History of Sacred Heart Home and School

homeless kids home

Sacred Heart Home History

1938-1974

 The Dormitory was built and the home and School operated for 35 years.
The Cooper homestead at 600 S. Main Street became famous for the annual Jersey Cattle Sales, nationally and internationally. During those events, the town was filled with buyers from all over the globe. The Linden Grove Sales Pavilion across the street from the house was constructed to allow sales to continue during inclement weather. The Pavilion’s unique open structure and its significance to the area have helped it to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. When cattle sales were seriously curtailed during the Depression, the large property with its buildings and fields was sold off. The mansion became a Catholic orphanage. It later found new use as Pinebrook Junior College. This old landmark of the Cooper family has been fully restored in 2001.
http://www.coopersburgborough.org/history.htm

TIMELINE:

  • 1899~ The Sacred Heart Order Originated in Germany .
  • 1908~The sisters came to this country as teaching nuns.
  • 1927- The idea for the home began with Msgr. Leo G, Fink of sacred Heart Parish in Allentown
  •  1938,May 2Philadelphia Diocese of the Sacred Heart Church  purchased the Cooper mansion. Col. Coopers estate sold the property to Msgr. Fink for $15,000 . It included 24 acres, a mansion, another dwelling and a large barn.The nuns from Reading PA staffed the Orphanage. The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart staffed the orphanage since the beginning in 1938.
  • 1938, Oct. 9~ The home was dedicated , for the care of dependent and neglected children regardless of race, creed or color. It was turned over to the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart to operate. It started with 4 nuns and 6 orphaned and half-orphaned children
  • 1939?~The main building was hit by a $10,000 fire .
  • 1940’s- Dining room and dorm built . 91 children
  • 1949~A twister ripped off sections of the barn roof. Classes were held in the barn until 1950 when the new school was built.
  •  1950- A new school and dorm added
  • 1951~ new chapel built
  •  1958– Gymnasium opened. Gym built capacity of 1200
  • 1961? ~new caretaker dwelling built.
  • 1963- 131 children,mid-1960’s they stopped taking preschool children
  • 1972, September–  the school part closed, so the remaining children attended Assumption Parochail school in Colesville. They stopped taking 7th and 8th graders because it was felt that age needed a father figure.
  •  1974, June -Home ceases operation.The State Regulations forced the home to close because there were too few children being housed. Monsignor David B. Thompson , vicar general of Allentown Catholic Diocese confirmed that  the Sacred Heart Home in Coopersburg will close after 35 years due to lack of staff and children. There were 7 nuns and 31 children left there at the time of closing. The problem seemed to be a new trend of placing children into foster homes and women no longer becoming nuns.
  •  1976- Pinbrook Jr.College purchased the property
  • 1992– Pinebrook moved out Pinebrook Junior College moved from the property in 1992. The date listed (1985) on the timeline is in question — noted with a question mark. Clyde W. Snyder, was employed at the college as art teacher. The last class to be graduated was in May 1992.
  • 1985-present- Left to rot. Lack of public sewage has prevented development ever since. The front house( convent) is a private residence.
  • 2010- A guy from cityline said that they were turning the place into a firehouse training center.
  • 2014– still standing but in bad shape.Plans to make it into a condominium. Read the Morning Call Article

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Sacred Heart Home and School -abandoned !

Sacred Heart Home and School -abandoned !

We went to church a lot! I loved sticking my fingers in the hot wax of the candles.

The confessional. Make sins if you can’t remember any. Seven Our fathers and three Hail Marys!

Not much left in the church. Where did it all go?

Photo by Mary Sullivan Esseff

Photo by Mary Sullivan Esseff

Photo by Mary Sullivan Esseff

photo by Mary Sullivan Esseff

photo by Mary Sullivan Esseff

Sacred Heart School days photos

The schools as they look today. My grandchildren and I went in and took pictures of what used to be my classrooms.

Chained front door to the home.

The Sisters would’ve whacked their knuckles hard for drawing on the chalkboard! The linen room for a beating for sure!

Smashed glass everywhere.

Classrooms

My granddaughter Ana checking out where I went to school.

Photo by Mary Sullivan Esseff

Photo by Mary Sullivan Esseff

photo by Mary Sullivan Esseff

Photo by Mary Sullivan Esseff

Time to EAT! Sacred Heart Home cafeteria.

Time to EAT! Sacred Heart Home cafeteria.

"This is Mother Alfreda cooking at the fryer with Kathy Jeffery, Donna Gaffney (middle) and Ada Velez in pigtails. I remember Mother Alfreda made donuts in the fryer....they floated when she cooked them." Linda Jeffery

“This is Mother Alfreda cooking at the fryer with Kathy Jeffery, Donna Gaffney (middle) and Ada Velez in pigtails. I remember Mother Alfreda made donuts in the fryer….they floated when she cooked them.” Linda Jeffery


How the cafeteria looks now:

The kitchen, where all our slop was prepared. I did love the cornbread, still do!

Some type of giant fryer thing. Maybe that was added when it was a college?

I helped wash dishes many times.

Another view of the dishwashing room right off the cafeteria.

Lights out in the cafeteria.

We got on our hands and knees and scabbed that cafateria floor.

Photo by Mary Sullivan Esseff

Dormitory of Sacred Heart Home and School

Dormitory of Sacred Heart Home and School

And this is where we slept…

The little girls bathroom.

Little girls pink bathroom. Good thing we had flashlights!

I remember standing at those sinks brushing my teeth. Do you?

The doors leading into the little girls dormitory. They were always locked so we wouldn’t run away.

The big irks dormitory. Looks like it once was the nursery?

Photo by Mary Sullivan Esseff

Photo by Mary Sullivan Esseff