homeless kids home

Sacred Heart Home History


 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.

The home opened with four sisters caring for six children and expanded into nearby farm buildings. Three of the first children were Jane and her brother Robert Gallagher. The Gallagher children are 3 of the 6 who entered Sacred Heart the day it opened on October 9, 1938.  There were 3 children Jane, Robert and Mae. The eldest daughter, Doris arrives later and is noted in the 1940 census. By 1963, it was home to nearly 130 — known as “insiders” or “homies” — and educated 200 parochial-school students — known as “outsiders.


  • 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


7 thoughts on “History

  1. My father, Joseph Stringer, and his brother, William Stringer, were residents at the home. I’m estimating they were there from approximately 1942-1944. I have photos of them in front of the home, as well as a photo of their confirmation class at the home. There are 10 boys in the class photo.

  2. my mother and her siblings were the first children brought to the orphanage in 1938.They were living in another orphanage called St.Vincent’s in Philadelphia, PA prior to their move to Sacred Heart.

  3. My aunt was in the Missionary Sisters School of the Sacred Heart in Westchester in 1915, does anyone know about this place?

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