north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     The Central Children’s Home of North Carolina, Inc., a historically black residential childcare facility for children who are dependent, neglected, or abused, has been in operation for more than a century. In August 1882 the Colored Orphanage Association was formed in Henderson, thanks to members of the Shiloh and Wake Missionary Baptist Associations. Dr. Augustus Shepard presented the idea, having become aware of a large number of homeless and neglected children during his travels throughout the state. In October 1883, a farm of twenty-three acres, located one and one-half miles from Oxford, was obtained at a cost of $1,565.00.

     Initially the home was known as the “Grant Colored Asylum.” In 1887 the institution was renamed and incorporated as “The Colored Orphanage Asylum of North Carolina.” The orphanage was chartered as a nondenominational institution to care for children deprived of their parents with the goals of providing them with training along religious, moral, and industrial lines, and to prepare them for life as productive citizens. In 1927, the orphanage was reincorporated as “The Colored Orphanage of North Carolina,” and in 1965 was again renamed “The Central Orphanage of North Carolina.” In August 1986, the facility became known as the Central Children’s Home of North Carolina.

     A scholarship fund was established in 1943 by the late Robert L. Shepard, and through contributions, children have been able to pursue vocational and college education. Children have received work experience in farming, dairying, carpentry, bricklaying, brick-making, barbering, shoe repairing, food preparation, household skills, laundry, and related areas. The mission of the home is to provide family-centered services through an appropriate period of residential group care for children and youth from ages five through twenty-one, who cannot remain at home due to dependency, neglect, or abuse. The Central Children’s Home was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

Report to the Board of Directors of the Colored Orphanage of North Carolina (1963)
Central Children’s Home of North Carolina:
Location: County:

Original Date Cast:




north carolina highway historical marker program

A group of young girls at Central Orphanage in the 1880s.

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources