Saint Joseph's Industrial School and Orphanage, and later Home for the Aged, Bethany, Oklahoma.

It opened in 1912 and by the time it closed in the 1965 several thousand children, and aged, had been cared for by the facility.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

1930's Census of Facility

If you have names of individuals who were residents in the facility for the 1930 census, please leave a comment.  The 1930's is proving harder to locate and perhaps with names, I can find the entries. Likewise, if anyone has done a transcription of the Orphanage for 1930 please leave a comment. I will gladly post the list.

1940's Census of St. Joseph's Orphanage

The U.S. Federal census is available for the facility for 1940. It was located in Council Grove, a sub-district of Bethany.  The bad news is the copy is very faint and hard to read.  It may require many eyes working on this to decipher the names listed there.

As any information or transcribed names become available, I will post them here.


Baptism of Joyce Louvar with Diane & Joyce Louvar. The Louvar's were administrator-managers from 1963-1965. Shown in Fr. Thomas acting as proxy God Father and Lucille as proxy God Mother.

Learning To Climb Trees...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

School Time ca. 1963

The Blessing for the New Home

A Baptism

Picnic in the Park ca. 1963

Actors in a PLay About the Home ca.1963

Mealtimes - ca. 1962

Life Scenes ca 1963

The Church in the background

Msgr Isenbart with some children

At the grotto behind the church

Giggles and Smiles, ca. 1963

Classes of Friends ca. 1963

Who Could Not Have Fun on a Hill?

St. Joseph boys take a breather from playing on the hill ca. 1963

Western View

From the hill to the west looking back east toward the center and the chapel.

Ready To Play

Two young boys are captured ready to play some ball... ca. 1963

Baseball Field ca. 1963

1960's View

In the early 1960's the area of NW 39th Expressway was still evolving, it was rural land heading out of Bethany and major growth still some time in the future for this corner where the current NW Chamber of Commerce now sits.

A Wonderful Donation

The page received a wonderful letter from Joseph and Diane Louvar who managed St. Joseph’s Home in Bethany Oklahoma, in 1963, 1964 and 1965. They loved St. Joseph’s, the children, the Staff, and the many wonderful experiences while in the role.  The sent some photos that illustrate the life, the atmosphere and the children served in those years.
     "We have very positive feelings about our experiences and often thank the Lord for giving us this opportunity. We periodically reflect on this experience to try to understand the underlying reasons for this success, and we thought you and your readers will be interested in our conclusions.
     We believe our success was due to many factors, but the most important reason was – we had unusually talented staff members who were mostly Extension Volunteers who were recent college graduates. I’m sure they volunteered as we did to pay back to the church something in gratitude for our significant blessings. When they came to St. Joseph’s they worked especially hard to create positive physical and spiritual experiences to help our children (and a few teenagers) adjust to this “home”.
We knew we couldn’t develop a loving environment as good as their parents and a facility as good as their homes, but we tried. Our volunteer staff included two managers, four dorm mothers, one relief dorm mother, two teachers, and a nurse. We also had Catholic Charity workers including a social worker, a priest (Fr. Thomas), a cook, a housekeeper, and a maintenance worker.  This outstanding staff worked very hard and cooperatively to facilitate a home environment that was focused on benefiting the children.
       We were also blessed to have
·         The leadership of Msgr. Isenbart who was the Director of Catholic Charities in Ok. City.
·         The parishioners of St. John’s School (in Yukon) who accepted our school-aged children into their school for the 1963 and 1964 school years.
·         Local Seminarians who conducted a summer camp during the 1964 summer, and helped the children on some weekends.
·         A gentleman who was a big brother for one of our older boys.  And
·         Various volunteers who regularly came to St. Joseph’s Home to help with sewing, odd jobs, etc.
     We’re enclosing some pictures that I’m sure our children (now adults), our staff (now senior citizens), and you will enjoy. As you see there were many joyful experiences."  As you will see too, as photos and descriptions are slowly loaded.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Can You Help Identify these Locations or People? UPDATED

This query came to the page and maybe some can help identify the place in these photos?  "My brothers and I were in a children's home in Oklahoma between 1949-1952.  Can you confirm if we were at St. Joseph's.  Wesley John Stevens; Sharon Lynn Stevens, Edward Price Stevens.  The two older children would have been there in 1949; the youngest would have joined us in Jan 1952.  Attached is a picture of the two older children on the steps of what I've always believed to be the home.  I have checked with the Baptist's Childrens home and they have no record of us.  Your assistance is very much appreciated.
Imprint says "Libbey Hall" at top of the building, "Childrens Home" over porch. ca. 1949 Location unknown.

Location unknown ca. 1950 - Maybe in Kansas or Oklahoma
If you can help - post a comment. Thanks!

UPDATE: Location for above photos has been positively linked to a Kansas Methodist facility.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Here is an invitation for all Former Residents and Staff of St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Bethany, Oklahoma
"Did you hear about the reunion...?"
and St. Joseph’s Children’s Home in Oklahoma City. 

A reunion of former residents and staff members of St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Bethany, Oklahoma, and St. Joseph’s Children’s Home in Oklahoma City is being planned for Saturday, June 1, 2013.  Arrangements are pending. 

If you ever lived or worked at the orphanage or children’s home and would like to receive information about this reunion, please mail, e-mail or phone your contact information to Jane Moon, Catholic Charities, 1501 N. Classen Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73106, jmoon@catholiccharitiesok.org, 405-526-2308.

The home was opened in 1912 in Bethany, Oklahoma and later moved to Oklahoma City.