History of the Kentucky United Methodist Homes

In 1871 in Louisville, we began as the Widows and Orphans Home of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. The mission began as a result of the large number of widows and orphans resulting from the Civil War. Through the years, as widows became more self-sufficient, we became an orphanage.

In 1931, we moved in response to the overcrowded conditions at our Louisville property, to the current 251 acre farm in Versailles, Kentucky.

Fifty-six children and a small staff relocated to a farm, in Versailles, Ky. Pictured is the main homestead named after the governor- the Crittenden building.

Then in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, as more foster homes became available for orphaned children, we changed our focus to be in service to young people with histories of abuse, neglect and/or family trauma. Our goal is to help them emotionally and behaviorally.

In 1984, we acquired the Mary Kendall Home in Owensboro and we renamed it the Mary Kendall Campus of The Kentucky United Methodist Homes for Children and Youth.

Original Childrens Orphange in Louisville, Ky
Pictured is the original Children's and Orphans Home in Louisville.


Mary Kendall Campus History

After the citywide revival, the ladies of Owensboro Bible Club formed the Women's Christian Association (WCA), which was led by Mrs. Mary Kendall. The Mary Kendall Home was opened by these ladies in 1904.

In a letter dated 1929, written by Mary Kendall, she said, "Through the activities of this body, with the Bible Club, a rescue home for unfortunates among women and children came into life; the women, to show their love and appreciation of my labors in their midst, called this home The Mary Kendall Home." She added, "It would have been more pleasing to me had others given these facts, for I feel unworthy of the honor bestowed."

The Mary Kendall Home was purchased in 1984 and became a part of The Kentucky United Methodist Homes for Children and Youth, under the direction of Dr. Donald Durham. The Mary Kendall Home came into existence because of an effort spearheaded by United Methodist Women, therefore, it is fitting that The Kentucky United Methodist Homes for Children and Youth would step in to save Mary Kendall.

Mrs. Mary Kendall

Pictured is Mrs. Mary Kendall.

The Mary Kendall Campus of The Kentucky United Methodist Homes for Children and Youth serves a similar purpose as it did when it was established-that is to help those children and families who have had difficult lives, to receive help and hope. We are serving more children and providing more services than ever before. All of this is possible because years ago, women who were compassionate Christians, united to help desperate women and children.

Plans are currently underway to build a new campus in Nicholasville, Kentucky. (read more)