When Admitted Where Born
Bennicoff Eddie M 4 18 Jul 1893 Allentown, PA
Brecht John M 11 7 Jan 1891 Philadelphia, PA
Brecht Harry M 9 7 Jan 1891 Philadelphia, PA
Brecht Mary A. F 7 7 Jan 1891 Philadelphia, PA
Breitmeier Catherine S. F 10 14 May 1891 Philadelphia, PA
Breitmeier Rosina F 7 14 May 1891 Philadelphia, PA
Buehl Charles M 13 6 May 1886 Philadelphia, PA
Fornwald Hattie M. F 13 5 Nov 1889 Lebanon Co., PA
Fry Emma M. F 11 29 Oct 1890 Rupert, PA
Geil Herman M 13 16 Apr 1890 Philadelphia, PA
Getz Elisabeth F 16 27 Apr 1885 Philadelphia, PA
Goetz Julius M 13 21 Jan 1887 Philadelphia, PA
Goetz Pauline F 11 21 Jul 1887 Philadelphia, PA
Grabowsky Anna F 7 13 Oct 1893 Philadelphia, PA
Harding Ernest M 14 28 Jul 1887 Germany
Hase Frederick M 3 13 Jan 1894 Philadelphia, PA
Hatz Thomas M 6 18 Jan 1891 Camden, NJ
Hatz Emilie F 9 18 Jun 1891 Camden, NJ
Heise John Gustave M 9 13 Jan 1894 Philadelphia, PA
Heise Anna F. F 5 13 Jan 1894 Philadelphia, PA
Heise Mary M. F 2 13 Jan 1894 Philadelphia, PA
Hendershot Howard A. M 12 2 Apr 1890 Danville, Montour Co., PA
Hendershot Alfred W. M 10 2 Apr 1890 Danville, Montour Co., PA
Hensel Amelia F 13 30 Jul 1885 Philadelphia, PA
Lampater Fred A. M 8 17 Apr 1893 Philadelphia, PA
Lampater Eugene H. M 5 17 Apr 1893 Philadelphia, PA
Linn J. Emerson M 15 28 Jan 1886 Riverside PA
Loeliger Charles M 14 19 Jul 1884 Philadelphia, PA
Long Stanton J. M 10 18 Jul 1893 Allentown, PA
Long Fulton J. M 8 18 Jul 1893 Allentown, PA
Loser James W. M 13 9 Feb 1888 Union, Lebanon Co., PA
Loser O. Thomas M 12 9 Feb 1888 Swatara, Lebanon Co., PA
Lund N. Grover G. M 8 27 Apr 1890 Philadelphia, PA
Lutz Ernest M. M 16 19 Mar 1885 Philadelphia, PA
Marquet Louis T. M 14 28 Jan 1886 Baltimore, MD
Marti C. Mathilda F 9 16 Mar 1892 Wilmington, DE
Moyer George Samuel M 6 20 Jul 1893 Lebanon, PA
Moyer Stella F 5 20 Jul 1893 Lebanon, PA
Ott Anna E. F 8 13 Feb 1884 Richlandtown, PA
Otto William M 12 22 Jan 1889 Philadelphia, PA
Ritzer Charles M 8 2 Nov 1888 Baden, Germany
Schaal August M 14 22 Jul 1886 Philadelphia, PA
Schaefer Helen F 10 28 Jun 1889 Philadelphia, PA
Schaeffer Sylvester M 14 10 Nov 1887 Richland, Bucks Co., PA
Schaeffer Eugene C. M 11 10 Nov 1887 Richland, Bucks Co., PA
Schellhas William M 9 14 Oct 1892 Philadelphia, PA
Schellhas M. Elisabeth F 6 14 Oct 1892 Philadelphia, PA
Scherle Ellen F 10 19 Jul 1889 Montgomery Co., PA
Scherle Martha A. F 6 25 Mar 1892 Lansdale, PA
Schneider Jacob M 15 19 Mar 1885 Reading, PA
Schuh Harry M 8 6 Jun 1892 Philadelphia, PA
Schuh John M 7 6 Jun 1892 Philadelphia, PA
Seegets Mary O. F 10 2 Nov 1888 Allentown, PA
Stapp Claude B. M 15 14 Aug 1888 East Penn, Carbon Co., PA
Stapp Henry F. M 12 14 Aug 1888 McKeansburg, Schuylk Co., PA
Troutman Newton J. M 15 3 Jun 1887 Hickory Corner, Northumberland Co., PA
Troutman Edwin M 12 3 Jun 1887 Hickory Corner, Northumberland Co., PA
Vible John M 5 23 Jul 1891 Philadelphia, PA
Wagner Oliver P. M 10 25 Sep 1891 Macungie, PA
Wagner Annie M. F 9 25 Sep 1891 Macungie, PA
Wampole Charles S. M 13 2 Jul 1888 North Wales, PA
Weaver William M 14 7 Aug 1883 L. Saucon, Northampton Co., PA
Whitebread W. Edgar M 14 19 Mar 1885 Upper Lehigh, Luzerne Co., PA
Wirth William M 14 18 Apr 1884 Philadelphia, PA
Zerbe Mahlon R. M 6 4 Sep 1893 Reading, PA
Zerbe Howard M 5 4 Sep 1893 Reading, PA

Asylum, Orphans,


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?

    Asylum, Orphans,


  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 [email protected].

    Asylum, Orphans,


  3. Raymond vought

    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.

    Asylum, Orphans,


  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.

    Asylum, Orphans,


  5. Kristopher B will

    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!

    Asylum, Orphans,


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