WHEELERSBURG — Children, our most precious of gifts, are not all able to have their own homes like most children. The children here in Scioto County who, for some reason, are no longer able to stay in their own homes, are usually placed in foster care. However, in the past, there was a Children’s Home in Scioto County. Hillcrest Children’s Home opened in 1921 in Wheelersburg and was a 50-room building intended for 100 children and closed in 1970.
One of the children who lived at Hillcrest from 1964-1968 and is known by many for the many things she has done to preserve the history of the Children’s Home is Rose Mowery. Mowery has been vital to many things associated with Hillcrest. She was vital in seeing that Hillcrest received an Ohio Historical Marker near its original site. She also has had articles in magazines and newspapers, along with speaking engagements and appearances.
Mowery has now been given the honor of becoming an Ohio Local History Alliance Champion Award recipient. The award ceremony will be live-streamed sometime in October. Mowery was nominated for the award by Robert Dawson, The son of one of the former Hillcrest superintendents, Florence Dawson, who served seven years as superintendent.
“I would like to say that I am pleased and humbled by the overwhelming support received from our local county and city government, business professionals and my Hillcrest family,” Mowery said.
Mowery shared she was somewhat shocked when she received word that she had won the award. She wants to thank all those involved and explained that she doesn’t do it for the awards, but for all who experienced life at the Hillcrest Children’s Home and raise awareness of today’s children’s plight need.
“I never expected to receive such recognition for what I believe has been God’s will for me,” Mowery said. “A heartfelt, huge thank you to Robert Dawson and the Ohio History Alliance for such a prestigious award and again to all those involved. I never expected to receive such recognition for what I believe has been God’s will for me. A heartfelt, huge thank you to Robert Dawson and the Ohio History Alliance for such a prestigious award and again to all those involved. I am truly honored.”
Dawson’s letter of recommendation contained some of the following:
‘She has raised the awareness of the community as to the importance of Hillcrest’s contributions to the community as well as the community’s contributions to Hillcrest. Those efforts, as well as the reunions of former Hillcrest alumni, have also helped renew friendships and establish new ones among individuals, including this writer, who share a history of residency at Hillcrest.
Her approach to unveiling, documenting, and raising the public’s awareness of Hillcrest’s history is proof that one individual with perseverance and commitment can make an indelible imprint on the community. Due to her public consciousness-raising, she was also vital in the establishment of the Prayer and Recognition Day for Neglected and Dependent and the installation of the headstone memorializing Pearl Hodge, the child who died while at Hillcrest.
Despite the fact that Hillcrest no longer exists, Mowery’s efforts have reminded the community that extenuating family and other external factors require public attention and intervention for the generation’s neglected and dependent children, a poignant reminder in light of economic and cultural difficulties compounded by the opioid crisis that plagues southern Ohio.