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Rockland Children’s Homes
and Other Institutions
which may provide information
of Genealogical Interest


The Alms House - Viola - Pomona
Department of Social Services -
St. Agatha’s Home for Children - Nanuet
Sisters of Charity Convent - (St Agatha’s Home property) - Nanuet
NY Foundling Hospital - NYC
St. Dominic’s Home - Blauvelt

Motherhouse and Novitiate of the Third Order of St. Dominic - Orangetown
Asylum of Sisters of St. Dominic - Orangetown

St Agnes Convent and Orphanage - Orangetown (Sparkill)

Motherhouse and Novitiate Dominican Convent of Our Lady of the Rosary - Orangetown (Sparkill)
St. Joseph’s Orphan Asylum - Piermont

House of the Good Shepard - Haverstraw,
Stony Point
Home for the Friendless (American Female Guardian Society) - NYC

Woodycrest - Happy Valley - NYC,
Bronx, Pomona
Crystal Run Village, Inc. -
Five Points House of Industry, Happy Valley - NYC - Pomona
The Orphan Trains - NYC
The NY Children’s Aid Society, NYC
Marydell (Novitiate of the Sisters of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine) - Upper Nyack
Christian Herald Camp - Nyack

Lakeside School
- Spring Valley
The Edwin Gould Academy - Chestnut Ridge
Letchworth Village - (New York
State School for Mental Defectives) - Thiells, Haverstraw Twp
New York State Orthopedic Hospital for Children
Rockland Psychiatric Center (RPC) - Orangeburg
Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Center (RCPC) - Orangeburg
Jawonio, Inc - New City

The Salvation Army Eventide Home (Door of Hope) - Orangetown

The Salvation Army - West Nyack

Jewish Convalescent Home - Orangetown

For Jewish orphans the best site is:

The German Masonic Home - Tappan

St. Vincent De Paul Home for Convalescent Women - Suffern

Reed Home for Convalescents - Clarkstown

The Tolstoy Foundation - Valley Cottage

Convent of the Holy Child Jesus - Suffern

Eymard Seminary - Suffern

Sisters of Charity Convent - Haverstraw
Sisters of Charity Convent - Nyack

Bluefields - Blauvelt
Camp Shanks World War II Museum - Orangeburg

Haverstraw Mountain Institute - Haverstraw

College - Nyack
Rockland County Female Institute - Orangetown

College - Christian and Missionary Alliance - Nyack
Junior College - Nyack
Aquinas College (STAC) - Sparkill
College - Blauvelt
Community College - Viola/Suffern
The Clarkstown Country Club - Nyack
Fraternal and Social Organizations

  I.O.O.F. - Independent Order of Odd Fellows
  Masons - F. & A. M.
  Knights of
  Military Organizations

    G.A.R. - Grand Army of the Republic
    American Legion of Honor
    American Legion
    Veterans of Foreign Wars
    Veterans Memorial Associations
    Jewish War Veterans

  National/Cultural Organizations

The organizations shown in yellow highlight above are believed to be defunct and no significant information about their histories has been found.  The compiler asks anyone with information on these defunct organizations or additional information or corrections on other organizations to forward the information to the Genealogical Society of Rockland County, or the Webpage Researcher.

Robert L. Protzmann
WebPage Compiler and Researcher
Last edited 16 February 2006


During the middle to late 19th Century, the major cities of America teemed with immigrants and poor families.  Many families could not care for their children.  In many cases disease produced orphans or half-orphans, especially in the slums and immigrant neighborhoods.  The large number of deaths during the Civil War aggravated the problem even more.  The municipal governments couldn’t or wouldn’t make the effort to alleviate these problems.  Private and religious charities were founded to fill the void. 

As the number of orphans and foundlings continued to grow, it was not possible to care for them in city asylums.  This led to two innovations.  First, city organizations extended their operations to rural counties, such as Rockland, to either give city children fresh air during the hot summers, or to house them in rural settings away from the teeming slums of the city.  Second, orphans were placed on trains and sent to farm families in Upstate NY, or in the Central, Mid-West, and Western states, eventually even in Alaska.  These trains became known as the Orphan Trains.

Since many individuals spent time in Rockland County, or passed through the county on the Orphan Trains, this WebPage is designed as an introduction to the history of the charitable organizations, and their facilities, including children’s and adult homes, and schools where individuals of interest may have lived, gone to school or worked.  An attempt is also made to provide links to further information, especially to sources for further research to assist in locating individual records.  Further information can be obtained by Google-searching for an organization name (enclosed in quote marks) on the Web.  Information on the histories of many other NYC organizations, which do not have Rockland County connections, and are therefore beyond the scope of this survey, can be found in this manner.

The Alms House - Viola (formerly Mechanicsville)

The Alms House (or County Poor House) was established in 1837, at Viola, (then known as Mechanicsville) in the Town of Ramapo, for the poor and destitute (debtors).  It was 7 miles West of New City.  Rockland County had purchased the 47-acre parsonage farm of the Kakiat (West New Hempstead) Dutch Reformed Church (also known as the Brick Church) for use as an Alms House.  There the county originally built a wooden frame house to serve the poor.  The inmates contributed to their upkeep by tending the farm.  In 1883, a brick building was constructed.  The facility included a school for the children.  In 1957, the Alms House was moved to Building “C” at the Pomona Health Center in Summit Park, and the property would become the site of Rockland Community College.  The Alms House was re-named the Rockland County Infirmary and Home.  In 1977, it was removed to Building “A”.  It has been re-named the Summit Park Nursing Care Center

The old brick Alms House building remains as an Administration Building (Brucker Hall), used by Rockland Community College.  The farm lands are the campus.  The Poor Cemetery (Potter’s Field) remains on the RCC campus, along with the original Gary Onderdonk Veteran’s Cemetery.

Department Of Social Services - Pomona


The Dr. Robert L. Yeager Health Center

Building L

Sanatorium Road

Pomona, NY  10970-0307


Department of Health

Nursing Home

50 Sanatorium Road

Pomona, NY  10970


Other telephone numbers for Rockland County Government Departments can be found in the County Government pages of the Rockland County Telephone Book.

St Agatha’s Home for Children - Nanuet

Sisters of Charity Convent - Nanuet


135 Convent Road

Nanuet, NY  10954



The history of St. Agatha’s begins with a small group of devoted Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, who opened The Foundling Asylum of the Sisters of Charity, in Manhattan, to care for babies abandoned in the devastating wake of the Civil War.  On October 11, 1869, on the first night in their small, 4 story, Greenwich Village brownstone, at 17 East 12th Street, an infant was left on their doorstep.  By January 1, 1870, 123 babies had been delivered into the Sisters' care by families unable to provide for them.  In its first two years they cared for 2,560 infants.  Shortly after its establishment, the Foundling became a refuge not only for abandoned babies but for unwed mothers as well.  An Adoption Department was established to find suitable, permanent homes for children ready for adoption.  In the 1890's they changed their name to New York Foundling Hospital.  Following the example of the Children's Aid Society, the Foundling Asylum placed the children in permanent homes in the West & South, through the “Orphan Trains” which they had established.  They also opened St. Ann 's Maternity Hospital and St. John's Hospital for Sick Children.

In 1958, in order to serve the growing number of dependent and neglected children, a new building was erected on Third Avenue at 68th Street.  During this time, programs were initiated to assist emotionally-disturbed, pre-adolescents and to help children with handicapping conditions achieve their maximum potential. 

The history of the site of St. Agatha’s in Nanuet begins in 1874, with John Reid.  He built a house in Nanuet on property which had been owned by the Demarest family, to care for his sick wife in the country.  After his wife died, his son, a Jesuit Priest, asked him to donate the property to the Sisters of Charity.  It took until 1875 for the Sisters to obtain title to the property and amass the resources to open the facility as an orphan’s home.  St. Agatha’s continued to expand, by the purchase of neighboring properties, until it reached its present size.  In 1884 five Sisters from St. Joseph Home in NY and four little homeless girls, set up housekeeping in the Little Flower House on the present site.  That summer, a small building was erected for a chapel, children's dining room and kitchen. Next, they built a school room, then a dormitory.  One year later, there were 185 children residing at St. Agatha and four additional Sisters were added.  In 1889, five boys arrived from NY Foundling Hospital.  Saint Agatha’s Home provided care for children in a dormitory, and later in cottages.  Before long, there were four hundred children in residence.  In 1977, Saint Agatha’s Home for Children, which had been founded by the Sisters of Charity, merged with the Foundling.  Its services expanded over time to include foster homes and group homes.  Many of these programs were for residents of New York City, Rockland, Westchester, as well as other Upstate counties.

In 2005, it housed 454 Boys, 346 Girls, and 40 Sisters of Charity.  10 Cottages provided family settings on its 47 acres in Nanuet, Rockland Co., NY.  That year, the home had been operating under contract with the City of NY, which decided to place children in smaller, more family-like facilities.  The facility was closed, and the 37-40 acre property, containing school and residential buildings, was put up for sale.  The sale site also included a therapeutic riding center (Children of Promise Stable), the future of which is uncertain.  A small remaining parcel containing a Nun’s residence was not offered for sale.  St. Agatha’s continues to provide care in group homes throughout NYC, Nanuet and neighboring counties. 

 A book on St. Agatha’s Home, “Home Kids, The Story of St. Agatha Home,” has recently been written by Nancy Canfield.  It tells the story of her personal experiences at St. Agatha’s, as well as providing a history of the facility.  Nancy Canfield can be reached at  Profits from the sale of her book go to St. Agatha’s. 

NY Foundling Hospital


590 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10011

Tel: 212-633-9300

Fax: 212-886-4048

This society was organized in 1869, by the Sisters of Charity, and began placing out children in 1873.  It was established, in part, because Roman Catholic authorities were upset with the Protestant charities of NY were placing orphans and unwanted children with Protestant families, while many of those children were Catholic, especially Irish.  Orphan Train riders were sent from New York City to western families for adoption, and attempts were made to place children from Catholic backgrounds with Catholic families in Catholic communities.  The largest groups came from the New York Foundling Hospital, and from the Children's Aid Society.

St. Dominic’s Home - Blauvelt   (Asylum of the Sisters of St. Dominic)


500 Western Highway
Blauvelt, NY  10913
Director: Judy Kydon
Tel: (845) 359-3400
FAX: (845) 359-4253


St. Dominic’s Convent 

496 Western Highway



St. Dominic’s Group Home

137 S. Liberty Drive

Stony Point


St. Dominic’s Home

500 Western Highway



St. Dominic’s Haverstraw Group Home

8 Gillis Avenue



St. Dominic’s Nyack Group Home

2 Gillis Avenue



St. Dominic’s Home

22 Balmoral Drive

Spring Valley


St. Dominic’s Home

14 Birchwood Avenue



St. Dominic’s Home

54 Garfield Road



St. Dominic’s Home

57B Ridge Road

Valley Cottage


St. Dominic’s Home Upstate

4 Kensington Circle



St. Dominic’s Home Upstate

47 N Little Tor Road

New City


In November 1878, Sister Mary Ann Sammon and a few Dominican Sisters transported nine little girls under their care in NYC, to a residence in Blauvelt, Rockland County.  They had been living in the poverty and overcrowded conditions of New York City.  

What began as The Roman Catholic Juvenile Asylum, of Blauveltville, was purchased Dec 1878 by the Sisters of St. Dominic, from Joseph Eustace.  It was originally for the care of indigent female children (Green, p. 334).  Today, Mother Mary Sammon's legacy of dedication to the care of children continues through the partnership of more than 800 dedicated nuns and laypersons.  Saint Dominic's hosts more than 40 programs including foster boarding homes, adoption, adolescent residential programs, special needs education, pre-k education, community based services, adolescents emergency shelter and residences for adults with mental illness or developmental disabilities.  Adoption services are also provided.  A Catholic agency, Saint Dominic's cares for individuals in need in various locations throughout the New York metropolitan area, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity, and each child’s religious observance is provided for.

Annually, more than 2,000 children, adolescents, adults and their families are served through the programs of Saint Dominic's. 

Saint Dominic's Home is administered by Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York and affiliated with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. 

Motherhouse and Novitiate of the Third Order of St. Dominic - Orangetown


Sisters Of Saint Dominic, Blauvelt (St. Dominic’s Convent)
496 Western Highway
Blauvelt, NY  10913

Sisters of St. Dominic
23 Western Hwy
Blauvelt, NY  10913

Organized to preserve the organizational records and ministry records of Sisters of Saint Dominics’.  Research access by appointment only.  Written finding aids - On-site library/archive/research room. 

St Agnes Convent and Orphanage - Sparkill   (St. Agnes Home and School for Boys)

Motherhouse & Novitiate Dominican Convent of Our Lady of the Rosary - Dominican Sisters of Sparkill - Sparkill

Dominican Sisters of Sparkill
Rt 340
Sparkill, NY  10976
845-359-6400 - There are 1920 and 1930 census records transcribed on this site and the St Agatha site (see above).

The Dominican Congregation of Our Lady of the Rosary was founded by Mary Thorpe, Jun 18, 1844.  She was born an Anglican, in London, who arrived in NYC, with her sister, and began ministering to the sick and poor in 1872.  The Congregation becan under the guidance of Alice Thorpe, at St. Joseph Mission House, who became Mother Catharine M. Antoninus.  In 1884, The second Mother Superior, Dominic Dowling purchased the Johnson farm in Sparkill, and the three-story, 19-room farmhouse, that was once a summer hotel. was re-modeled and opened as the St Agnes Home and School for Boys, on Jun 19, 1884.  The property included 30 acres, and 25 boys came from NYC.  By 1889, there were 11 buildings.  In 1895, the Novitiate also moved to Sparkill, and the Convent included a home for girls.  A disastrous fire destroyed all the buildings at Sparkill.  A new fire-proof, brick building was erected and opened on Sep 24, 1902.  St Agnes School opened in 1922, and a Vocational High School opened in 1935, with academic subjects being taught to the residents at Tappan Zee High School.  The sisters of the Congregation have concentrated on teaching and serve in the parishes of St Anthony, Nanuet, St Paul, Congers, St Gregory Barbarigo, Garnerville, Sacred Heart, Suffern and St Catharine, Blauvelt.  In 1954, St Thomas Aquinas College (see below) was opened on the site.  In 1965, Rosary Academy, a secondary school for girls was opened.  When the school closed, it was sold to Camp venture, Inc for Venture’s Day Treatment Center.  The Rockland Campus of Long Island University also occupies part of the site.  In 1984, more of the property on Kings Highway was sold to Camp Venture.  The orphanage had a capacity of about 700 children, supervised by 67 Sisters of St. Dominic.  The St Agnes Home and School was closed in 1977.  The gothic brick home structure was demolished on Oct 25, 1979.  In 1981, Thorpe Village, a senior citizen’s complex was opened on the site.   

St. Joseph’s Orphan Asylum - Piermont

In Apr 1884, the Dominican Sisters purchased about 30 acres of farm land and established an Orphan Asylum.  This land was about half a mile from the Sparkill Station.  By Jun of 1884, 50 orphans of both sexes were moved from their asylum in NYC to the site.  This is probably the origin of the present St Agnes Home in Sparkill (see above). 

House of The Good Shepard - Haverstraw, Stony Point

[2005] No listing in telephone book

In 1865, an orphan asylum was founded in Haverstraw by Rev. E. Gay, Jr., Episcopal Minister (Rector) of Trinity Parish, Haverstraw, after he was left in charge of 7 orphans by the death of their parents.  A house at Broadway and Broad Street was used, and Mrs. Sarah A. Waters was engaged to care for the children.  In April 1, 1866, the home was moved to Garnerville, where it remained until 1872, when the Legislature approved a grant of $17,000, and $12,000 in donations enabled the purchase of a property and construction of buildings in Stony Point.  For 5 years it was known as the Parish Home of Trinity Parish.  In 1870, it was incorporated by the NY Legislature as, The House of the Good Shepard, Rockland County, New York.” 

Home For The Friendless - New York, NY                 Woodycrest - Pomona, NY

  Crystal Run Village, Inc. - Pomona, NY

[1996 - probably no longer valid]
Greer Woodycrest Children's Service
PRI Director
110 Pomona Rd
Pomona NY 10970

Crystal Run Village, Inc.
176 Summit Park Road
Spring Valley, NY  10977
For local offices, see Rockland Telephone Directory The history of Woodycrest and the Happy Valley School is long and complex, due to the merger of various children’s aid charitable organizations, which often operated a number of facilities under different names.  These operations would eventually be merged in Rockland County.  The individual histories will be presented below.

The Home For The Friendless (Home for Friendless Females or Children), was founded in 1849, and in 1899 was at 32 E. 30th St., NYC (between 4th and Madison Avenues).  It provided home visits and gave relief in sickness, furnished nurses to those under the care of the Society, and obtained admission to hospitals when desirable.  It had an employment bureau to furnish women with sewing to do in their own homes.  It also had a widows’ fund which pensioned old employees.  It was supported by voluntary contributions and the public school fund.  It included: Home School, at 29 E. 29th St., and twelve industrial schools, in various parts of the city, in which children were retained until admissible to the grammar department of the public schools.  The children in these schools were those whose families were too poor to clothe them properly for the public schools, and who, from various circumstances would be irregular in their attendance.  By 1900, it was known as the American Female Guardian Society And Home For The Friendless.  In 1905, the “Home for Friendless Females or Children” had a summer home in Tarrytown, Westchester, NY.  By 1954, it had a home in the Bronx, at 936 Woodycrest Avenue, Bronx, NY, 10452, which became known as Woodycrest.  It was across from Yankee Stadium, and was operating a summer camp at Bear Mountain.  In 1972, the children were moved to 110 Pomona Road, Pomona, Rockland Co., NY, to the facility known as “Five Points” or “Happy Valley.”  Woodycrest was merged with Five Points Child Care to first be known as Woodycrest-Five Points Child Care, and later as Greer-Woodycrest Children's Services with its headquarters in Manhattan and the home in Pomona.  13 new cottages were built at Pomona to accommodate the larger population. The old building in the Bronx was first sold to a Muslim organization and recently has become a hospice for people with Aids.  Woodycrest also owned a campground, with 12 cabins, at Bear Mountain on Lake Cohasset, where the Woodycrest children would go in the summer.  The camp continued after the move to Pomona.  Around 1980, Greer House merged with Woodycrest, and became "Greer-Woodycrest" at the Pomona Road location.  The facility was geared more towards housing children with various handicaps.  In 1990 the New York Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities issued a call to agencies to apply for the responsibility of providing care to people living in the bankrupt institution at Greer-Woodycrest in Pomona, NY.  As lead agency in a consortium of caregivers in Orange and Rockland Counties, Crystal Run Village, Inc. was awarded the contract to oversee the transition to new and vastly improved care for the children and adults of Greer-Woodycrest.  All 108 Greer-Woodycrest people were in new homes within two years, with 65 of the most behaviorally challenged individuals coming to live in programs directly managed by Crystal Run Village, Inc. The special needs of some of these long-time institutionalized people, whose disabilities presented significant challenges to care, resulted in the design of a unique system of habilitation. The system evolved into the Steppingstones program.  Steppingstones prepares people isolated for most of their lives for community integration.  By the beginning of the year 2002, all of the people living on the three Crystal Run Village, Inc. campuses relocated to 44 residences in the communities of Orange, Rockland and Sullivan Counties.  In addition to residential services, the agency offers Mental Health Services, Vocational and Skill Development Programs, Service Coordination, Respite House and Recreation.  The property in Pomona was sold to the Minisceongo Golf Club.  All buildings were removed, except for the administration  building, which housed the social services, and other offices, as well as the infirmary, the kitchen, staff dining rooms, chapel and laundry facilities.  This building was known as "Jessup Hall".  The records of the facilities were last known to be in the NYC office.  The records are confidential and are thought to be available only by court order.

Former residents have told of their experiences at Woodycrest:

“First of all, we lived in a Mansion in the Bronx.  We had a swimming pool, Gymnasium, Arts and Crafts, etc.   “I remember going back in 1984, to the Bronx, just "to see" what the old place looked like.  Well, the Muslin organization was only too happy to let me in and tell them all about the place as I remembered it, including little "nooks and crannies" that only little children would find, within the building, under staircases, attics...etc.  I would get goose bumps going all over there, after so many years, and they were ecstatic to hear what was where and what each room was used for.

“Regarding something else I thought of when I was trying to sleep last night.  In 1966, the summer that I went to Woodycrest after a few months in a place in Jamaica, Queens (don’t remember the name of it, I think it was called the "Queensboro Children’s Shelter"), is that Summer, when Woodycrest was bringing the residents back from our Summer Camp in Bear Mountain, the female population was eliminated.  That year, or during that time I should say, there was a problem with pregnancies, and being a Christian organization, this was not acceptable.  So they (Woodycrest) relocated all of the females to some other location (where, the old Conklin Graveyard (which is now known erroneously as the Greer Woodycrest Burial Ground).... Samuel Jessup who erected the Administration Building in Pomona.  In that building, which currently serves as the Club House for the Minisceongo Golf Club, you will find Aerial Photographs of the place when it was first renovated in the early 1970's, as well as one of what it looks like now.  I used to have aerial photographs of the place when it was actually Happy Valley Farm, prior to demolition of those old Victorian homes that were used as Dormitories.  I have copies of the ones that are up on the walls now of that building.  There are also Indian Artifacts, as well as a "plaque" that dedicates to the memory of the residents of what was "Happy Valley" that was installed by the Happy Valley Alumni Association, which I have not been in touch with in a long time.”

“He said he was born on March 20, 1933, and, at barely 6 months old, he was taken from his parents in New York City.  He's not sure why.  He was raised an orphan at the Happy Valley group home/farm in Rockland County.

He was schooled at Happy Valley Elementary School and before graduation from Spring Valley High School, Moe decided to join the Army.  He was 17 years old.

Several websites have been formed for Woodycrest Information: 

GradFinder Registration: Archdiocese - Genealogy:


1896: The Home For The Friendless, 32 E. 30th St; Established in 1849; Home School at 29 E. 29th St.

1900: American Female Guardian Society And Home For The Friendless, 29 E. 29th St. and 30 E. 30th St, Manhattan, NYC, NY.

1905 State Census: American Female Guardian Society, NY Co.; Enumerated In the 35th A.D., 37th E.D.

1909: American Female Guardian Society And Home For The Friendless, 936 Woody Crest Ave; Adoptive Placements into Christian families for destitute children; operates 12 industrial schools and a summer home at Oceanport, NJ. [Perhaps akin to: 1905: Woodycrest, no address, in Tarrytown NY; a summer home for children from various institutions in New York City; during the winter it serves crippled children]

1921: American Female Guardian Society And Home For The Friendless, 936 Woodycrest Ave.; Home for 210 destitute children, committed by the Bureau of Dependent Children; operates five Industrial Schools, in the Bronx and in Harlem with a total of 5,690 pupils; operates Wright Memorial; its Summer Home in Oceanport, NJ

1923 Census: American Female Guardian Society And Home For The Friendless, the Bronx, NY; residential care for dependent, white children; operates four Industrial Schools in New York City for the education of poor white children.

1933 Census: American Female Guardian Society, the Bronx, NY; residential care, under private auspices, for 176 dependent, white children, age 4-18.

1935: Same as 1940.

1940: American Female Guardian Society And Home For The Friendless, 936 Woodycrest Ave.; Inc. 1849; Congregate care for dependent Protestant children; it's summer home is in Oceanport, NJ

Same name and address as 1954; 125 dependent, Protestant children, age 4-14

1954: Woodycrest Of The American Female Guardian Society And Home For The Friendless, 936 Woodycrest Ave., Bronx; Summer Camp:same as 1965.

Same name and address as 1965; established in 1834; a Protestant institution for 100 normal and problem children from the New York Metropolitan area.  1965: Woody Crest Of The American Female Guardian Society, 936 Woodycrest Ave., The Bronx: residential care for the 100 dependent, Protestant children, age 7-14 and operated Camp Woodycrest at Lake Cohasset in Bear Mountain State Park.

 1977: Woodycrest-Five Points Child Care, (Greer-Woodycrest Children's Services) was headquartered at: 106 E 35th St., Manhattan, 10016, with its home in Pomona, NY.

Five Points House Of Industry - Happy Valley - NYC - PomonaThe history of the Five Points House Of Industry begins in NYC with the efforts of the several Protestant groups, including the Ladies Home Mission Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church (founded 1844), which formed the First Union Mission to operate the Five Points Mission, in 1850.  They hired Methodist minister, Louis M. Pease to operate the mission.  In 1851, after a disagreement, Pease left and founded his own Five Points House of Industry.  He was initially supported by the National Temperance Society, but a dispute caused their withdrawal of support.  Rev Gregory Bedell (Episcopal) organized a group of philanthropists to provide support.  Archibald Russell served as its board chairman for 18 years.  The buildings at155, 157 and 159 Worth Street were built in 1856, with a 54 ft front.  A picture can be viewed at  The house cared for orphans, trained children and fed local adults.  By 1921, it was operating a Cottage Colony in Pomona, Rockland Co, NY.  In 1933, it was called Happy Valley Farm and later Happy Valley SchoolThe Happy Valley site included old Victorian homes, that were a combination of old residences of the CONKLIN family (whose remains are still interred on the property) as well as housing that was built for the accommodation of the children.  The children had moved from Five Points, NYC, to Pomona at the end of the 19th century, orphaned by the epidemics that decimated NYC.  In 1973, after the merger with Woodycrest, and the transfer of its children from the Bronx, 13 additional cottages were built in Pomona, and the old Victorian homes were torn down.  Some of the old homes were kept as housing for the staff.  A gymnasium was erected, along with a school, a swimming pool, and other amenities.  Happy Valley, prior to 1972, was a "working farm" and the children were encouraged to maintain the place by way of taking care of the animals and farming.  For later history of the facility see Woodycrest, above.

Tom Riley has written “Happy Valley School - A History And Rememberance”.  It is the story of the years he spent at Happy Valley.


1896: Unverified citation for the Five Points House Of Industry.

1904 Census: The Five Points House Of Industry in Manhattan; for children and unemployed women.

1905 State Census: Five Points House Of Industry, NY Co, enumerated in the 2nd A.D., 20th E.D.

1921: The Five Points House Of Industry, 454 W 23rd St; office and reception house at same address; established in 1850; cares for orphans age 2-16; operates a Cottage Colony at Pomona, NY.

1923: Five Points House Of Industry, Pomona, NY; for dependent white children; established in 1850.

1933: Five Points House Of Industry, Queens [sic]; residential care, under privates auspices, for 312 dependent children, age 2-18; affiliated with Happy Valley Farm in Pomona, NY.

1935: Five Points House Of Industry, 454 W 23rd St.

1940: The Five Points House, 454 W. 23rd St; has a Boarding home department; operated Happy Valley School in Pomona; distinct from Five Points Mission, 59 Madison St.

1946: Same name and address as 1954; has a Foster Homes Department.

1954: Five Points House, 454 W. 23rd St., in Manhattan; operated the Happy Valley School (in Pomona). for dependent children, age 5-18; incorporated 1854.

1962: The Five Points House, Happy Valley School, in Pomona; office at 250 W.57th St, Manhattan, NYC, NY.

1965: Five Point House, NY; operated the Happy Valley School in Pomona for dependent children age 5-18.

Note: "FIVE POINTS" is the name of a neighborhood in Manhattan at the Intersection of Baxter, Worth and Cross Streets.

The Orphan Trains - NYC to Points North and WestFrom about 1854, some 250,000 homeless children from New York City were placed out to families in upstate New York and the Midwestern states.  They are frequently referred to as the Orphan Train Children or Orphan Train Riders.   The largest source of children sent out of NYC via the Orphan Trains was the NY Foundling Hospital; the second largest source was The New York Children's Aid Society, founded by Charles Loring Brace and others.  Children were sent by many NYC institutions as well as those in other large US cities.  Lists of participating organizations can be found at:; and in finding information can also be obtained from the Orphan Train Heritage Society of America  Contact: Mary Ellen Johnson at

Tom Riley, a freelance writer/photographer for 2 newspapers and the author of 7 books (fiction and nonfiction) on various subjects has written “Happy Valley School - A History And Remembrance”.  It is the story of the years he spent at Happy Valley.  While he was writing the book on Happy Valley he came across a treasure trove of information all but forgotten in an old barn.  It was about the largest mass migration of children in American history.  Over 250,000 children were transported across America by the Orphan Trains.  This led to Tom's book, “Orphan Trains Riders - A Brief History of the Orphan Train Era (1854-1929); with Entrance Records from the Female Guardian Society’s Home for the Friendless in New York”, which came out of handwritten records.  It has recently been published by LGT Press, and is available from Heritage Books and Willow Bend Books [ISBN 0-7884-3169-2]. 

For a personal story on the Orphan Train, see:

Information on records can also be found in:Inskeep, Carolee R. The Children's Aid Society of New York: An Index to the Federal, State, and Local Census Records of Its Lodging Houses (1855-1925), Clearfield, Baltimore, MD, 1996.  (FHL book 974.71 J3i; computer number 773504.)  Includes 1855, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890 (police census), 1900, 1905, 1910, 1915, 1920, and 1925 censuses.

Inskeep, Carolee R. The New York Foundling Hospital: An Index to Its Federal, State and Local Census Records (1870-1925), Clearfield, Baltimore, MD, 1995.  (FHL book 974.71 J48i; computer number 770095.).  Includes 1870, 1880, 1890 (police census), 1900, 1905, 1910, 1915, 1920, and 1925 censuses.  Alphabetical list of children, sisters, and workers. 

The New York Children's Aid Society - NYCAdoption and Foster Home Division150 East 45th StreetNew York, NY 10017Telephone: 212-949-4800Fax: 212-682-8016=20 

The New York Children's Aid Society was organized in 1853, by Charles Loring Brace and others.  It was the second largest source of children for the Orphan Trains.

Marydell - Upper Nyack Marydell Novitiate of the Sisters of Our Lady Christian Doctrine - Upper Nyack[2005]
Marydell Faith and Life Center
640 N. Midland Avenue
Nyack, NY  10960
845-358-5399Google: “Marydell Rockland history”

“The Sisters of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine have operated a camp and retreat center at the foot of majestic Hook Mountain in Upper Nyack since 1926.  Now numbering about forty members, mostly at or near what others would consider retirement age, the Sisters have discontinued their full-time children's camp and have begun renovating their well-worn buildings to serve as a revitalized site for retreats and conferences.  In the first phase, a 1928 Sears Roebuck barn has received structural reinforcement, a wheelchair platform life, accessible toilet rooms, new insulation, new windows, new kitchen equipment, and new finishes.  It continued to provide activity and dining space for up to 100 people, including a unique meeting room under the arched barn roof of natural cedar boards. “One of twelve cabins has also received a prototype upgrade to make it wheelchair accessible and to divide a single space into four double bedrooms. “Among the first users of the renewed buildings are the Sisters themselves when they gather from their far-flung ministries in this and other countries.” Gurney, founded Marydell, with a simple but challenging vision.  She wanted to assist the Catholic immigrants flocking to NYC at the beginning of the 20th Century. She wanted to provide them with a Catholic atmosphere for the process of acculturation.

Marion Gurney had first offered her services to the Dominican Fathers to help found the first Catholic settlement house in NYC.  St. Rose's Settlement, on East 69th St, was  organizing a normal school for catechists.  This was the beginning from which the Congregation of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine sprang.

A group of Marion’s associates, believing in the importance of living among the people they served, established day care, religious education, visitation, and human services among the many NYC immigrants developed the Madonna House on the Lower East Side of NYC.

Christian Herald Camp - Nyack[1961 - closed]Christian Herald RoadNyack, NYThe Christian Herald traces its roots back to 1878 when Joseph Spurgeon, sailed to NYC to establish an American version of the British weekly, “Christian Herald and Signs of Our Times”.  In 1890, Dr. Louis Klopsch, a German-born entrepreneur bought the magazine which grew to be one of the first global relief organizations in the world.  In 1894, the Christian Herald developed a “Food Fund” to alleviate the suffering of NYC’s poor, especially during the cold winters.  In the Spring, “Food Fund” had money left over, and it was decided to give a summertime outing to poor children so that they could escape the stifling condition of the city in the Summer.  Klopsch arranged to bring children to an estate in Nyack, New York belonging to his friend, the Reverend Lawrence Jewett, formerly pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church of Piermont, called Mont Lawn (on what is today Christian Herald Road).  The first children arrived from NYC aboard the “Chrystenah” and then by horse-drawn carriage on June 14, 1894.  Klopsch rented the estate for $1/month and Christian Herald purchased the estate after Jewett’s death several years later.  In 1895, Klopsch bought the ailing Bowery Mission, at 14 Bowery.  In 1898, the camp was incorporated as the Christian Herald Children’s Home.  The Christian Herald expanded by establishing orphanages in Asia.  He created a Christian book club, called the “Family Bookshelf.”  In 1925, permanent facilities for the disabled were build and presented to the home by Edwin Gould, the philanthropist.  Buildings were heated to permit use in the Spring and Fall.  Increasing suburbanization began to encroach on the country atmosphere at the Nyack camp.  Christian Herald purchased a 190-acre camp on a hill above the Delaware River in Bushkill in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains.  In 1961, Mont Lawn and the Christian Herald Children’s Home moved there.  The Nyack property was sold and in 2005, continues to be used by Camp Ramah, a Jewish organization, as a camping facility.  In 1973, to conserve funds, Christian Herald’s administrative offices to Chappaqua in Westchester Co, NY.  The Christian Herald magazine declined due in part to the competition of the large number of other Christian publications.  After some 3,300 issues, Christian Herald ceased publication with the May-June 1992 issue, with the record of being America's oldest continuously published religious magazine.In May of 1995, Christian Herald and the Bowery Mission became one combined nonprofit corporation,

Lakeside School - Spring ValleyLakeside Family and                 235 N. Main Street      Spring Valley                845-578-6800
Children’s Services
            Auto Shop                    1-9 Roosevelt Ave       Spring Valley                845-356-7828
            Group Home                2C Ridge Avenue         Spring Valley                845-578-6777
            Group Home                57 Roosevelt Ave         Spring Valley                845-578-6776
            NYC Line                                                                                            212-460-5755


For additional information, see Edwin Gould Academy.

Edwin Gould Academy - Chestnut Ridge[2005]
Edwin Gould Academy
681 Chestnut Ridge Road
Spring Valley, NY 

The Edwin Gould Academy was a boarding school for neglected, troubled and abused children, mostly from NYC.  It was founded by the philanthropist, Edwin Gould, son of Jay Gould, the railroad baron and principal owner of the Erie Railroad. 

The Edwin Gould Academy operated as a residential child care facility with a separate public school district, in Spring Valley, NY (later re-named Chestnut Ridge), run by the Edwin Gould Foundation for Children.  The Academy also received public funding and support from other foundations including: The Henry Luce Foundation, the van Ameringen Foundation, the Charles Hayden Foundation, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, the William T. Grant Foundation, the William Randolph Hearst Foundations and the Moore Foundation.  In addition to education and counseling, the Academy provided support services to its alumni, from academics to counseling, to finding a job or an apartment, helping them make the transition to an independent life.  It has gained impressive results with more than 50% of its high school graduates going on to college. The Academy's success was recently acknowledged when it received the 1998 Innovations of American Government Award sponsored by The Ford Foundation and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.  However, in recent times, the staff and student injuries were high, graffiti marred the walls, pregnancies became endemic, and academic achievement fell.  As a result, the Edwin Gould Foundation discussed the school's possible termination.  Changes in state philosophy regarding the transfer of troubled children to group homes finally resulted in the closing of the facility.  The last graduating class was in 2005.

2005 addresses -
Edwin Gould Academy 681 Chestnut Ridge Road         Spring Valley    845-356-9057
Edwin Gould Academy                                                                         845-425-6815
Edwin Gould Academy                                                                         845-573-9140
Edwin Gould Academy 300 Rt 45                                 Spring Valley    845-578-5696
Edwin Gould Academy Ramapo UFSD, 300 Rt 45       Spring Valley    845-788-6701
Edwin Gould Academy Ramapo UFSD, 300 Rt 45       Spring Valley    845-573-5000
Edwin Gould Academy Ramapo UFSD, 300 Rt 45       Spring Valley    845-578-5697
Edwin Gould Academy Ramapo UFSD, 681 CRR        Spring Valley    845-573-0015
Google:  "Edwin Gould Academy" for additional information.See also:

Letchworth Village - Thiells - Haverstraw Twp


Letchworth Village Home for the Feeble Minded and Epileptic (or New York State School for Mental Defectives) is a group of low gray buildings nestled in the woods West of Haverstraw.  The buildings are adorned with greek porticoes and tall arched windows, and sit among rolling hills of grass.  The facility has been closed as a state facility, but some buildings are now used by the town, and some of the grounds have been converted to a small golf course that winds throughout one side of the campus.  On the other side, a middle school has been built.In

1907, the New York State Board of Charities cited the need for the establishment of a facility in the southeastern part of the state to care for people who were then referred to as "feeble-minded and epileptics."  Rockland County was selected as the site for the facility, which was named The Eastern N.Y. State Custodial Asylum.  In 1908, the state legislature and Governor Hughes approved the appropriation of $188,575 to purchase 2,000 acres of "rolling farm country" in Theills.  In 1909, the facility was renamed Letchworth Village in honor of William Pryor Letchworth, a wealthy Quaker businessman and a noted philanthropist, humanitarian and advocate for the creation of the village.  Letchworth created a unique plan for the facility which involved a small “village.”  Famous architect William Welles Bosworth designed Letchworth Village.  The buildings were constructed from fieldstone gathered from nearby fields by local residents.  The facility opened on July 11, 1911.  The operation of the institution was designed to be as self-sufficient as possible.  The schools set up at Letchworth Village focused on academics and industrial classes that supported the facility's operation.  In the 1930’s, a farm was begun which was worked by the residents who were able to learn the trade of farming.  The crops, poultry, dairy, and pigs sustained village residents and the live-in staff.  The industrial arts program provided rugs, furniture, and other crafts for sale to local residents.

In the mid 1970s, The Letchworth facility started to move the residents from the large community setting, to a smaller home-like settings.  This transition was not completed until the mid-1990s and Letchworth Village officially closed its doors in 1996.  The property was sold to the towns of Stony Point, Haverstraw and the North Rockland School District.  A portion of the former site is now the Patriot Hills Golf Club.  [].

Some of the operations have been transferred to the newly named Hudson Valley DDSO, directed by James Whitehead.  The Hudson Valley Developmental Disabilities Services Office provides supports and services to people with mental retardation and developmental disabilities and to their families who live in Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and Westchester Counties.

A magazine article entitled, “Letchworth Village: The Newest State Institution For The Feeble-minded And Epileptic”, written by Charles S. Little, appeared in the March 2, 1912 issue of The Survey, vol.27, pp.1869-1872. 

Rockland Psychiatric Center (RPC) - Orangeburg[2005]
Rockland Psychiatric Center
Orangeburg Road
Orangeburg, NY  10962

RPC is a NY state center for care of mental patients, as well as the destitute, indigent and homeless.  It was opened on Jan 21, 1931, as Rockland State Hospital, on the former 600-acre Broadacres Farm.  It included a farm, (operated until 1960) which ranged from 40 to 125 acres, cultivated by the inmates, under supervision.  It included its own nursing school and hospital.  During WW II, it served Camp Shanks as a military hospital.  It had its own cemetery.  The old cemetery can be found behind the golf course.  The current cemetery is located on Blaisdell Road, Orangeburg, just South of W. Orangeburg Road.  It contains the graves of those who died in the facility, and is organized in sections, by religion.  Tombstones are flat, marble stones of the same type used for military veterans.  At the turn of the 21st Century, RPC is being closed down as patients are released or moved to community group homes, a process which began about 1970.

Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Center (RCPC) - Orangeburg [2005]
Rockland Psychiatric Center
Orangeburg Road
Orangeburg, NY  10962
599 Convent Road
Orangeburg, NY  10962
845- 359-7400

On the campus of the closed Rockland Psychiatric Center.  For the treatment of emotionally disturbed children.  Created as a separate unit in 1970.  Volunteers work with therapeutic activities or the in-hospital school program.  

Jawonio Inc. - New City [2005]
260 N. Little Tor Road
New City, NY   10956

Jawonio was organized in 1947, as the Cerebral Palsy Society of Rockland County, providing outpatient treatment for children with neuromuscular and other similar disabilities.  Two years later, in 1949, the first summer camp program for children with disabilities in Rockland County was founded.  It was expanded to include an overnight program, Camp Jawonio.  Jawonio provides comprehensive medical, clinical, rehabilitative, educational, employment/vocational, case management and community living services to children and adults with physical, developmental and/or emotional disabilities. Their aim is to help consumers reach their optimal levels of functioning by enhancing their health, education and employment opportunities. The goal of all Jawonio programs is to provide a framework which assures opportunities for individuals with disabilities to live as valuable members of the community.  Jawonio is a regional rehabilitative resource for people with disabilities and serves children and adults in Rockland and Westchester Counties in New York and Bergen and Passaic Counties in New Jersey.  The name Jawonio provides focus for their goal - it comes from a local Native American word meaning Independence.  It is an affiliate of the Cerebral Palsy Associations of NYS and a contract agency of Rockland County.

 Camp Venture - Nanuet [2005]
Camp Venture, Inc.
Venture Inn
100 Convent Road
P.O. Box 402
Nanuet, NY  10954

In 1968, the Exceptional Child Parent-Teacher Association was formed to unite the parents of the retarded and disabled in Rockland County for the purposes of advocacy for their children.  As President of the PTA, Kathleen Lukens began to organize resources from across Rockland Co. to establish a day camp for the county's handicapped youngsters.  In 1969, Camp Venture was launched at Clark Center in the Town of Ramapo with 85 children.  The second year was spent at the Rosary Academy in Sparkill, In 1971, Camp Venture settled in to its present headquarters just north of Letchworth Village in Stony Point.

During the construction of the summer camp, Venture's staffers became familiar with many of the residents of Letchworth Village, a state facility for the mentally ill and handicapped which had suffered greatly because of a hiring freeze imposed by the then-NY Governor, Nelson Rockefeller. Lukens, who had been appointed by Rockefeller as a consumer advocate for his Committee for Children, publicly denounced the deplorable conditions at Letchworth and called on the governor to address the situation immediately.

While reform at Letchworth and other state institutions slowly began to take place, Camp Venture's small band of parents saw their mission expand to include not just their own children, but the welfare of all mentally impaired people in the county.

In 1976, the fundraising efforts of Lukens and local political activist John Murphy, led to the move of 21 adults into Venture Inn, the first home for the mentally retarded and disabled in Rockland County.

Two years later Venture West, a second group home for 14 adults opened in Monsey, and the Venture's Workshop, a day program designed to teach employment skills to mentally impaired adults was established.  Two more group homes opened in 1979 and 1980, and in 1981, the Venture Voice, a newspaper devoted to the disabled, was established.

Venture has also built four pools, as well as the Kathleen Lukens Living Center, an independent living center for adults with developmental disabilities, in Sparkill.

A new wing has been added to the agency's first residence, Venture Inn. This addition houses a first-of-its-kind Alzheimer's Unit, providing a warm and supportive environment for those who are struggling with this disease.

Camp Venture operates a number of Group Homes, including Venture North, at Letchworth Village; Venture West, at in Monsey; VentureSome in Congers; and a Summer Camp at 58 Oak Colony Road, Stony Point as well as Sparkill.  Camp Venture Engel House is in Nyack.  As Camp Venture, Inc., facilities are operated in Spring Valley, Nanuet, Stony Point and Sparkill.  Telephone numbers and addresses are listed in the telephone book.

The Salvation Army - West NyackThe Salvation Army has a museum at its Eastern Headquarters in West Nyack.  Research access is available by written request and appointment.

Director of Heritage Museum and Historical Society

The Salvation Army THQ
440 West Nyack Road
West Nyack, NY  10994

Mailing Address: PO Box C-635
West Nyack, NY 10994-1739
845-620-7200 main phone

The Salvation Army maintains an Officer Training Center on Rt 59, Suffern, NY

Officer Training Center
201 Lafayette Avenue
Suffern, NY  10901

The Salvation Army maintains various maternity (Booth Maternity) homes, support and re-habilitation facilities throughout the US.  It will accept birth inquiries about children born in their homes.  See:

It will also accept inquiries about missing persons and will assist with attempts to locate missing persons and re-unite families.  See:

German Masonic Home - Tappan

German Masonic Home (Noble 9th Inc.)
(German Masonic Home Corporation)
(German Masonic Home Park)
120 Western Highway (near Cedar Lane and Schreiber Lane)
Tappan, NY  10983.

German-Masonic Home

89 Western Hwy
Tappan, NY  10983-1927

Built in 1908 on Western Highway in Tappan, NY.  In 2004, it was scheduled for demolition, to be replaced by Senior Housing. 

St. Vincent De Paul Home for Convalescent Women - (St. Vincent De Paul Home for Disadvantaged Women) - Suffern

 Not in 2005 telephone book

The Tolstoy Foundation - Valley Cottage[2005]
Tolstoy Foundation Center
104 Lake Road
Valley Cottage, NY  10989
845-268-6140; 268-6722; 268-3657

Tolstoy Summer Institute

Alexandra Tolstoy, the youngest daughter of the author, Leo Tolstoy, was born in Russia at Yasnaya Polyana in 1884.  In 1929, she was permitted to leave Soviet Russia after five arrests and a prison sentence for supporting the right of free speech and assembly.  In 1931, she settled in the United States, where she engaged in farming and lecturing in schools, universities and clubs.

In 1939, Alexandra Tolstoy founded the Tolstoy Foundation in NYC as a humanitarian organization for the relief of Russian refuges from WW I and the Communist Revolution.  It has since expanded its relief efforts to displaced persons from other wars and political upheavals.  Among the original founders and sponsors were Igor Sikorsky, Serge Rachmaninoff, Tatiana Schaufuss, former Russian Ambassador Boris Bakhmeteff and WWI flying ace Captain Boris Sergievsky.  Former President Herbert Hoover became the first Honorary Chairman in l939 and served in this capacity until his death in l964.

In 1972, the Tolstoy Foundation joined the U.S. Department of State's Refugee Resettlement Program and assisted in the resettlement of refugees from all over the world, including Russian Jews, primarily those in mixed marriages, and Ugandan Asians who were fleeing the regime of General Idi Amin.  By the end of 1975, the Foundation had resettled over 3,000 Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees throughout the continental United States and Hawaii, as well as assisting a further 10,000 Indochinese refugees, mostly Cambodians, after the fall of Laos.  In 1994, the Tolstoy Foundation left State Department's refugee resettlement program, however, it continues its efforts through our offices and representatives throughout the world.

As President of the Tolstoy Foundation for 40 years, Alexandra worked to build public support for international refugee relief efforts and to effect changes in U.S. immigration laws.  Under her leadership, the Foundation assisted more than 500,000 people to escape war and political persecution and to build a new life in America.  The foundation worked to help the new immigrants assimilate quickly into the mainstream of American life, while maintaining their cultural and spiritual heritages.

In 1941, donor made it possible for the Tolstoy Foundation to acquire Reed Farm, a 70-acre parcel of land in Valley Cottage, Rockland Co, NY.  The farm became a resettlement center for over 30,000 refugees sponsored by the Foundation.  If necessary, the elderly could spend their remaining years at the center, with proper care.

Those who could, worked on the farm, as part of their training to become self-sufficient and productive citizens.  Cultural activities were organized and a summer camp, active until 1968, was established for needy children.  The Farm became the Tolstoy Foundation Center and remains the very heart its operations.  Although farming is no longer practiced, the Center continues to provide residential facilities for elderly immigrants (nursing home).  The site includes the St Sergius Russian Orthodox Chapel for the use of the residents.  The main house is also used for private affairs, special meals and as a small bed and breakfast facility.  A library and archive exists on the site.

Alexandra Tolstoy lived at the Tolstoy Foundation Center in Valley Cottage, NY, and remained active as the Foundation's President, fundraiser, lecturer, and writer until l976. She died in 1979, age 96.

Eymard Seminary - Suffern 

[2005] not listed in telephone book.

Founded before 1955, the Eymard Seminary trains Brothers for the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament.  Named for Peter Julian Eymard, the founder from France of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers.

Camp Bluefields - Blauvelt


Camp Bluefields was the pre-World War I, NY National Guard training camp and rifle range.  It was originally built in 1910, on former Blauvelt family property.  By 1913, problems with stray rounds landing in South Nyack caused the National Guard to cease operations.  From 1913-8, it was used by the NY YWCA as a women’s camp.  In 1918, it returned to training use, in preparation for WW I. 

It has long been abandoned and is closed to the public, although its grounds are part of a County Park.  The buildings have been demolished, but concrete walls of the rifle ranges and protective tunnels remain.

Camp Shanks World War II Museum - Orangeburg

Rts 303 and 340
Orangeburg, NY  10962

Mailing address:
New York Vets of Rockland County
PO Box 9209
Bardonia, NY  10954

Camp Shanks was originally built in 1942, with 2500 buildings on 1300 acres.  1.3 million soldiers departed from Camp Shanks for service in North Africa and Europe in World War II.  The troops were taken by rail to the Piermont Pier where they were transferred to ships for transport to their destinations.  Together with Camp Kilmer, in NJ, it processed nearly 3,000,000 troops for their passage overseas.  Originally they were transported to ships waiting at Manhattan piers or at Hoboken.  Later the overseas ships met them at the Piermont Pier for a direct trip overseas.  The average stay was only 3-4 days.  The troops were entertained by Broadway and Hollywood entertainers in the amphitheater.  Toward the end of the war, the camp became a receiving center for wounded returning troops, who would be treated at the hospital at RPC.  The camp later housed Prisoners of War, many being processed for retun to Germany after the end of the war.  It also served to process returning US troops after VE Day.  Initially, many of the barracks were converted to low income housing for returning GIs.  Many of the GIs attended Columbia University under the GI Bill.  By 1956, most of the property was sold to housing developers.  All that remains today is a single Quonset hut which houses the museum in the former barracks.

Haverstraw Mountain Institute - Haverstraw


The Haverstraw Mountain Institute was established in 1852 as a school of “advanced grade.”  Lewis B. Hardcastle purchased a property of George E. De Noyelles and altered and enlarged the dwelling.  He then erected a 2-story school building.  Opened Oct 31, 1853, to supply an advanced education to prepare students for business or college, having both day and boarding students.  The property was eventually sold to Abraham B. Conger, who leased the property in 1861, to Lavalette Wilson, who re-opened the school which had closed in 1860.  It existed in 1884. (Cole’s p. 178).

Rockland College -Nyack

[1894] - closed

Founded in 1878, chartered by the NY state Board of Regents.  It was established in the old building of Christopher Rutherford, which had housed the Military Academy.  It was founded by W. H. Bannister, A.M. and existed for 16 years in the Village of Nyack.

Rockland County Female Institute - Orangetown 

[closed, 1860s] 

The Rockland County Female Institute opened Aug 28, 1856, with Rev. B. Van Zandt as the Principal.  It was located on a 10-acre plot on the banks of the Hudson River in Nyack.  It could board 100 students.  It had been endowed by the estate of Simon V. Sickels, of Nyack who left it $25,000 toward the erection of its building.  After financial difficulties it closed and the site became a summer boarding resort known as the Tappan Zee House. 

Nyack College - Christian and Missionary Alliance - Nyack  

1 South Boulevard
Nyack, NY  10960

Nyack College is a Christian liberal arts college founded and run by the Christian and Missionary Alliance.  The founder was Dr. A.B. Simpson, a missionary who resigned a prestigious New York City pastorate to develop the interdenominational fellowship devoted to serving un-reached people, which would become known as the Christian and Missionary Alliance.

An early step was the founding of the Missionary Training Institute, the first Bible college in North America.  This school, begun in 1882, in NYC, was the forerunner of Nyack College.

 Nyack College is a fully accredited liberal arts college.  Graduate programs are offered through Alliance Theological Seminary.

Rockland Junior College - Nyack 

[1935] - closed

Established in 1932, and federally funded.  It was sponsored by Nyack High School.  Two years of college credits were accepted by both Syracuse and New York Universities.  The first college President was Kenneth MacCalman, the Superintendent of Nyack Public Schools.  The college was closed in 1935, after the withdrawal of federal and state support.

St. Thomas Aquinas College (STAC) - Sparkill

125 Route 340
Sparkill NY  10976-1050

St Thomas Aquinas was established in 1952 by the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, as a 3-year teacher training institution on a 47-acre campus, for the teaching of nuns of the Dominican Order.  It later opened to nuns of other orders and lay women.  In the 1967 it became co-ed and expanded its curriculum.  It is now a 4-year liberal arts college for men and women, offering 31 Bachelor’s degrees and 3 Master’s degrees as well as 2 Associate’s degrees and certificate programs.  It offers MS Degrees in Education and has a graduate program in Special Education.  In 1994, a MBA Program was approved.

Dominican College - Blauvelt

470 Western Highway
Orangeburg, NY  10962

Dominican College was established in 1952 by the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt as a 3-year liberal arts college offering teacher training for women of religious persuasion.  In 1957, it opened to lay students.  In 1959, it petitioned the Regents for permission to offer BA and BS degrees in Education as well as programs in English and History.  It also offers a program leading to the certification of teachers in Special Education.  It has continued to expand its curriculum, including a 4-year BS program in Nursing.  It is now a 4-year and Master’s level liberal arts college for men and women, chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of NY.

Rockland Community College - Viola/Suffern

Rockland Community College
145 College Road
Suffern, NY  10901
(845) 574-4000

Founded in 1959, the site of Rockland Community College was originally the farm of the New Hempstead Dutch Reformed Church (the Kakiat or Brick Church).  It was later purchased by Rockland County as the site for an Alms House for destitute residents.  It contained 26.5 acres of cabbage and tomato fields, apple orchards, a pumpkin patch, and a grape arbor, in the pastoral hamlet of what was then called Viola.  The old brick Alms House building was re-furbished and remains today as the administration building.  The farm property houses academic buildings and athletic facilities.

The resolution to found the college was approved on Apr 28, 1959, by the Rockland Co Board of Supervisors, in a 3-2 vote.  Two weeks later, the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York in Albany granted approval of the plan, thereby making Rockland the 18th community college in NY state.  The college would open in September, 1959.  The re-furbished 3-story brick Alms House building originally served as both the administrative building and the main academic building.  The first year brought 139 students, 119 full-time and 20 part-time.  The old farm site was enlarged to 175 acres by purchase of 100 acres of the Hurschle Brothers Farm and 50 acres of the Springsteen farm. 

The old Alms House Cemetery (Potter’s Field, or the Poor cemetery) and the Gary Onderdonk Veteran’s Cemetery remain within the grounds of the College.

The Clarkstown Country Club - Nyack

The Clarkstown Country Club stood on South Mountain, at Nyack, overlooking the Hackensack Valley, located on Highland Avenue and Broadway, on a 160-acre plot.  It began in 1918 and expanded to 34 buildings.  It was supported by the widowed daughter-in-law of Cornelius Vanderbilt.  It included a zoo (closed in 1940), with elephants and survived until the 1950s.  It operated more as a commune than a modern country club, teaching yoga and Eastern philosophies.  It was run by a “spiritualist’ known as Dr. Pierre Bernard.  Many of the buildings remain today as part of Nyack College.

Fraternal Organizations

[Defunct Organizations or Chapters  shown in Italics]

Elks (postcards of NY BPOE)

Elks Lodge, BPOE No 877
62 Elks Drive
Haverstraw, NY  10927

Pearl River Elks 2041
2041 Elks Drive
Nanuet, NY  10954

Tappan Zee Lodge No. 79
74-76 N Main St
Spring Valley, NY  10977

I.O.O.F - Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Grand Lodge of New York, IOOF
Donald Rutigliano, Grand Secretary
PO BOX 190
Hasbrouck Heights NJ  07604
United States of America

Tel: 201-487-1763
Fax: 201-487-1765

Rebekah Assembly of New York, IOOF
Marilyn Slauson, Assembly Secretary
PO BOX 625
Manlius NY 13104-0625
United States of America

Tel: 315-682-9234
Fax: 315-682-0884

Oneko Lodge, No. 122, I.O.O.F. - Nyack
Established 1848, as Lodge 346, existed in 1884.
Meetings were held in a room over a carpenter’s shop on Burd St, Nyack, and later in the in the Lodge Rooms of the Commercial Building

Rockland Encampment, No. 37, I.O.O.F - Nyack
Established 1867, existed in 1884
Met in the Masonic Hall, Nyack

Ruth Rebekah Degree, No. 4, I.O.O.F. - Nyack
Established 1869, existed in 1884.
Meetings held in the Masonic Hall

Piermont Lodge, No. 83, I.O.O.F.
Established 1843, existed in 1884.
Met in the Odd Fellows Hall.

Industry Encampment, No. 103, I.O.O.F - Suffern
Established 1883, existed in 1884.

Amity Lodge, No. 192, I.O.O.F. - Spring Valley
Established 1867, existed in 1884.


George Washington Headquarters
20 Livingston Ave
Tappan, NY  10983

Masonic Temple, Naurashank Lodge No. 589
N. Middletown Road
Pearl River, NY  10965

Rockland Lodge, No. 723, F & A M - Nyack
Established 1872, chartered 1873, existed in 1884.
Met in the Lodge Rooms of the Commercial Building

Waywayanda Lodge, No. 315, F & A M - Piermont
Established 1853, existed in 1884
Met in the Masonic Hall

Stony Point Lodge, No. 313, F & A M (Free Masons) - Haverstraw
Established in 1853; existed in 1884.

Ramapo Lodge, No. 589, F & A M - Suffern
Established 1865, exited in 1884

Knights of Columbus

Knights of Columbus Truine Council 2052
50 Franklin Ave
Pearl River, NY  10965

Knights of Columbus, Piermont Council
2320 Piermont Ave.
Piermont, NY  10968

Knights of Columbus, Dominican Council
5343 150 W Erie St
Blauvelt, NY  10913

Knights of Columbus Haverstraw Council 581
56 West Broad St
Haverstraw, NY  10927

Knights of Columbus Pope John XXIII Council 7104
114 N Rt 9W
Congers, NY  10920

Military Organizations

G. A. R. - Grand Army of the Republic

Waldron Post, No. 82, G.A.R. - Nyack
Established 1867, at Nyack, existed in 1884.
Met in the Post rooms over DeGaff’s Drug Store

John Hancock Post, No. 253, G.A.R. - Nyack
Established 1882, existed in 1884
Had their own hall, corner Broadway and Burd Sts.

American Legion of Honor
Nyack Council, No. 248, American Legion of Honor
Established 1880, existed 1884
Meetings held in the building of the John Hancock Post

American Legion of Honor, Rockland Council, No. 491 - Piermont
Established 1881, existed in 1884

Ramapo Council, 436, A. L. of H.[American Legion of Honor] - Suffern
Established 1880, existed in 1884.

American Legion

American Legion, James H. Anderson Post
1199 Hunt Road
Orangeburg, NY  10962

American Legion Post 1682
65 American Legion Way
New City, NY 10956

American Legion Post 329
30 Railroad Ave.
Pearl River, NY  10965

The Charles R. Lewis Post 8997
400 N Liberty Drive
Tomkins Cove, NY  10986

American Legion
Rt 45
Pomona, NY  10970

American Legion Post 1044
620 Rt 340
Sparkill, NY  10976

Fred Eller American Legion Post 1447
Saddle River Road
Monsey, NY  10952

Veterans of Foreign Wars

Ramapo Valley VFW Post No. 2973
16 Ramapo AvenueSuffern, NY  10901

Veterans of Foreign Wars, Rockland County Council
135 Blauvelt Road
Nanuet, NY  10954

Veterans Memorial Associations

Veterans Memorial Association of Congers, Inc.
65 Lake Road East
Congers, NY  10920

Veterans Memorial Association Of Piermont, Inc
562 Piermont Ave.
Piermont, NY  10968

Veterans Memorial Association
250 Birchwood Ave
Nyack, NY  10960

Jewish War Veterans

Jewish War Veterans of the USA
Department of NY
346 Broadway
New York, NY

National/Cultural Organizations

The Jewish Society of Nyack
Established March 1870, existed 1884
Met in its hall on Piermont Ave

Ancient Order of Hibernians, Div 3
28 Railroad Avenue
Pearl River, NY  10965

Ancient Order of Hibernians - Haverstraw
Established in 1882; existed in 1884.

Sons of Italy in America
E Village Road
Tuxedo, NY 

Portuguese-American Community Center
110 N Main St
Spring Valley, NY  10977

Ukranian Hall Association
16 Twin Avenue
Spring Valley, NY  10977


Rockland Chapter, No. 204, R.A.M.[Royal Arch Masons] -Piermont
Established 1867. existed in 1884

Iona Lodge, No. 128, Knights of Pythias - Haverstraw
Established in 1874; existed in 1884.

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