Shiloh Comprehensive Community Center
We Are Still Here
Shiloh Orphanage - 1902 - 1970
The orphanage played an important role historically by providing housing, care, and education for black children without families in a time when governmental assistance was not available. The orphanage consists of three buildings: Strong Academy, the Girls Dormitory, and the Boys Dormitory. These buildings are architecturally significant as examples of their type and because the dormitories were designed by locally prominent architects.
The Shiloh Baptist Association founded Shiloh Orphanage in 1902, initially locating it in the home of Reverend Daniel McHorton, the first superintendent. In 1904, the orphanage purchased land on 15th Street from Mrs. Hattie Strong, who had previously tried to organize an orphanage at this location near the historically black neighborhood of Bethlehem.
Three buildings were constructed as part of the orphanage. A one room school for the younger children, Strong Academy, was built in 1910 and named in honor of Mrs. Strong’s husband. The Girls Dormitory was erected in 1927, designed by the architectural firm of Scroggs and Ewing. Edward Lynn Drummond, another locally prominent architect, designed the Boys Dormitory in 1936. The orphanage had a vegetable garden to the east of the complex of buildings and used some of the acreage to graze cattle.
At Shiloh, the older children took care of younger children. Some of the older residents worked in the homes of white citizens and members of the Shiloh Board of Directors. The children’s chores included washing, ironing, cleaning, and working in the garden. For entertainment, they played games in the yard, took walks in the neighborhood, and read books.
After operating for over 60 years, the orphanage closed in 1970. In 1977, the Shiloh Comprehensive Community Center formed to serve citizens in the area and began using the orphanage buildings. In Recognition of “Shiloh Comprehensive Community Center.”