On Feb. 26, 170 years ago, residents in Louisville saw a need to serve orphaned children in their community. That need resulted in the merger of two organizations, Bellewood Home for Children and Brooklawn Child & Family Services, which later formed Uspiritus in 2012, who recently joined the Centerstone family.
With Uspiritus joining Centerstone, Centerstone’s number of years in existence is now 170 years!
Together, we are thrilled to be one organization continuing the philosophy of providing greater care for vulnerable children and families. We work to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people who need our services and chart the course for the future of behavioral health care.
As we celebrate 170 years of existence today, let’s learn more about the organizations that have recently become a significant part of our history.
Bellewood Home for Children
Bellewood Home for Children was formed in Feb. 26, 1849 when members of four Presbyterian churches identified a need to serve orphaned and destitute children and created the Louisville Orphans Home Society in downtown Louisville. The Home’s doors opened to its first children in 1853.
Originally, Bellewood functioned as an entirely self-sustaining community with a farm of crops and livestock, as well as a team of caretakers and teachers who provided amply for every youth. In the many years since, Bellewood expanded to provide a full range of programs for abused and neglected children and young adults, each designed to help every young person reach permanent self-sufficiency. This growth included four campuses statewide and resources for therapeutic foster care, residential living, independent living, transitional living and prevention services.
Brooklawn Child & Family Services
Among the German immigrants living in and around Louisville in the mid-nineteenth century was the family of William Modenbach, a carpenter. The Modenbachs were members of the German Evangelical Reformed Zion Church. In June 1851, William Modenbach lost his wife, Anna, to cholera which was sweeping the country at the time, leaving him with five young children to care for. Unprepared to raise the children alone, he sought the help of the Rev. Karl Daubert, a local pastor.
The events that followed led to the founding of the German Protestant Orphan Asylum incorporated in 1852 to provide care for German-speaking orphans in the Louisville area. Originally a home for children of immigrants, the organization was one of the first Protestant orphanages in the United States. Later known as the Protestant Orphan Home and then Brooklawn, the Home shifted its focus to development of a foster care program. By 1981, Brooklawn became the first not-for-profit treatment center for chemically-dependent adolescents in Kentucky.
Bellewood Home for Children and Brooklawn Child & Family Services had each been in operation for more than 160 years before merging in 2012 to form Uspiritus, which recently joined Centerstone.