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Home North Carolina Iredell County City of Statesville Historical Markers Barium Springs Home For Children

Barium Springs Home For Children

US 21, Statesville, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 35° 48' 39.87", -80° 52' 32.124"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Formerly Presbyterian Orphans Home. Opened here in 1891 by Synod of N.C. Jethro Rumple was first chair, Board of Regents."
      The years 1870-1920 were the “golden age” of the orphanage movement. Sixteen institutions were started in North Carolina, most with the backing of a charitable group or religious denomination. The largest were the Masonic orphanage at Oxford (1872), the Baptist home at Thomasville (1885), the Methodist homes in Raleigh (1899) and Winston-Salem (1908), and the Presbyterian home at Barium Springs (1891). Like the Oxford and Thomasville orphanages, the Presbyterian Orphans Home served the entire state (the Methodists served the eastern and western sections with their two homes). Like all similar institutions, the Barium Springs Home for Children, as it has been known since 1962, has evolved to serve changing social needs.

      Barium Springs Home for Children had its beginnings in Charlotte, where in 1883 Presbyterian ladies set up a home for destitute children. In 1888 they asked the Presbyterian Synod of North Carolina to assume oversight. The synod set up a commission with Jethro Rumple, Salisbury minister and historian, as chair. Rumple, described as the “father” of Barium Springs, was the home’s chief organizer and promoter and served as chairman of the regents board from 1890 to his death in 1906. At Barium Springs in Iredell County, the board purchased from Davidson College thirty-two acres plus a failed resort hotel with thirty rooms. There, in January 1891, superintendent Robert Boyd took up residence with twelve children moved from Charlotte. In November 1891 the large wooden structure burned but this proved a blessing in disguise as it permitted the Synod, with the $5000 insurance reimbursement as seed funds, to build a first-rate orphanage. Over the next two decades, nine major buildings were constructed, including the main administration building Rumple Hall (1897, razed in 1964) and Little Joe’s Church (1907, rebuilt 1955).

      The Presbyterian Orphans Home, with peak enrollment of 377 in 1929, was a major part of life in Iredell County, fielding strong athletic teams. Financial support comes from Presbyterian churches across the state, the Duke Endowment, and other contributors. The home remained a long-term facility longer than similar institutions but, with the rise of foster care, has shifted focus to specialized short-term residential care and other services.

William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, V, 269-279—sketch of Jethro Rumple by Neill R. McGeachy
Alan Keith-Lucas, Meeting the Needs of the Times: History of the Barium Springs Home for Children, 1891-1991 (1990)
Charles M. Barrett, ed., Presbyterian Orphans’ Home at Barium Springs: An Album of Memories (1994)
Related Themes: North Carolina Freemasons, Masonic Lodges, N.C. Freemasonry
See more markers related to North Carolina Freemasonry.
Barium Springs Home For Children Historical Marker Location Map, Statesville, North Carolina