This building is Mount St. John in Deep River Connecticut. I have never seen the building up close but each time I take a trip down the river I see that dome gleaming in the sunlight. The building fascinated me but I heard different things about it. On the river cruise on the Becky Thatcher the guide pointed it out and said it was a convent. But on the Riverquest cruise that guide said it was a home for troubled boys.
On my most recent trip down the river the captain mentioned that he thought the school had been sold and was being closed down this summer.
So here is the history as I have been able to dig it up.
Mount Saint John was founded as St. John’s Industrial School in 1904 in Hartford. This was a residential school for boys in need of care. The need rapidly outgrew the space in Hartford so in 1907 the cornerstone was laid for the beautiful building we see from the river today.
In 1908 the staff and residents moved from Hartford to the new property in Deep River. The Xaverian Brothers, staffed the school from its opening until 1919. While much good work was done, the future of the institution as an Industrial School was very uncertain. At the same time, an orphanage for boys in Hartford, conducted by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery, was in dire need of more accommodations. It was agreed that the orphanage would move to the Deep River site. At that time the Sisters of St. Joseph administered the home and school until 1958.
Then in 1958, a large addition to the original building opened to house new dormitories, classrooms, and a gymnasium/auditorium. The programs for the boys admitted are tailored for individual needs and have changed over the years as the types of problems presented has changed with society.
For more information on the history of Mount St John including photos I refer you to a great blog entry I ran across http://mountsaintjohnsschoolalumni.blogspot.com/
Although finding history on this building was easy, finding current news was not so I don’t know the current status of the building or it’s school. I can only hope that with its history of good works that the news our good captain shared is wrong and the legacy will continue.