The Pittsburgh Foundation

Jane Holmes Hall for Boys Memorial Fund

Established: 10/29/1954

When workmen leveled the three-story brick building at Anderson and General Robinson streets, it marked the passing of an era. The site was the home of Holmes Hall, a residence for working boys, ages 14-21, established in Pittsburgh in the late 1880s.

Holmes Hall came into being when Jane Holmes, a city socialite, bequeathed an annuity of $50,000 for a home for Protestant boys. Jane asked that it be modeled after the Lincoln Institute in Philadelphia, which had impressed her. She also asked that the institute serve as a shelter for young boys and men who came to the city to work or be educated.

After Jane's death in 1886, the old colonial-style Palmer mansion was selected, remodeled and opened as the Protestant Home for Boys, serving boys from 12 to 19 years, many whom worked as errand boys in local shops in factories. Others were students at the Western University of Pittsburgh on Perrysville Avenue. The boys paid $3 a week for room and board.

Hundreds of boys passed through the doors of Holmes Hall, as it was affectionately called. Years later, when it no longer had boys to serve, it closed. The fund today continues to support charitable organizations engaged in work similar to that of the Holmes Hall for Boys.

Type of Fund

  • Field of Interest