CONFEDERATE WOMAN'S HOME
CONFEDERATE WOMAN'S HOME. The Confederate Woman's Home was opened in 1908 to care for widows and wives of honorably discharged Confederate soldiers and other women who aided the Confederacy. Many of these women were related to men at the Texas Confederate Home in Austin. Residents were required to be at least sixty years of age and without means of financial support. The home was initially acquired and operated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. In 1903 the organization established a Wives and Widows Home Committee, which raised funds for the home and oversaw its construction. In 1905 the organization purchased property north of Austin, and in 1906 A. O. Watson was hired to design a building on the site. The two-story facility, constructed in 1906–07, had fifteen bedrooms. At its opening on June 3, 1908, three women were admitted to the home; by 1909 it housed sixteen. The United Daughters of the Confederacy operated the home until 1911, relying solely on donations to cover expenses. A bill to confer the home to the state was vetoed by Governor Samuel Willis Tucker Lanham in 1905. In 1907 a constitutional amendment providing for state ownership of the home was rejected by Texas voters. The amendment was resubmitted to the voters in 1911 and passed by a wide margin. The property was deeded to the state. At the time of the transfer, the institution had eighteen residents.
The state placed the eleemosynary institution under a six-member board of managers. In 1913 the state constructed a large two-story brick addition, designed by Page Brothers, architects, which included twenty-four new bedrooms. To accommodate the growing number of ailing patients, a brick hospital building was built in 1916, with a hospital annex added eight years later. The institution was placed under the Board of Control in 1920, and housed between eighty and 110 residents from 1920 through 1935. By the late 1930s new admissions to the home were decreasing and most of the surviving women were in poor health. From 1938 to 1945, the population of the home fell from eighty-seven to fifty-five. In 1949 the home fell under the jurisdiction of the Board of Texas State Hospitals and Special Schools. During the late 1950s, the nine remaining residents were consolidated into one hospital wing. In 1963 the last three residents were moved to private nursing homes at state expense, and the facility was closed. The state sold the property in 1986. The home cared for more than 3,400 indigent women over a period of fifty-five years. It was popular with the Austin community, and was the site of many community events over the years.
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Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.