Home: The United Methodist Children’s Home

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Home: The United Methodist Children’s Home

Standing as a beacon of hope for children and families for 152 years, the United Methodist Children’s Home (UMCH) served as a place countless people called Home. Founded in 1871 in Norcross, Georgia, the Children’s Home was created to give children abandoned in the aftermath of the Civil War a place to be cared for. In 1877, the Home moved to Decatur and remained there until 2017.

Historic and contemporary photographs provide glimpses into the United Methodist Children’s Home, while first hand oral histories from past residents, employees, and volunteers detail life in the “Orphan’s Home” from 1943 to 2017. This fascinating history was documented through interviews and photography by Beate Sass with interview assistance from Moira Bucciarelli. Sass turned the combined work into a manuscript.

The work of the UMCH has continued to the present day under the name of Wellroot Family Services, now headquartered in Tucker. The City of Decatur purchased the UMCH’s former property in 2017. The public can visit the grounds and see the structures, as it has been converted into Decatur Legacy Park. Many of the historic buildings still remain, including the 1906 Moore Chapel. A new nonprofit, Legacy Decatur, currently manages the 77 acres as a park and leases the buildings to other nonprofits. Long range plans have been developed to guide future changes.

About Wellroot

Wellroot has been nurturing families with a faith-centered focus in Georgia for more than 150 years. Formerly known as The United Methodist Children’s Home, Wellroot is Georgia’s longest-serving family welfare organization. Wellroot offers three evidence-based programs designed to build resiliency in children and families and connect those in crisis with needed resources to create a safe and stable home. Wellroot also provides short-term foster families as well as support for teens and young adults to break the cycle of trauma in their lives. For more information about Wellroot’s mission, visit www.Wellroot.org. To learn about the history through video, Visit Here. 

Image Caption: Front Room of Glenn Cottage. Photographed by Beate Sass.


Visiting the exhibit:

First Floor, Historic DeKalb Courthouse

Open Monday-Friday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, and Saturdays 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Admission is free, but we do appreciate donations!

No appointment necessary.

*We recommend bringing a mobile device and headphones in order to listen to audio clips within the exhibit.


Photographs by Dean Hesse.



Thank you to our exhibit sponsors!