St. Michael's Orphan Asylum
and Industrial School

This institution was planned by the Right Reverent Bishop O'Farrell and for this purpose he bought the fertile Van Dyke farm near Hopewell, New Jersey, but death carried him away before he had a chance to begin the building. In his death, however, his friend and successor found the means to fulfill his wish, for in his will was a bequest of $60,000.00 as the nucleus of a fund for the orphans' home. To this later on Col. Daniel Morris added $50,000.00 more.

Bishop McFaul began the erection of St. Michael's Home for Orphans, October 18, 1896. The structure was finished on May 30, 1898, and was placed in charge of the Sisters of St. Francis.

The home (at the time this was written) is a modern building with all necessary improvements and at present shelters about two hundred boys and girls, giving them not only a safe and comfortable home, but also a good Catholic training, away from the vices of large cities. To increase the self-supporting capacity of the home, Bishop McFaul has also added the Drake farm of 150 acres.

There are at present about two hundred children in the home, ninety of whom are boys. The older girls attend to much of the housework under the supervision of the Sisters, and the larger boys help on the farm. All attend school daily, and St. Michael's is doing a great work for the destitute children of the Diocese. The institution is supported by voluntary contributions solicited by the Sisters throughout the Diocese, also by offerings made through St. Michael's Union, a society organized under the auspices of the Bishop of the Diocese.

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editors note:Although St. Michael's was located in Hopewell Borough, many of the citizens of Pennington supported the home. The building was demolished in 1973, but the Diocese still owns the property. I would love to know more about this institution and how it affected the area. Please write or email me if you can add to this story.

This page was taken from material provided by the Catholic Charities, Dioceses of Trenton, Maternity and Adoption Services and I thank them. This appears to be from a booklet written by Dennis Martin. Are you aware of where the booklet can be seen? The Hopewell Borough Library has a folder of material about St. Michael's that can be reviewed at the library. There is a article available in the Trenton Evening Times, May 11, 1964.

Some Photos of the buildings
Some Photos from St. Michael
Staff and residents in 1900

Memories of St. Michael
From former residents of St. Michael

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updated January 2017