Nebraska Schools and Homes
Girls Industrial School
School for Blind
School for Deaf
Old Peoples Home
Home for Feeble Minded Youth
State Normal School
Home for Friendless
School of Nebraska
This institution is located at Geneva, the county seat of
Fillmore County. It is under the direction and control of the
state. Originally the boys and girls were in the same
institution at Kearney, but the work was not satisfactory and a
division of the school was made March, 1892. This school is for
the purpose of giving industrial training to the juvenile
incorrigible female children of the state. A full corps of
teachers are employed, and every possible effort is made to
instill into the minds of the children" ideas of honesty,
truthfulness and morality. About 90 per cent of the 450 girls
who have been trained at this school have turned out well, and a
great many of them are now living in happy homes of their own.
The cost of maintenance of the school is about $10,000 per year.
The attendance varies from 50 to 60, which is a little over half
the capacity of the school.
The school work is much the same as that pursued in the common
graded schools of the state; in addition to which, instruction
in cooking, dining-room work, laundering, dressmaking, cutting
and fitting, and general house-keeping is taught.
The law governing this institution was amended in 1902 so as to
provide for the commitment of any girl who is vagrant or
vicious, under the age of 18 years. The present buildings were
erected in 1891, at a cost of about $30,000. They are ample for
the accommodation of 100 inmates.
The management is under the direction of Superintendent Horace
M. Clark, who was appointed three years ago, and re-appointed
Nebraska School for
Nebraska's school for blind youth is situated at Nebraska City
and is known as the Institute for the Blind. It was opened in
1875, with Prof. Samuel Bacon, himself a blind man, as
The object of the school is to give to blind children the same
opportunity for an education as is enjoyed by their seeing
brothers and sisters. No charge is made for tuition or living,
parents being required to provide clothing and transportation to
and from the school only. At present 55 pupils are in
attendance. It is known that quite a number of children in the
state are entitled to its privileges, but through hesitation on
the part of parents to send from home an afflicted child, even
for its own good, coupled with a mistaken notion of the purposes
of the school, or ignorance of its existence, are deprived of
the benefit the school might be to them.
Pupils are taught the usual branches of the common schools from
the primary grades through the High school, while in addition a
thorough course in music, both vocal and instrumental, is
afforded such as have an aptitude for it. Several industrial
pursuits are open also; piano tuning, broom making, carpet
weaving, hammock making, and bead work being taught, while girls
are taught sewing, both by hand and on the machine, mending,
knitting, crocheting, and cooking.
From the foregoing it will be seen that there are practically in
operation three schools under one roof, three distinct sets of
teachers being provided for the various departments. Hence it
must follow that the expense for educating a blind child is
greater than for the seeing brother or sister. During the
twenty-eight years of existence of this school over 300 pupils
have been in attendance, of whom 60 have completed the entire
course and graduated. Many are earning a good living, and are a
credit to society, who but for the school would have been a
charge upon the community in which they live.
The present building has been erected at different times; the
original building, now known as the East wing, was built in
1876, at a cost of $10,000; what is known as the Main building
followed in 1887 at a cost of $35,000, and the West wing in
1885, at a cost of $14,000. The total cost of maintenance for
the past year was about $12,000. The total appropriation for the
present biennium is $44,400.
Three teachers are employed in the literary department, three in
the music department, two in the industrial, and one for
typewriting and library work. The Matron has two assistants, one
of whom looks after the girls, and the other the boys, caring
for their clothing, etc., besides attending to them in case of
sickness. A physician is employed by the month to render any
assistance needed from him, without cost to the pupils.
Institution for the
This institution was founded in 1869, beginning its educational
record April 1st of that year, with a class of 113 pupils. It
has steadily increased in number of pupils, building
accommodation, facilities for caring for children and imparting
At that time the institution was under the direction of a board
of six members, and the first year's expenditures amounted to
$2,995. Rev. H. W. Kuhns was interested in the establishment of
this school. United States Senator J. H. Millard assisted the
institution and for a number of years acted as treasurer of its
The yearly enrollment now reaches about 200 pupils and the
annual expenditure amounts to about $40,000. Since the founding
of the school there have been five Superintendents. First was
William M. French, who held the position two years. He was
followed by Mr. R. H. Kinney, a teacher of the deaf from
Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Kinney managed the institution for about
eight years, then Mr. J. A. Gillespie and his wife, both
teachers of the deaf in the Iowa school at Council Bluffs, were
put in charge. They retained the position for nearly twenty
years. This period marked the great growth of Nebraska as a
state in population and wealth, and the wonderful development of
the City of Omaha as its metropolis. In consequence the School
for the Deaf grew commensurate with the development of the
state. At the time Mr. Gillespie took charge, 53 pupils were
reported in attendance, and at the close of his administration,
in 1897, 160 deaf boys and girls were being educated at the
expense of the state in this institution.
The first building erected was a three-story brick 44x60. To
this was gradually added as necessity required and means were
available, till now there are seven large brick buildings and
three frame buildings, the whole, with furniture and equipment
worth approximately $300,000. Ten acres of the grounds upon
which these buildings stand were donated by citizens. Later a
few acres were purchased, making in all at the present time 23
acres. This is not by any means sufficient for such an
Lands contiguous with this institution are now held so high in
price that it is doubtful whether any Legislature will see fit
to make appropriations for further additions.
In 1897, by order of Gov. Silas A. Holcomb, H. E. Dawes was made
Superintendent to supersede Mr. Gillespie. Mr. Dawes held the
position three years, and was succeeded in 1901 by the present
officer, R. E. Stewart, a teacher for ten years prior in the
Nebraska and Iowa schools. During the administration of Mr.
Dawes some valuable improvements were made.
The Legislature of 1899 appropriated $25,000 for a new school
building, $7,700 for boiler house and engine room, and $6,000
for a new dynamo. The work of reconstructing, organizing,
furnishing with suitable equipment, tools and household comforts
has been pushed vigorously and effectively, but with stringent
economy, by Mr. Stewart. Capable, trainable teachers have charge
of the children in school, and the greatest possible care is
exercised over them in selection and preparation of food,
exercise, clothing, beds and bedding, medicines and morals. Not
a death has occurred in that institution under its present
Pupils are trained in the industrial shops in the arts of
printing, shoemaking, carpentering, laundry work, drawing and
painting, and farm ing. Four graduates of the class of 1903
passed examinations to enter Gallaudet College, a national
college for the deaf located in Washington, D. C. and are now in
The intent of this institution is not that of an asylum. Only
those capable of being taught are accepted. A regular course of
study is arranged. The school term lasts nine months. Parents
pay for clothing and railroad fare for their children; all other
items of maintenance are paid by the state. All who have been
educated in this school have become self-supporting and
law-abiding citizens. Many have established homes for themselves
and are successful and happy. The children from these homes are
usually endowed with all their senses.
The results of this institution have not been a waste of money,
but the uplifting of a class who in ignorance are often paupers
and sometimes criminals. It is an institution of which the state
may well feel proud, a school to lessen poverty, misery and
crime and create in their stead plenty, comfort and peace for a
class who otherwise would be most unfortunate.
The Old People's Home, of Omaha, was started twenty years ago.
It was formerly the "Old Ladies' Home," and was free, the Home
being supported by contributions. Those entering since August,
1903, are obliged to pay $300.00 a year. Applicants are admitted
on probation six months, must be 65 years old, and must have
lived in Omaha three years. This institution in December, 1903,
was the home of nineteen old people. The management consists of
a board of nine directors and six officers, the President being
Mrs. Geo. Tilden of Omaha.
Nebraska Institution for Feeble Minded
This institution was established by the State of Nebraska in
1885 for the benefit of the feeble minded children between the
ages of five and eighteen years, who, by reason of their
affliction, are denied the educational advantages of our public
schools and who, likewise, because of their physical weakness,
are necessarily dependent. Children, residents of Nebraska, who
are feeble minded, and those who, by reason of their being
backward, are unable to receive the benefits of the common
schools and ordinary methods of instruction, are entitled to
care and training free of charge, except the expense of
necessary clothing and transportation to and from their homes.
Aside from the school duties, the girls are taught sewing, house
work, cooking, and all branches of domestic employment, while
the boys are instructed in brush making, carpentering, farm
work, and other branches of employment that may be useful to
them in after life. Seven instructors are employed.
This institution is located at Milford, and came into existence
in 1888. The object for which it was founded was to shelter,
protect and help reform wayward, unfortunate girls who seek the
protection of the Home. With this laudable purpose in view a
number of the benevolent women of Nebraska secured the
establishment and control of this Home. The Legislature of
1896-7 took it from their control and placed it in the hands of
the Governor. Mr. A. M. Edwards served as Superintendent until
May, 1902, and was succeeded by Margaret Kealy.
In 1902 over 550 girls, of an average age of nineteen and a half
years, had sought the shelter and care of the Home. Eighty-two
adults and babes were cared for in 1902. Each inmate enters for
a term of one year, and is taught plain and fancy cooking,
laundry, general housework, and plain sewing, as well as the
branches of study given in our common schools. In addition to
these practical helps toward fitting them for useful lives, they
receive religious instruction.
The cost of maintaining the Home is about $10,000 a year. The
per capita cost of maintenance in 1902, based on the average
weekly attendance (63), computed upon the entire expenditures,
was $3.03 per week.
A source of revenue to the institution are the products of the
forty-acre farm-^the fruit trees, vegetables, poultry, hogs and
dairy products, amounting to $1,331.47, under the management of
Mrs. A. M. Edwards-a good showing on a land appraisement of
$2,400; an enterprise that the State has reason to feel proud
of, both in its charitable work and its economical management.
The State Normal School, located at Peru, has five large and
commodious buildings, finely equipped with all modern
conveniences. The grounds are beautiful, and the location is
healthful and free from the annoyances usual to the city or
town. This school is ably presided over by the Principal,
Professor Clarke, and a highly competent corps of instructors.
Hundreds of graduates have been sent out from this school to
fill the highest and most responsible positions as teachers in
the best schools in Nebraska and adjoining states. The value of
the Normal School is becoming a matter of common information,
and school boards everywhere are demanding the normal school
Nebraska's last Legislature provided for a second Normal School,
which was located by the authorized committee at Kearney, where
grounds and suitable buildings are being provided.
State Home for the
The State Home for the Friendless is located near Lincoln on
2.07 acres of ground; has five buildings and a small greenhouse.
The main building, school building and laundry are brick; the
hospital and barn are frame. The first two are two stories and
basement, the laundry two stories, with boiler room in basement.
The main building has kitchen, store room, girls' room,
children's dining room, girls' play room, boys' wash room,
office, parlors, old ladies' dining room, sleeping rooms, halls,
nursery, girls' dormitory and clothes room. The school building
has in basement boys' play room, wash room, kindergarten room
and engineer's room. First floor-chapel, school room, matron's
room, boys' dormitory and wash rooms. Second floor-boys'
dormitory, bath room, sleeping rooms, etc. Every department of
this institution is carried on in a systematic and careful
manner and is one of the most deserving public institutions in
the State in the interest of charity.
A Condensed History of Nebraska for fifty years to date,
Compiled by Geo. W. Hervey, Editor, and Published by Nebraska
Farmer Co., Omaha, Nebraska, 1903.
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