1885: Chapel Dedicated

Exercises at the Middletown Industrial School To-Day.

Middletown, Conn., Oct. 17.–This afternoon took place the formal dedication of the new chapel of the Industrial school, a large number of ladies and gentlemen from different parts of the state being present. The exercises were of a very interesting character.

In 1866, several petitions were presented to the general assembly asking the state to create an institution in which girls whose surroundings were likely to lead them to vicious or criminal lives could be cared for and educated. In response to these petitions the legislature appointed a commission consisting of the Rev. Thomas K. Fessenden of Farmington, Professor D. C. Gilman of New Haven and Dr. J. P. Whitcomb of Brooklyn, to investigate the subject and report the next year. These gentlemen made a favorable report, but no action was taken in 1867. In that year was subscribed for the school by the citizens of Hartford, and about the same amount by residents of New Haven. In other towns numerous persons donated various sums, all showing that the benevolent people of the state were much interested in the enterprise, which was chartered in 1868 as the “Connecticut Industrial School for Girls.” The state appropriated $3 per week for the board and clothing of each girl sentenced to the school, and also made a conditional appropriation for the establishment. The towns of Winsted, Farmington and Middletown, asked that the school be located within their borders. The trustees selected Middletown, which, at a cost of $11,500, purchased nearly fifty acres of land and presented the same to the school. The first two buildings erected were named the “Pratt Home” and “Street Home,” in honor of Miss Esther Pratt of Hartford, and Mrs. Street of New Haven, each of whom had given $5,000 to the institution. In 1874 the third building was raised and named the “Allyn Home,” in recognition of a $10,000 donation from ex-Mayor Allyn of Hartford. The fourth building was named the “Rogers Home,” in honor of Mrs. Martha Rogers of Middletown, who gave $5,000 toward the cost of it. In 1881 the legislature appropriated $10,000 to the institution, and the fifth building was erected and named the “Russell Home,” a legacy of $5,000 having been received from Mrs. Samuel J. Russell of Middletown. The state also appropriated $10,000 for a water supply, which cost $10,419. In 1884 the state appropriated $15,000 for the erection of a building to contain a chapel hall and school room. This is the building which was dedicated this afternoon. The school has more than 200 pupils.

From The New Haven Register, Saturday, October 17, 1885.

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