In 1853 a group of women of the Ladies Guild of the Methodist Episcopal Auxiliary concerned about the roving gangs of orphaned children, many of them sickly and malnourished and resorting to crime and prostitution met and established The Five Points of Industry to alleviate their condition. They quickly bought an old brewery and established a church, school, dormitory, hospital and dining area, meeting room in the 5 storied building.
Men would sign pledges to refrain from drinking alcohol and children and teenagers were fed, sheltered and healed of vermin and infections and inculcated in Christian values. The women were later joined by their husbands and the City of New York recognized their extraordinary charitable works and aided them with funds. In 1911 a Diphtheria epidemic struck New York City and a Board member, William Church Osborne donated 311 acres in Pomona, New York and established Happy Valley Colony later to be renamed Happy Valley School for the care and welfare of children. He was concerned many of the children were in danger of contacting the disease. Happy Valley School was in existence from 1911 to 1974 and thousands of children called it Home.
Tom Riley spent 10 years of his life growing up there and has written about his experience as a resident there.
UPCOMING EVENT SCHEDULED:
Mel Hancock, who spent time there has produced a documentary called "The Happy Valley Miracle" which will have a debut showing at the Presbyterian Church located at:
64 North Main Street in Haverstraw, NY onThursday, August 20th at 7:30pm.