The BLOSSOM HILL SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, founded in 1914 as the Cleveland Girls' Farm, was one of the first juvenile rehabilitation centers of its type in the United States. The girls' farm, privately run for forty-four years, emphasized a secure social setting, work away from home, and education as necessary to changing delinquent behavior. Originally located on a 37-acre tract on Kinsman Road, in 1928 the school moved to BRECKSVILLE and was renamed Blossom Hill in honor of benefactor DUDLEY S. BLOSSOM. The new facility housed seventy-five girls (ages ten to eighteen), either wards of the court or referrals from city or county agencies. Rehabilitation involved industrial and vocational training over an average stay of eleven months.
Teachers from the CLEVELAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS taught academic and vocational courses to Blossom Hill residents; the school also provided recreation, medical care, and religious programs. Approximately seventy percent of the girls came from broken or unfit homes, and they were eventually placed with other families, often to work as domestics under the institution's jurisdiction until age twenty-one.
In 1958, the Cuyahoga County Welfare Department took over Blossom Hill School, and continued to emphasize the rehabilitation of girls aged twelve to seventeen referred to them by Juvenile Court. In 1974, Blossom Hill merged with the CLEVELAND BOYS' SCHOOL IN HUDSON, Ohio, becoming a coeducational facility renamed the Youth Development Center (YDC). Four years later, the YDC added an aftercare component to its programs.
In 1992, the YDC became its own separate division, located under the Cuyahoga County Department of Justice Affairs. As of 2006, the Center continued to operate at its 400-acre site in Hudson.
Finding aid for the Blossom Hill School Records. WRHS.
County Archives, Blossom Hill Annual Report, 1968.