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From the Archives: St. Vincent de Paul Los Angeles Orphanage

Dec. 1955: Tower of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul Los Angeles Orphanage at 917 S.
December 1955: Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul Los Angeles Orphanage at 917 S. Boyle Ave.
(Frank Q. Brown / Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)

The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul Los Angeles Orphanage opened on Thanksgiving Day 1891. Three hundred orphans moved into the $150,000 building.

This photo was published in the Dec. 18, 1955, Los Angeles Times as part of the Know Your City photography series. The original caption reported:

KNOW YOUR CITY, NO. 31 — For more than 60 years, there was girlish laughter around this stately structure. But, now, only the pigeons live here. Even though it is one of the city's prominent landmarks, can you guess what? You'll find the answer on Page 18, Part 1-A.

ANSWER: Framed in stately palms by the camera is the tower of the old and abandoned Los Angeles Orphanage at 917 S. Boyle Ave. Operated by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, this home for girls was opened in 1890 (actually 1891) and in use until 1953 when it was finally closed and a new home, called Maryvale, was opened in South San Gabriel.

This orphanage was damaged by the March 10, 1933, Long Beach earthquake, but kept in use for years. It was torn down around 1958.

In 1959, parts of south San Gabriel, including the area where Maryvale was located, were incorporated into the city of Rosemead.

For more, check out this June 29, 1997, article by Cecilia Rasmussen: 'God's Geese' Watched Over Flocks of Girls.

This post was originally published on June 16, 2016.

July 27, 1950: The Los Angeles Orphanage on Boyle ave. between 7th St. and Whittier Blvd. during con
July 27, 1950: The Los Angeles Orphanage on Boyle Ave. between 7th Street and Whittier Boulevard during construction of the Santa Ana Freeway. Jack Carrick / Los Angeles Times

See more from the Los Angeles Times archives here


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