HENDRICK HOME FOR CHILDREN
HENDRICK HOME FOR CHILDREN. The Hendrick Home for Children, established and funded by Thomas Gould and Ida Nations Hendrick, benefactor of Hendrick Medical Center, and built on a fifty-two-acre site in southwest Abilene, opened with twelve residents in June 1939. The original physical plant, built for $300,000, consisted of three structures-the main building, a large garage with an overhead apartment, and the superintendent's home. This facility was intended not as an orphanage but as a home for children two to twelve years old who could not live with their natural parents, a frequent phenomenon just after the Great Depression. It was Tom Hendrick's wish that the children attend the Abilene public schools, have daily responsibilities, maintain ties with their families if possible, and attend church regularly.
Hendrick, born in Kentucky, was the son of Mary and Bernard Hendrick, both teachers. The family moved to Texas in the early 1870s, and Hendrick established himself as a businessman and rancher. Although his early landholdings were close to Las Cruces, New Mexico, he eventually owned and worked extensive ranches near Odessa, Texas, and in Shackelford County. Although he also had interests in banking, real estate, and county government, he made his fortune in oil (see HENDRICK OILFIELD).
The Hendricks' ranch in Shackelford County is now used in the child-care program as a home for about fifteen boys who function better at a ranch than they would on the Abilene campus. The program has been extended to infants, and college students are also maintained by the home. About seventy-five children live on the Abilene campus. The original three structures have been renovated, and two large stone cottages house about twenty-four children and their supervisors. A swimming pool, a cabana, a gym, three homes for adult personnel, a horse barn, and a maintenance building have been built on the campus. Claude Hicks succeeded Thomas Roberts, the home's original director, in the late 1960s. The staff grew to include administrators, caseworkers, child and relief supervisors, maintenance personnel, recreational personnel, tutors, cooks, and office workers.
Oscar Kimsey Bowen, Mr. Hendrick: Rancher, Oilman, Philanthropist (Abilene, Texas: Hendrick Home for Children, 1962). Betty Kay Seibt, Millionaire Cowboy (Abilene, Texas: Hendrick Home for Children, 1983).