Newton Working Boys Home // c.1895

At the edge of the Charles River at the far edge of Newton, Massachusetts, homeless working boys of the Boston area had a place to rest their head. The Working Boys Home was established in 1883, as a new Catholic charity in Boston. Its mission was to provide a home for working adolescent boys (messenger boys, newsboys, boot blacks, etc.) who had no place to call home and often slept in abandoned buildings, alleys, stables, and other such places. The Working Boys Home was open to homeless boys between 12 and 17 years of age, and all were expected to work and contribute a part of their wages to the support of the home. The original space in Jamaica Plain and subsequent Bennett Street (North End) locations were deemed too inadequate. In 1890, the 48-acre estate in the Oak Hill section of Newton was purchased and this four-story brick building built from plans by William H. McGinty. After WWII, city prosperity other services reduced childhood homelessness, and the last group of boys moved out of the Working Boys Home in 1961. The property was sold in 1979 to the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston to be used as a center for activities meeting cross-generational needs, now known as JCC Greater Boston.

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