Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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June 6, 2014

State Home reunion June 14-15

Editor's note: It was previously reported the State Home Reunion was taking place June 7 and 8. The correct date is June 14 and 15.

The Corsicana State Home Reunion is scheduled for June 14 and 15, with events at the State Home, the Cook Center and the Corsicana Senior Citizens Center.

This year's reunion, however, will be different - This year is the first time there haven’t been any children living at the home in about 100 years, which means there won’t be security checks or shuttles. At the same time, the center is all but closed up so the reunion on the grounds will be shorter than in years past.

Most of the weekend’s activities will take place off-site, with the traditional memorial from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. The alumni center, which houses all the State Home’s memorabilia, will also be open from 10 to noon for visitors.

“They’re going to allow us to drive in, instead of being frisked and you can take your cameras and cell phones,” said Sterling Hyden. “You’ll be able to pull up and park by the gazebo.”

One thing that hasn’t changed is the alumni banquet, which will be at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Cook Center.

The Ex-Student Council will hold its annual meeting at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at the Senior Activity Center, 909 W. Park Ave., across from Pioneer Village.

“The theme this year is ‘coming home,’ and we are going to be coming home, for the last time probably,” said Ethel Johns, with the former students association. “It’s kind of sparse this year because we don’t have the staff helping us put it together, but we’re coming along OK. We’ve handled it so far.”

The Corsicana State Home took in its first orphans in 1889. Fully self-sufficient, the 200 acre site operated its own farm, dairy and school. In the 1950s, the on-site school was closed and the children were sent to Corsicana ISD. It operated as a state orphanage until 1983 when it became a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed youth. The Texas Youth Commission was in charge of the home, and it eventually became the site for youthful offenders with serious emotional and psychiatric issues. What had at one time been a minimum security facility became a maximum security facility, with the attendant high fences topped with barbed wire coils.

In 2013, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department recommended the closure of the Corsicana facility, citing the age of the facility and the cost of upkeep as main reasons to shut it down. The 60 or so remaining youth from the facility, and most of the staff, were moved out at the end of 2013, relocated to a youth facility in Mart.

Although it hasn’t been officially shuttered, the Corsicana Residential Treatment Center has no on-site clients, and only a skeleton crew of staff remains.

Reunions among the former residents of the facility have taken place since at least the 1940s, according to alumni.

      —————

Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com.

 

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