Day 1328

The former St. Vincent’s Home for Boys

August 19th, 2015

This statue of St. Vincent de Paul (not the first such statue to occupy its perch) stands at the entrance to a branch of HeartShare St. Vincent's Services, a children's services provider. The building was completed in 1906 as the new, larger quarters of St. Vincent's Home for Boys — the predecessor of HeartShare St. Vincent's — which was founded in 1869 as a residence for "friendless and destitute boys". Here's how an 1879 Brooklyn Daily Eagle article described the mission of the home:

Its field of labor is among the boys of the street, the bootblacks and newsboys, and other lads who go to make up the large number of homeless and wretched children and youth who swarm in the thoroughfares of a great city. Some of them are the children of dissolute and wretched parents; others have no knowledge of what home or parent means. The aim is to rescue these children from the ways of poverty and vice, and to help them become self supporting and respectable members of society.
A few years ago, a man named Ed Rohs published a memoir about his upbringing in five different Catholic institutional homes in the New York City area; you can read a partial account of his high school years at St. Vincent's, from 1961 to 1965, here.

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