Side A: The Civil War created orphaned and impoverished children across the nation. To establish a home for area children, a group of Hamilton women met with Reverends Thane Miller and Benjamin W. Chidlaw in January 1869. By May, the women had rented a house on North C Street. Five years later, a new house was needed. Local businessmen Clark Lane and Elbridge G. Dyer pledged a combined $10,000 to purchase the property at 425 South D Street. One condition of the gift was that home’s operators had to raise an additional $2,000 to cover expenses. The newer, larger home opened in September 1875. In 1902, Robert and Eleanor Beckett McKinney donated funds to build a hospital on the property, named Ruth Hospital, to honor their deceased infant daughter. Mrs. McKinney and her mother, Martha Beckett, had long supported the home’s work. (Continued on other side)
Side B: (Continued from other side) To alleviate overcrowding, a new dormitory was built behind the mansion in 1909 to house up to 40 boys in two “cottages” named for benefactors Lane and Dyer. The estate of Charles E. Heiser, a president of the Second National Bank, gave funds to install a swimming pool at the home in 1921. Under the direction of Superintendent Raymond Brane, older boys built a slaughterhouse in 1937, which provided meat and lard for the home. In 1977, the home became the Miami Valley Children’s Center. It closed in 1985 for lack of funds. Approximately three decades later, New Oaks Community reopened the facility as The Father’s House, a center for families who adopt and provide foster care for area children.