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DORCAS HOME

The DORCAS HOME, founded 20 Dec. 1884 (inc. 1885) as a refuge for sick and destitute women, served as a residence for elderly women from 1917 until 1967. It was operated by the Dorcas Society, a charitable organization formed in 1867 by 14 women, led by philanthropists Mrs. Josiah A. Harris and Mrs. Hiram H. Little. The purpose was to provide home-based nursing care for sick and poor women. In 1884 3 members rented a cottage on Hamilton St. to care for "two feeble women" and their children. They soon asked the Dorcas Society to join this operation. The Dorcas Home moved to St. Clair St., then to 1255 Garden St. in Aug. 1885, and again in Apr. 1886, to 1643 Euclid Ave. It was regularly filled to capacity with 22 residents, prompting another move, on 15 Oct. 1892, to its final location on E. Madison Ave. (1380 Addison Rd.) which was remodeled and enlarged in 1907 and 1929.

By 1892 the annual budget was $3,700; admission rules made clear that the home supported only the deserving poor. The Dorcas Home had cared for 314 women, and the budget had grown to more than $13,000 by the Dorcas Society's 50th anniversary in 1917. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, the home offered its 52 residents private rooms, meals, nursing and medical care, church services, and activities with other social agencies. The budget had grown to $110,070 in 1963, but its directors had begun looking for a safer neighborhood. Unable to make suitable arrangements, they placed the 28 remaining residents in other facilities and closed the Dorcas Home in 1967, giving the property to the ELIZA BRYANT HOME in 1968.