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Area Orphanages

Posted by Fred Ragsdale 
Area Orphanages
October 10, 2002 08:03PM
We have an earlier thread about the Berachah Home which wasn't an orphanage, as they didn't believe in separating the mothers from the children.
We have many postings about the Buckner Home.
My question involves an orphanage in Oak Cliff, that I know was there at least in the 1950-60s, if not many years earlier.
In the late 60s, a private group of us contacted this home and arranged for a Christmas party for the kids. We found out what each kid wanted and provided multiple gifts for them at a "cookie, cake and punch" type party just before Christmas. I can still see the eyes of some of those young kids as they opened their gifts.
Does anyone know the name or history of this orphanage? In my somewhat dim memory, it was a 2-3 story building and possibly of grey stone. I believe it was located near the southwest corner of Cockrell Hill Rd and Davis, between Sivil's and the Chalk Hill Drive-In.
Thanks. ...........Fred
Re: Area Orphanages
October 10, 2002 08:46PM
I don't remember the name of the place but the Catholic Church ran a convent there which included a school for young girls. I don't think it was an orphanage per se. Pretty well secluded place behind a high fence and trees. I do not recall much community interaction with the place. The Catholic Church owned a great deal of land behind this place as well as land south of Jefferson Blvd. They leased a lot of pasture land for cattle grazing. This was a great hunting area for use...it was not posted and no one ever tried to run us off. I lived on Glenhaven across from the water towers and only two blocks from Cockrell Hill Road (In those days it was called Duncanville Road but they changed the name after Duncanville Road was the name assigned the road running south from the DCCC campus on Illinois). My hunting buddies included George "Sonny" Hendricks (C of 1953) and Don Law (C of 1954). We would get home from school and get our 22 rifles or shotguns, put them over our shoulders and start walking down the street. After getting to Cockrell Hill Road, it was another 1/2 mile across open fields until we got to the woods where the game was. One time during the winter of 1951, we had a snow storm and school was closed. We bundled up, got our guns and spent the whole day treking through those woods hunting rabbits and squirels. Can you imagine what a commotion it would cause today to see three teenagers walking down the street carrying rifles and shotguns????
Re: Area Orphanages
October 10, 2002 09:12PM
Bill, thanks for the reply and reminicences.
In the mid-1950s, after school, we took our guns to Mountain Creek Lake and shot rabbit and nutria. In the late 1940s-early 50s, we walked a few blocks with our guns through the neighborhood to the "woods and fields". You're right about that not being something that can't be done today!
In the mid-late 1960s, the place I asked about had many pre-school and pre-teen children and did not appear to be a convent.
Anyone have a name for the place or the history?
Thanks. .............Fred
Re: Area Orphanages
October 10, 2002 09:24PM
are you talking about mount st michaels or Dunne memorial home for boys..on davis....
Re: Area Orphanages
October 10, 2002 09:41PM
David, thanks for the reply. I'm definitely not addressing the Dunne place; that was MUCH further east down Davis, as I described in my first post.
I don't know the name of the place I asked about; that's why I asked. Where was St. Michael's? Was it an orphanage? Was it near Cockrell Hill and Davis? What's the history on St. Michael's?
Re: Area Orphanages
October 10, 2002 10:54PM
Here is what I found at the Catholic Diocese of Dallas home page:
OLC: Sisters of Our Lady of Charity
Mt. St. Michael Convent, 4500 W. Davis, Dallas 75211 (214-331-1754)
You might want to give them a call and post back here what the story is all about!
Re: Area Orphanages
October 10, 2002 11:03PM
Not sure about the orphanage but I believe the good Dr may be speaking of Mount Carmel, a Catholic compound that is still there and was named that long before the one in Waco. Am I anywhere close?
Re: Area Orphanages
October 10, 2002 11:18PM
I've seen the stuff about the barefoot Friars at Mt. Carmel at 4600 W. Davis. Thanks, Gerald.
The building I recall was about a block south of Davis (maybe due to acerage) and was entered from the east from the n-s street, which I think was Cockrell Hill Rd.
Is it possible that it could have been a little west at Chalk Hill Rd.? I DO know it was southwest of Davis.
Thanks for the reply. ...........Fred
Re: Area Orphanages
October 10, 2002 11:37PM
Bill, I thank you again for the info. Where you lived on Glenhaven was almost parallel with where I lived on Bentley, except you were further west on the other side of Westmoreland.
Both streets, however, are several blocks south of Clarendon....not to mention Davis (much further north). Therefore, I don't think either of us wandered in the vicinity of the orphanage I'm referring to when we were kids "afoot" and totin' our guns around the area.
In my high school years I think there was a K-Way (????) gas station at an intersection of either Cockrell Hill or Chalk Hill and Davis. One of those streets is the one that ran south down the east side of the orphanage.
Re: Area Orphanages
October 10, 2002 11:46PM
This is the place you are searching for Fred. The main entrance is on Davis but there is a side entrance on Cockrell Hill. When the trees that surround the place have lost their leaves you can see inside the compound and the place looks much like an Italian Villa from some angles.
Re: Area Orphanages
October 10, 2002 11:57PM
Thank you, Teresa.
I find it strange that the address is on Davis, rather than on the street where the entrance is on Cockrell Hill. That is one of the things that's been confusing me on this.
Also, I'm searching for the history of the place and what "entity" administered the facility in the 1950-60s. Your post to me indicates this group took over in 1974.
Thanks, Teresa. .............Fred
Re: Area Orphanages
October 11, 2002 02:29AM
Fred & Terresa,
In 1951 I worked at the Chalk Hill Drive Inn theater right across the street from the site in question. As I mentioned earlier, much of the property south of West Davis and west of Cockrell Hill Road out to Arcadia Park was owned by the Catholic Church and back in the 60's there were TWO distinctly different facilities on the property. The women's facility (St. Michael Convent it is called today) was located at the corner of Cockrell Hill Road and West Davis and further to the west, on top of a hill overlooking Mountain Creek to the west was a men's monastary (this was Mt Carmel). I pretty well lost contact with the area after the 1950's so I don't know what might have happened there since, but I am quite sure that neither of these places were "an orphanage" of any scale.
Today, there are at least 4 different Catholic organizations which list 4500 West Davis as their address. The 4600 West Davis address is not adjacent to Cockrell Hill Road and it is still the home of the Mt Carmel Monastary.
Lumen 2000 USA
4500 W Davis St
Dallas TX 75211-3419
(972) 333-4271
Congregacion Hispana De Personas Mayores De La
4500 W Davis St
Dallas TX 75211-3419
(972) 337-3756
Catholic Charismatic Services
4500 W Davis St
Dallas TX 75211-3419
(972) 333-2337
Sisters of Our Lady of Charity
Mt. St. Michael Convent
4500 W. Davis, Dallas 75211
(214) 331-1754
Mount Carmel Center
"An Informal Institute of Christian Spirituality"
4600 West Davis
Dallas, Texas 75211-3498
(214) 331 6224
Re: Area Orphanages
October 11, 2002 04:10AM
The home across the street from the Chalk Hill Drive In was for unwed mothers. We used to hunt the land where Mountain View College is now. It was owned by a family with a son in my class. The Dunne Home for boys was just west of St. Cecilia's Catholic Church at Davis and Marycliff.
Re: Area Orphanages
October 11, 2002 04:12AM
I think it called Mt. Carmel.
Re: Area Orphanages
October 11, 2002 04:18AM
I worked at Chalk Hill in the mid 60's and was told that Mt. Carmel had a home for unwed mothers, a convent, and a monastery. Just hearsay, but that what I was told on more than one occasion.
Re: Area Orphanages
October 11, 2002 07:00AM
When my family went to movies at the Chalk Hill DriveIn, I asked my mother about the compound. She told me it was a home for unwed mothers. This would have been in the late 40s or early 50s.
Re: Area Orphanages
October 11, 2002 08:44PM
mt carmel is west of mt st michaels which was just past the old rocket skating rink....i went there to visit the girls when i was in high school....LOL..in 60s
Re: Area Orphanages
October 11, 2002 08:46PM
mt carmel is a retreat house and catholic reading center.....still active...has been a seminary among other things.used to have a swimming pool overlooking a great view mwest
So.....thanks for the response to my original posting. There's quite a bit of info there about the name of the place in recent years.
My question, however, concerned what the place was called back in the mid-1900s and whether anyone had any history on the place.
Apparently, none of us know the answers.
Thanks, again. ..........Fred
Jim Wheat
Mount St. Michael's Home for Girls (1945)
June 22, 2004 08:35AM
Appeal Planned for $200,000
To Construct Home for Girls
A campaign to raise $200,000 for construction of a home for
girls in the 11 to 13-age group, now seeking admission to
Mount St. Michael
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