In March of 1892, thirteen members of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, concerned for the welfare of Dover’s neglected, abused, and unwanted children, collectively pledged to be responsible for the rent and other expenses of a home for needy children. The women rented half of a duplex on Atkinson Street and accepted 13 children for admission. One year later, on May 10, 1893, Dover Children’s Home was incorporated. The Home, which had grown to 28 children, moved to a larger house at 11 Spring Street in 1894. In 1897, the Dover Children’s Home Society decided to purchase land and build a new house at 207 Locust Street. On October 9, 1897, the Society laid the cornerstone of the building. The Home was completed and furnished in 1898 and 38 children immediately moved into the new building. A generous bequest in 1916 added land to the original property. Additions to the Home in the early 1920s and in 1962 greatly increased the Home’s size. Several renovations have helped maintain the structure.
Dover Children’s Home was organized to ease the plight of children and families who suffered due to the recessions of the 1890s and has continued to serve the needs of under-privileged children for more than 120 years. During the depression of the 1920s, more than 60 children resided in the Home. In 1939, the state of New Hampshire requested that the Home limit it number of children to 50. This number was subsequently cut to 45 after World War II. Over the years, the Home transformed further to providing intermediate-level residential care, case management, and therapeutic services to vulnerable youth ages 12-20.