The Woodmen's Circle Home
Backstory and Context
The Woodmen’s Circle Home was built by the Woodmen's Insurance Company in the mid-1920s to serve as an orphanage and a “dormitory for widowed women.”1 Dora Alexander Talley, one of its founding members, was the driving force behind the building of the Woodmen's Circle Home. It was known for being the first company to offer life insurance for women and provide a home for them in their time of need. The building was home to 100 children and 165 women until its closing in the 1960s. Despite it being abandoned for decades and falling into disrepair, the Woodmen’s Circle Home is still an important Sherman landmark.A little history about the building is that in 1927 the Supreme Woodmen's Circle acquired land in Sherman, guided by early president Dora Alexander Talley. The administration building was dedicated, and the home was opened with a handful of young residents, including Lee & Edith Carmichael and Edwin, Sadie, Robert & Lillian Puliam in 1930. By 1935, there were 50 children living there, but soon fell to 4 in 1948 and only 8 more children were taken in from 1948 onward. By 1965, only two children, Brandon and Sharon Moe, remained at the home. The founding organization merged into the Woodmen of the World insurance company. 2
Those who operated the Woodmen Circle Home during its opening made sure that the children and women who lived there had everything they needed: food, clothing, an education and recreation. The women cared for the children of the orphanage like they were their own. According to Lynette George Herald Democrat, the women provided a positive atmosphere around the orphanage and its inhabitants and, "in return, all [children] had chores such as helping in the garden, with the animals, keeping the grounds and home immaculate.”3The building has undergone many changes in ownership throughout the years, as it was leased by Dr. Ariel Sherman and New Life Tabernacle in 1977. It has has suffered many disfigurements overtime as a series of fires on the property cause many of the wood supports for roofs and upper floors to deteriorate. The remaining property was purchased by the current owners, David and Debbie McNees of the Resolution Trust Corporation in 1990. The building continues to draw the attention of tourists because of its rich history of housing women and children in their time of need.
1 Hostetter, Alaena. "A Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned Orphanage Becomes the Set of a Music Video." Dallas Observer. Last modified January 27, 2017. https://www.dallasobserver.com/music/a-hauntingly-beautiful-abandoned-orphanage-becomes-the-set-of-a-music-video-9118890.
2 Vollrath, Lisa. "The Woodmen's Circle Home in Sherman, Texas." Exemplore. Last modified September 18, 2010. https://exemplore.com/paranormal/woodmens-circle-home.
3 Lynette George Herald Democrat. "Woodmen Circle Home Still Draws Interest." Herald Democrat. Accessed November 24, 2018. https://www.heralddemocrat.com/lifestyle/20170204/woodmen-circle-home-still-draws-interest.
"R/urbanexploration - Abandoned Home for Elderly Women and Orphanage. Woodmen Circle Home. Sherman, Tx." Reddit. Accessed December 5, 2018. https://www.reddit.com/r/urbanexploration/comments/7l6z18/abandoned_home_for_elderly_women_and_orphanage/.
"Grayson County TXGenWeb." Welcome to Our Site. Accessed December 5, 2018. http://usgenwebsites.org/TXGrayson/ANewLand/Places/WoodmenCircleHome/WoodmenCircleHome.html.