A bit of History

What became known as the Taylor Orphanage was founded by Mrs. Emerline A. Taylor in memory of her husband, Isaac Taylor in 1868.  Mr. Taylor had grown up in an orphan asylum in England and his bequest and instructions for the orphanage suggest that he was determined to produce a better haven and education for the children than he had received.  He provided $60,000 for the building alone and $125,000 for the endowment.  A magnificent, Italianate style cream city brick building was erected under the guidance of prominent Racine architect and builder, Lucas Bradley.  This Racine landmark surrounded by a park like setting and small farm, was home to hundred of children.  In the 1940s David Rozelle, author of book, The Kid Who Climbed the Tarzan Tree, lived in the orphanage.  He said, It was an amazing place.  The home’s mission was to create happy, well adjusted kids.”

In 1973 or 1974 the old building was razed to make room for a series of new buildings. During the demolition, someone had the foresight to save the huge marble marker that was affixed to the historic building.  For more than forty years this marker lay face down on the Taylor Avenue grounds, near where the orphanage once stood.

In 2015 a group of volunteers spearheaded a preservation program that would repair and reinstall the marker in a permanent location near where the original building existed.

To honor the Taylors and to remember the children who made this place their home, we are asking you to consider making a donation to this project.  Commemorative bricks will be sold and placed near this enduring memorial.  Standard bricks with three lines of copy will be sold for $100.  The larger eight-inch square bricks will be offered for a $500 donation and twelve-inch by twelve-inch for $1000.

This historic renovation project is a coordinated effort between the Racine Heritage Museum and the Taylor Monument committee.