Biographical / Historical
The Louisville House of Refuge was established in 1854, in response to a perceived surge in juvenile delinquency. The institution served as a reformatory, providing religious and moral instruction, as well as job skills training (cabinetmaking, gardening, needlepoint) and a more general education. The Civil War interrupted the development of the House of Refuge, and the first child was not admitted until July of 1865. Children were normally committed by the courts, a magistrate, or a parent/guardian, although some orphans were admitted, as well. Girls from 7 and 16, and boys between 7 and 18 were admitted. African American and white children were admitted, although housed separately. In 1886 the institution changed its name to the Industrial School of Reform. In 1920, the Industrial School of Reform merged with the Parental Home and School Commission to form the Louisville and Jefferson County Children’s Home, and moved to Lyndon, Kentucky. The University of Louisville then purchased the Industrial School of Reform’s campus, making it its Belknap Campus.