Nachusa Lutheran Orphanage

Nachusa, Lee Co IL

1261 Illinois Route 38

Nachusa IL

Nachusa Lutheran Home, a program of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI), recently celebrated its centennial anniversary. For 100 years, beginning as an orphanage, the Home has provided services to children and families throughout the area. Beginning in its early days as an orphanage, through the present day, many children and families who have passed through Nachusa's doors have found opportunities for change, the chance to develop new skills and most importantly, hope.

It was on May 12, 1904 when the Nachusa Home was formally opened with six children at the time enrolled. The 45 acre tract of land was donated for this home by Mrs. Mary Shippert. The home was rebuilt in 1911 due to a fire. A second fire occurred in 1928 and once again the home was rebuilt during the next year. By 1950 the Nachusa Lutheran Home consisted of three cottages, a two room school building, a three car garage and a group of four farm buildings with enrollment at 48 children. The home today has all modern facilities and continues to serve the children.


Dixon Evening Telegraph May 12, 1904 - Nachusa - Over 200 people have just been served dinner by the ladies of Nachusa previous to the dedicatory services of Lutheran Orphan's Home. The home is the gift of Mrs. Mary E. Shippert of Nachusa and is a well improved property of 46 acres. Six children have been accepted for the home.


The Nachusa orphanage, located one half mile north of this place, was burned to the ground this morning, but fortunately most of the furniture in the big building was saved and none of the occupants was injured in any way. The fire started in the attic of the ewast wing of the building, but in spite of the determined efforts of all connected with the instituion and neighbors, the structure was reduced to an ash heap. The building, a big frame structure, was the former home of Col. Dysart and his daughter, Mrs. Dysart and his daughter, Mrs. Lloyd Shaw, and it was as dry as tinder and burned fiercely. Timely action, however, resulted in saving of the furniture. The children are now being cared for in homes in the vicinity and because of the excited and disturbed conditions, it is impossible to determine the loss or amount of insurance.

The Dixon Evening Telegraph April 3, 1912.
( On April 30, 1912, the Telegraph reported that a new $10,000 orphanage was being planned for immediate construction)


During daily visits to the hospital in the fall of 1900 to see her sick son, a Nachusa woman, Mrs. E.B. Shippert, witnessed the plight of a young child which motivated her to donate property for the establishment of a chidlren's home in the village. At the hospital she noticed a 1 1/2 year old child who had undergone surgery who was always alone. She once said to the hospital matron, a Miss herwood, "I wish I could take that child into the country and give her some fresh air and rich country mild and butter. Miss Sherwood replied, "Taker her.".

The hospital matron told her, "we have many children here like her and do not know what to do with them." From this conversation, Mrs. Shippert and her husband took the young child into their home. She owned property which had been willed to her by her father and after thinking about the tragedy of homeless children, Mrs. Shipper decided to offer the property to the Lutheran Church for use as a children's home. Her offer was presented to the General Synod during a convention held in Des Moines in June 1901 and it coincided with a movement to the church to establish an orphanage. After considering other sites which had been offered, the convention chose Mrs. Shippert's property. On Dec. 8, 1903 the State of IL granted a charter and the home opened May 12, 1904.

The Dixon Evening Telegraph Feb. 28, 1976


Nachusa Orphanage May 1923