Category Archives: Owatonna Orphanage

Owatonna Orphanage

The Orphange

  • The history of the orphanage where Helen was raised in Owatonna , Minnesota, is quite a story in itself. Between 1886 and 1945, almost sixty years, the State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children, also called SPS and the Owatonna Orphanage, took in over 10, 000 children.
  • Webster’s New World Dictionary defines an orphanage “as an institution for orphans” and orphans as “a child whose parents are dead.”
  • This institution had a broader definition of orphan. Fifty six percent had both parents living, thirty nine percent had one parent still alive, and only the remaining five percent had both parents deceased. Helen and her brothers were part of the fifty six percent who had both parents living.
  • A visit to the orphanage museum in Owatonna or viewing their award winning documentary “The Children Remember”, will tell you much more about the history of this institution and the children who grew up there.

You can learn more about the orphanage by visiting