By Rev. Karl Drew
There was a meeting on May 17, 1920 of representatives of the Anglican, Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches of the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, along with Adjutant Hurd, Salvation Army, and Rev. W.H. Barraclough, President of the Evangelical Alliance of Moncton, held in the Y.M.C.A., Moncton, New Brunswick. Those present consisted of the heads of the Toronto Social Service Departments, Presidents of the Maritime Baptist Convention and of the New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island Conference of the Methodist Church, Convenor of the Presbyterian Synodical Social Service Committee, Canon Sisam, St. George's Anglican Church, Moncton New Brunswick an Clergymen from the many areas of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island including Woodstock, Saint John, Moncton and Halifax.
Rev. Dr. R.W. Ross, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Maritime Home for Girls, Truro, Nova Scotia was Chairman of the meeting with Rev. W.H. Barraclough as Secretary.
During the afternoon discussion was held on the advisability of the setting up by the churches of a Home for young women for the three Maritime Provinces, from the age of 16 years and up. (The Home for Girls in Truro, Nova Scotia was set up for girls up to 16 years of age.)
The purpose of the meeting was to take the female prisoners out of the common jails and bring them into a Christian redemptive home environment. Certain resolutions were passed:
- There was a need for such a Home to be set up as soon as possible on interdenominational and co-operative lines.
- The Home should be established at some point in New Brunswick.
- A committee should be established to examine the need, character an location of the Institution, the franchise, and the methods of financing and maintaining such a Home.
- The Committee was to be composed of three members of each of the Churches and Captain Hurd of the Salvation Army, and to be representative of the three Provinces concerned.
- The heads of the Social Services Departments were to be associated with the Committee in an advisory capacity.
The Provisional Committee (Resolution Number 4) was named and met at the close of the evening meeting and elected Rev. H.A. Goodwin, Saint John, New Brunswick, Chairman; Rev. C.W. Corey, Lewisville, New Brunswick, Secretary; recommended the Home be located in the Moncton area and appointed sub-committees on legislation, site, extent of need and finance.
Legislation had to be obtained from each of the three Maritime Provinces and the Federal Government for the establishment, operation and the committal of girls sixteen and up to the proposed Home. In 1937 the Board of Governors was incorporated by the New Brunswick Legislature under Chapter LV1, 1 George V1, 1937 with the object of the Corporation being to take over, continue, carry on and maintain the work of the institution known as The Inter-Provincial Home for Young Women at Coverdale in the County of Albert as a reformatory, home and training school under the provisions of the Acts passed by the New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island Governments and the Federal Government.
Between 1920 and 1922 the co-operating churches appointed their seven members to the Board of Governors with the first meeting of the Board of the Home held on June 22, 1921 with the Board of Governors still in existence and operating today. The officers, along with two members from each of the co-operating denominations, form the Board which meets annually while the Executive now meets four times a year.
The Home property was bought, the buildings erected, maintained and the institution operated by contributions from churches, by per capita grants paid by cities, towns, municipalities, for women committed from their respective constituencies, supplemented by a provincial per diem from the Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island and by donations from businesses and the general public. The Board of the Home also employed Field Secretaries to obtain finances for the purchase of the land, the building and operation of the Home as well as borrowing money from the Board of the Presbyterian Church and by entering into mortgages. Among these financial agents was Rev. George Gardner, the first agent, and Rev. F.E. Barrett.
The Provisional Committee looked at two properties, one in Lewisville, and the other in Coverdale. The latter was the property of Mr. J.W. Gaskin and contained 200 acres more or less of farm land. It was deeded on February 7, 1923 to five members of the Board of the Home as Trustees of "The Moncton Home for Young Women." On June 17, 1929 the adjoining farm of Stanley N. Adams containing 60 acres more or less was deeded to the Trustees for "The Inter-Provincial Home for Young Women." On October 14, 1954 the title to these two pieces of property was deeded to "The Inter-Provincial Home for Young Women, Inc." with the deed registered just previous to the Arbitration proceeding on the land expropriated in the Spring of 1960 for the Bradford Road, and the land expropriated later in the 1960s for the Petitcodiac River causeway. The deed was from Mr. A.D. MacBeath, Moncton, New Brunswick as the sole surviving Trustee of the Trustees in which the two pieces of land were vested. Mr. MacBeath died in 1955.
Mr. E.D. Vernon, Truro, Nova Scotia was retained as architect to prepare plans for the building to house those committed to the Home and to carry on the work of the Institution.
On July 2, 1924, the Board of Governors awarded the contract for the construction of the new building to Senton and Condon, Kentville, Nova Scotia, with certain limitations on finance, with construction to begin at once. The building was completed in 1925 and the building furnished with the assistance of the newly appointed Superintendent, Miss Jennie Robinson. The new building was officially opened with the appropriate ceremonies on February 2, 1926 at its Annual Board Meeting.
The building consisted of three floors and basement. At the Home in 1926 to 1933, 100 girls had been committed to the Home, necessitating the completion of the third floor into rooms to house the girls during this period. The second floor contained rooms for girls and staff. The first floor consisted of hallway, front and rear entrances, office, chapel, school room, common room, dining room, kitchen, laundry and two staff bedrooms. The basement consisted of a furnace room with storage space for fuel, storage room for food and other supplies, hallway, room for hair dressing instruction and a gymnasium. After a fire gutted the third floor on July 26, 1954, it was converted into a library, weaving and crafts room and some storage space.