Penny Post: Indianapolis Orphan Home

Written by on June 18, 2014 in Penny Post - 8 Comments
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Indianapolis was home to three orphan asylums at the beginning of the 20th century, including the Indianapolis Orphan Asylum. When this Penny Post was mailed in 1909, the Indianapolis Orphan Asylum was located at 4107 E. Washington until it merged with the German General Protestant Orphans and the Evangelical Lutheran Orphans homes in 1941.

Postmarked: Indianapolis, IND., AUG 16, 1909 – 2 PM

Aug. 15th
This shows only a small portion of the “Home.”
Cottages back.
My Division is marked with X.
With love
Orphan1909_backAddressed to:
Miss Myrta Ware
West Va


This 1941 Baist Atlas Plan map shows the 4107 E. Washington location of the Indianapolis Orphan Asylum. (image: Indianapolis Sanborn Map and Baist Atlas Collection, IUPUI)

A penny for your thoughts … what historic philanthropic organization do you think has made a big difference in Indianapolis?

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About the Author

Ashley Haynes is from Indianapolis and grew up bringing storybook characters to life in her imagination. Now, she peers into the history of old buildings, letters, and postcards, imagining the lives of the people who touched the stair-rail or held the pen.

8 Comments on "Penny Post: Indianapolis Orphan Home"

  1. Amanda Grube June 18, 2014 at 9:14 am · Reply

    Re: A penny for your thoughts … what historic philanthropic organization do you think has made a big difference in Indianapolis?

    Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana has a very rich history. I would love to hear about their beginnings and how far they’ve come in Indianapolis. 🙂

  2. Susan Kraeszig June 22, 2014 at 9:44 am · Reply

    That’s interesting. I grew up at 25 N. Chester. We used to cut through that lot to walk to Christian Park. Can’t remember the name of the place it used to be – some sort of lodge where they would have parties. Later they built a Steak n Shake in front of it on Washington St. Now it’s a car parts store. I never knew about the orphan’s home there.

  3. Mike Hoffmann June 23, 2014 at 12:45 am · Reply

    That used to be where the Sahara Grotto used to be. The Steak and Shake was on Washington and the Grotto was further back. I had relatives that lived on Gladstone Ave. I also had no idea of the history of that area.

    • Ashley Haynes June 23, 2014 at 6:54 am · Reply

      I’m glad we helped you learn something new!

  4. Bill Laut June 27, 2014 at 1:53 pm · Reply

    Interestingly, all three orphanages were on Indianapolis’ east side, near the train tracks. Reason? The “Orphan Trains” which ran from the east coast cities such as NY and Philadelphia and were taking orphans out west to work in the Great Plans, ran on those tracks. So, it made sense for the Indianapolis orphanages to locate in the same general area, near the tracks.

  5. Karen Wazny July 8, 2014 at 5:10 pm · Reply

    I have a picture of my grandfather standing outside the orphanage with his seven children. They were left there during a bitter divorce between him and his first wife. The first wife came and claimed the six older children but left the youngest one. When my grandfather remarried he went to get the youngest boy before he was put up for adoption.

  6. Angela January 11, 2017 at 9:26 am · Reply

    Can you tell me where I could find the orphanages records? Many of my relatives ended up in this orphanage due to poverty and parents dying of tuberculosis. So large pieces of my heritage are missing to me.

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