Historical Photos from St. Thomas Orphanage
A selection of images from (117) St. Thomas School and Home Collections, Sisters of Providence Archives, Spokane, Washington. For more information, please contact Peter Schmid, Assistant Archivist, Visual Resources.
Bishop Mathias Lenihan asked the Sisters of Providence to establish an orphanage. The home was named in honor of his late brother, Bishop Thomas Lenihan, who gave the initial bequest.
Great Falls Mayor Charles F. Murphy said at the cornerstone ceremony, August 22, 1909: "St. Thomas Orphans' Home will be among the buildings in which all citizens take a just pride. It will stand here for many years to come--a monument to our foresight."
Sisters and uniformed students gather on the steps, boys on the left, girls on the right. In these early years, most of the children were under the age of 12.
First Communion was always a special day.
The cadets, also known as the fife and drums corps, in 1935. The archives possesses rare motion-picture footage of the cadets marching.
Safety first on the playground...
Sister Ann Dolores and friends listen to the reading of "Gabriel Churchkitten."
"At no time are the children alone" a sister wrote in 1936. "Although they do not feel they are being watched, there is always a sister in the background."
Winter recreation included horse-drawn sleigh rides.
More fun in the snow at camp, 1960.
These girls use their sewing skills to mend clothing to be sent to Europe as part of the U.S. relief effort after World War II.
Hitting the books...
Many hands make light work as the children await...
...Christmastime at St. Thomas Home.