Palmer Home Celebrates its 125th Anniversary

March 13, 2020

When Palmer Home first opened its doors on March 13, 1895 the world was a different place. The United States was starting to see the light at the end of a 2-year recession and the Treasury had, just days before, avoided a run on gold that had launched the country into panic.

Today, we have a stock market at full stop despite record highs, a turbulent Presidential election, and a virus that has brought the world to a halt. As I lead Palmer Home through whatever challenges arise, what calms me is the confidence I have in our combined experience, and years of working with children.

We’ve been doing this a long time. As the advertisement goes, “we know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.”  Very few organizations last for 125 years- something has to keep them in place.

To lead young lives, we seek the partnership of friends and donors every year – their faith, their prayers and their gifts. The trust people have placed in Palmer Home year after year is the reason we have been able to spend the last 125 years caring for vulnerable children.

More importantly, I believe God’s hand has held a firm grip on Palmer Home. Through good times and bad, He has been present, knowing our needs and filling our bucket.

Just as we see economies and news cycles ebb and flow, every once in a while at Palmer Home we have a flutter of activity related to our children that makes me wonder when it will all settle down. One week, a child seems to be breaking free of past patterns and then the next, it all comes back again. Two steps forwardone step backwards.

If there is one guarantee, it is that life brings challenges. However, we are here to work through each one, showing our children the love, grace, and protection of the Father. There’s something to be said, in the middle of chaos, for taking the long view.

As we cross this 125th milestone, I look back over our Palmer Home history and find a little peace that we are on a long journey. Since our beginning in 1895…

  • We have celebrated and crossed two century milestones…. 1900 and 2000.
  • We were here through two World Wars, sending children from Palmer Home to fight in each.
  • We clothed and fed our children right through the Great Depression
  • Like everyone else, we huddled around a television to watch a man land on the moon.
  • We absorbed the cultural challenges of the 1960s and the Vietnam War
  • We adjusted to the  post 9/11 world and the challenges it brought
  •  Today, we help our children navigate the risks and rewards of unprecedented technology

The reality is, Palmer Home has been here a long time, and whatever concerns may exist in the moment are calmed by the reality that – whatever it is – we’ve probably seen it before. There’s nothing new under the sun…

What’s required today, as it was in 1895, is the faith and grit to press ahead. Seize the moment and make a difference.

So many children have been guided to a better path, a new life, because Palmer Home has been here. Whatever the year or century, and no matter what obstacles the world is facing, the children we serve at Palmer Home will always know this: God loves them, we love them, and their lives make a difference in this ever-changing world.

Drake Bassett, CEO & President

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