While the Spokane Children’s Home provided shelter for homeless and delinquent children during the era before public assistance the facility is best remembered for a 1930s scandal.
The Ladies Benevolent Society of Spokan Falls formed in 1884 to help children roaming the streets. They opened two orphanages. The Home for Friendless Children in 1887, and the Spokane Children’s Home in 1909.
The Spokane Children's Home housed 100 children. Police often took undisciplined children to the home, where they did chores as a way to regulate their behavior. The orphanage was well respected because of the exemplary behavior displayed by the children within it, so when the people of Spokane learned of the atrocities that transpired within the home it came as a shock.
In August of 1935 stories of molestation regarding the Spokane Children’s Homes Superintendent, Fred Hunter, and his assistant Fred Schueler came to light. Multiple eye-witness testimonies stated that Hunter was having improper relations with an underage boy, he adamantly denied the accusations. Police investigations into Hunter led to corroborations and evidence of additional molestations by Hunter as well as the fact that Schueler was also taking advantage of several children.
A Spokesman-Review story in 1935 stated “Children’s Home Troubles Over,” with only a brief description of the events. But the scandal led to the home relocating many of the children. Over time the number of children housed in the home continued to decline until 1951 when the Spokane Children’s Home was finally closed.