An early charity institution made its appearance in Winfield in 1907 in the form of the Lutheran Children’s Home. Mrs. I. P. Baden, founder of the home had originally purchased the old Highland Park Sanitarium at 411 Park Place and donated it to be used as the orphanage. Most of the children cared for were from families who couldn’t or wouldn’t provide for them. Any child who was in need of a home, and mentally and physically sound, or at least had disabilities that could be remedied by surgery, was eligible for keeping and care in the orphanage. A former school teacher, George F. Weinrich and Susanne Weinrich, his wife were superintendent and matron for 32 years. The home housed approximately thirty-two children, all of whom called their foster parents, the Weinrichs, “mama and papa.” The old Highland Park Sanitarium used as the orphanage was soon outgrown and a new building was erected and dedicated at 411 Park Place in 1921. Thoroughly modern and homelike, the new building was considered the best of its type. The purpose was always considered a home-finding society, and during the years, 1100 children were housed and placed in private homes. Mr. and Mrs. Weinrich retired in 1939 and the Rev. Sam Widiger became superintendent. When he resigned to take a position in Wichita, the Rev. Eugene Jobst became super intendent. Under Jobst the purpose of the home changed. The society changed its name to Lutheran Social Services, built a new head quarters in Wichita, Kansas and closed the home in Winfield. The society still exists and the services did not end with the closing of the orphanage. The society just changed its scope. In addition to finding homes for children, the society also provides help for disadvantaged and displaced persons, marriage counseling and other services. After the building used as the orphanage in Winfield was closed it was used in various ways through the years and finally was demolished in August 1981.
Submitted by Edith (Weinrich) Shields
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