A perforated pipe was installed in one of the bathrooms, enabling a number of children to wash their hands simultaneously. On a donated 36-acre farm and despite a drought year, the children grew and gathered 1,000 ears of corn, 685 cucumbers, 10 bushels of tomatoes, plus beets and turnips, enough for the winter. Contributions from friends enabled the Home to erect a monument at its cemetery plot for children who died of such diseases as measles, whooping cough, and diphtheria. Decade specific entertainment included stereopticon views of different countries and temperance lectures.
The frequency of temperance lectures reflected the fact that the children in the Home were brought up in the ethos of Protestant middle class respectability, so much so that a mother who gave up her children to the Home demanded that they not be adopted by a Catholic family. In a time far less inclusive than today’s, such demands often reflected prejudices of the time, as Poughkeepsie received an influx of Italian and Irish Catholic immigrants.
During summers, the children camped out. By the Home’s 25th anniversary in 1882, 1,008 children had been served.