House of the Good Shepherd opens in Seattle during the summer of 1890.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 1/01/2000
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 2132
In the summer of 1890, Roman Catholic Sisters of Our Lady of the Good Shepherd from St. Paul, Minnesota, open the House of the Good Shepherd as a home for children and "unfortunate women" (Prosch). Sister Mary of the Nativity heads a staff of eight nuns in their mission of "reclaiming" 50 "fallen girls and women" (Bagley). The order uses a house owned by Mrs. Levi Foss at 9th Avenue and Jefferson Street on First Hill. The charity is financed through donations from the community, which are solicited by the sisters.

In 1907, the charity moved to a more substantial location at N 50th Street and Sunnyside Avenue N and became the Home of the Good Shepherd, housing 125 girls. By 1950, the client base was referred to as "troubled teens" and "keepsakes for Heaven" (Northwest Progress).

The Home was designed by the architectural firm of Breitung and Buchinger, whose principal architects were Carl Alfred Breitung (1868-?) and Theobald Buchinger (1866-1940). In 1975, the facility was acquired by the City of Seattle to be operated by Historic Seattle as a community center for the Wallingford neighborhood.


Sources: Thomas W. Prosch, "A Chronological History of Seattle From 1850 to 1897," typescript dated 1900-1901, Northwest Collection, University of Washington Library, Seattle, 393; Clarence B. Bagley, History of Seattle, (Chicago-Seattle: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1916), 496; Seattle City Auditor, Historic Seattle Management of the Good Shepherd Center, August 20, 1999, p. 4; The Catholic Northwest Progress, Vol. 53, No. 36, September 8, 1950, p. 39.
Note: The date of the Seattle acquisition of the Good Shepherd Center property was corrected on June 7, 2012.

Related Topics:   Buildings | Landmarks | Religion | Women's History

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