The following was sent to me from a man who was brought up in the institution. His rememberences and history is well worth reading about. Under "Home for freindless Females or Children", the first name for this institution. It is my understanding that this was organized under a religious organization at the turn of the last century. The building was located at 936 WOODYCREST Avenue, Bronx, NY, 10452 It is currently standing at the foot of WOODYCREST avenue & River Road, across from (old) Yankee stadium, and the ramps to the Macombs Dam Bridge....within short distance to the grand concourse. I lived there from 1965 until 1975, by which point we had already moved from that location. About 1972, we (the residents) of WOODYCREST (the official name of the home having been changed along the line and WOODYCREST was simply known as "WOODYCREST". It was then changed to WOODYCREST child care)....we were advised that we would be moving out of the Bronx and to upstate NY in Rockland County. At that time, there was a place in Pomona, called Five Points. this place was also known by the name of "Happy Valley", located at 110 Pomona Road, Pomona NY, 10970. This upstate location was the subject of financial difficulties, and the two organizations had merged, and the name was organized as "WOODYCREST-Five Points Child Care". We remained in the Bronx, until brand new cottages (13 of them) were completed, and in the summer of 1973 or 74, we all boarded busses and left 936 WOODYCREST avenue for the last time. During the time that the merger was made official, numerous cottages (old victorian homes that were a combination of old residences of the CONKLIN family whose remains are still interred on the property), as well as housing that was built for the accomodation of the children that were moved from Five points, in NYC, to Pomona at the end of the 19th century, due to the epidemics that persisted in NYC at that time. These old victorian homes, were demolished, and new modern homes were erected. not all homes were taken down, some remain to this day, as housing for the staff were needed and those homes served in that capacity. A gymnasium was erected, a school, a swimming pool, and other amenities were also built. by the time we arrived at 110 Pomona road, everything had been done. Happy Valley, prior to our going there, was a "working farm" during its history and the children were encouraged to maintain the place by way of taking care of the animals and farming. When we arrived, that was all gone. In the Bronx, during the summer when school was out, we would all go up to bear mountain, where WOODYCREST owned a campground with 12 "cabins" on lake cohasset. every summer we would go up there. This continued when we moved to Pomona. I left WOODYCREST-points child care in Sept. of 1975. I attended Pomona Jr. High School. After I left, I would still see my social worker at the address that you have listed on your website. Around 1980, Greer house merged with WOODYCREST, and became "Greer-WOODYCREST" at the Pomona road location. It is my understanding that the facility was geared towards housing children with various handicaps. This went on until the facility could no longer function and was sold. The current occupant of the property itself is the Minisceongo Golf Club, all buildings have been removed, except for the administration building, which housed the social services, and other offices, as well as the infirmary, the kitchen, staff dining rooms, chapel and laundry facilities. This building was known as "Jessup Hall" and I understand that this was in honor of Samuel JESSUP. It was also stated that Abraham Lincoln had visited this place. I find that in 1860, Abraham Lincoln DID in fact visit and address Five Points, but not the one in Pomona. His words of advise to the Children under its care when it was still in Manhattan were quoted as "Always do the best you can and never been afraid"...which at once was adopted as Happy Valley Schools motto. Jesup Hall, was not around in 1860, and it was in 1911 that William Church Osborn and his wife had donated to the Five Points House of Industry, a 150 acre tract of land where Happy Valley (now the Minisceongo Golf Club is) for the purpose to help the children. John P. Morgan donated funds to build the Cottage that was known as Egleston Cottage. It is unclear as to whether the Jesup Hall building was named for Morris K. Jesup, a very wealthy Philathropist, as was his wife, (Note: Morris K. Jessup was on the the board of Trustees of the Five Points House of Industry from 1868-1907, so it was possibly him for whom Jesup Hall is named, one of two "Jesup Halls" attributed to his benevolence) OR, Samuel K. Jessup who was a Real Estate Promoter, and who lived in Orangetown, Rockland County. Whose ever gift it was, it was a sizable one that has lasted almost 100 years. The other buildings that remain are 3 old houses, the CONKLIN family graveyard which dates to the 1700's., and the gymnasium. The records of the facilities were last known to be in the NYC office. In 1986, I wrote a Mr. Percy Ryberg, who was a social worker at WOODYCREST, and he advised me that i would need a court order to have my records opened, and have a legitmate excuse for doing so. If you have any questions about this email, please feel free to contact me. I love history, always have, and even when I lived at WOODYCREST, I was interested. The building in the Bronx was sold to a muslim organization, and subsequently, it became a hospice for people with AIDS. Sincerely yours, David A Henry former resident of WOODYCREST/Greer WOODYCREST/WOODYCREST five points child care...etc. After I had written to David, I received the following:) Thank you for your wonderful response to my Email, and your kind words! They are much appreciated. Something that was supposed to be a negative in my life (being put in WOODYCREST) turned out probably to be the best thing that ever happened to me. Suffice it to say I am very well adjusted considering. WOODYCREST and Happy Valley was NOT the kind of "Institutional confinement" that one would conjure up in their minds. First of all, we lived in a Mansion in the Bronx. There is a book (very old) about the old buildings in NYC. I was flabbergasted to see that one of the pictures was of the Bronx building that we lived in. We had swimming pool, Gymnasium, Arts and Crafts, etc. We had the best of everything. We were taken to shows at Radio City Music Hall every Christmas, and had outings to such places as the Botanical Gardens, Apollo Theater, we were given ALLOWANCES (things only priviledged children received) and were allowed to go out on our own. There were no bars on the windows except for the ones that kept people from falling out of them! We were allowed to go to outside Schools, but there were two school rooms within the building associated with the local school from where a two teachers would come to teach....We were allowed to go out to the Churches of our OWN choice....I went to the Church on Amsterdame Avenue in Manhattan, and recall a group of us walking over the Macombs Dam Bridge and attending Sunday School at a Church on Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan. I remember going back in 1984, to the Bronx, just "to see" what the old place looked like. Well, the Muslin organization was only too happy to let me in and tell them all about the place as I remembered it, including little "nooks and crannies" that only little children would find, within the building, under staircases, attics...etc. I would get goose bumps going all over there, after so many years, and they were eccstatic to hear what was where and what each room was used for. Regarding something else I thought of when I was trying to sleep last night. In 1966, the summer that I went to WOODYCREST after a few months in a place in Jamaica, Queens (dont remember the name of it, I think it was called the "Queensboro Childrens Shelter", is that Summer, when WOODYCREST was bringing the residents back from our Summer Camp in Bear Mountain, the female population was eliminated. That year, or during that time I should say, there was a problem with preganancies, and being a Christian organization, this was not acceptable. So they (WOODYCREST) relocated all of the females to some other location (where, I do not know) and the Home became strictly for boys and young men. Happier moments were yet to come tho, as we moved up to Pomona. I love that place, and it was as though I belonged in that atmosphere, rather than my native previous surrounding City life or Brooklyn and Bronx. The Mountains, the Conklin Orchards...running through the old Conklin Graveyard (which is now known erroneously as the Greer WOODYCREST Burial Ground)..... we used to walk along the RailRoad tracks to Mt. Ivy. It was very beautiful. Little did I know, that in my Genealogical searches for my roots, I discovered my ancestors to be the Patentees of that area.... the Kakiat Patent...I am a descendant of the Blauvelt, Haring, Tallman, Henion, and other families that settled the area. Some of my family came from Hempstead Long Island (they founded that place in 1642 I believe..the CARMAN family and others) and some relocated and settled New Hempstead and that Rockland County area. I essentially went "back to my roots" when we moved up to Pomona. When I lived in Brooklyn, I used to go to the old Dutch Reformed Church on Flatbush Avenue and Church Avenue. I would go through the graveyard. I have, in my searches, found that my ancestors also settled in that area in the 1600's. Many of the early Dutch, French and English settlers who eventually relocated to the areas of the Ramapo Mountains, the Northern New Jersey area as well as the original settlers of what is now Jersey City, are my ancestors. The JESSUP family, I think I recall the name was Samuel Jessup who erected the Administration Building in Pomona. In that building, which currently serves as the Club House for the Minisceongo Golf Club, you will find Ariel Photographs of the place when it was first renovated in the early 1970's, as well as one of what it looks like now. I used to have aerial photographs of the place when it was actually Happy Valley Farm, prior to demolition of those old Victorian homes that were used as Dormatories. I have copies of the ones that are up on the walls now of that building. There are also Indian Artifacts, as well as a "plaque" that dedicates to the memory of the residents of what was "Happy Valley" that was installed by the Happy Valley Alumni Association, which I have not been in touch with in a long time. Well, I am blabbering...so I will stop now. You may feel free to place my name and Email on your Website and any information that you feel pertinant to your endeavors to enhance the history or searching of others regarding my recollections of WOODYCREST and Five Points (Happy Valley). One last thing......On Camp Hill Road, in Pomona, was a swinging sign that had been there for decades...with "SLOW DOWN, CHILDREN AT PLAY" on it. When I last visited that area in 1998, the sign was still there on the old fence, in very bad condition. I removed it from the fence, it came apart....but I shipped it to my home in Florida and put it back together. It now serves as a sign in my front yard for Advertising my Notorial Services.. I rememberd that sign and wanted to save the only thing that I could from those days gone by. Mr. Albert (or Alfred, I was always respectfull and called him Mr. Mills) Mills, who was the caretaker of Happy Valley, maintained the place and the sign stood in front of his house on Camp Hill Road on the property. Thats it..I am tired! Thank you, David Henry Thanks to David for this warm, insiteful rememberence of a place and time many of us have never known or experianced. You can email David at: dhenry9@tampabay.rr.com A website has been formed: www.Woodycrestalumni.com www.Woodycrestfamily.com www.woodycrest.info RETURN to ORPHAN Main RETURN to BROOKLYN Main