Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Orphanages and Orphans

Widows’ and Orphans’ Asylums

A drawing of the widows' and orphans' asylums at Eighteenth and Cherry Streets in Philadelphia.

The Orphan Society of Philadelphia, at Eighteenth and Cherry Streets in Philadelphia, constructed its first home by 1815. By 1818, thirty-six orphans were living in the home. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania)

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

The Orphan Society of Philadelphia received a donation of land from Samuel Wetherill, Samuel Richards, Samuel Archer, and Robert Ralston, and by 1818 the new home at Eighteenth and Cherry Streets in Philadelphia housed thirty-six orphans. By 1822 the total had risen to ninety, but a fire that January destroyed one of the buildings and killed twenty-three children. Funds were raised for the construction of a second orphanage on the site by the middle of the nineteenth century.

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