The HOME OF THE HOLY FAMILY, an orphanage, was established in June 1895 (inc. 8 Dec. 1896) by Ellen Donovan. Donovan hoped to found a ROMAN CATHOLIC religious community in Cleveland to serve the poor, especially orphaned children. Assisted by her sister, Theresa, and some friends, she began caring for several orphans in a residence on E. Madison St. Though her plans for a religious community did not mature, the orphans came. With funds obtained from sewing and begging, Donovan purchased a site at 645 Woodland Hills Ave. The home existed precariously on the proceeds from benefits, dances, and card parties until 1918, when it joined the Community Fund. Soon the home was receiving funds from both this fund and the fledgling CATHOLIC CHARITIES CORP. Donovan was innovative, believing that siblings should be reared together rather than separately, then common orphanage practice. Her charges attended neighborhood schools and played with local children. In 1911 the home relocated to 18120 Puritas Ave. on the west side. Donovan and her assistants staffed the home until her death in 1939. The Sisters of the Incarnate Word then managed the facility until it closed in 1952; the remaining children went to PARMADALE.

Archives, Diocese of Cleveland.

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