"He saw a need for a place for kids who were orphans because of the Civil War," says Bob Broad, owner of Hile-Broad Properties at Normandy Village. "He got this setup and it lasted more than 100 years."
Back in 1865, the State of Illinois created a home for veterans' children called the Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's School, or ISSCS.
"It was really their home," says Broad. "It was the children's home."
By 1916, Jesse Fell, who also founded Illinois State University, was providing education programs to those kids.
"They taught us how to clean, they taught us how to keep house, they taught us how to survive on the outside," says Cynthia Anderson, ISSCS alumna.
And the school taught these alumni valuable lessons for the future.
"This is where I grew up, this is where I learned life," says Bernie Latta, ISSCS alumnus.
"It taught me to be a better parent than I probably would have been if I hadn't been here," says Anderson.
"A lot of the success stories that people had were because of their lives growing up here," says William Merchant, ISSCS alumnus.
And through the structure and discipline ISSCS offered, alumni can agree that it changed them for the better.
"I don't know what I would've done if I'd not been sent here when I was a young kid," says Merchant.
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