News and stuff about Lake Forest and Lake Bluff

Life Inside The Lake Bluff Orphanage

At the dedication of the Lake Bluff Children’s Home on Nov. 8, Kraig Moreland unveiled a video interview with one of the former residents of the home, Heather Madsen Waldoch. GazeboNews took this photo of them at the Vliet Museum of Lake Bluff History:

Heather Madsen Waldoch and Kraig Moreland at the Vliet Museum

The video is a short preview of the documentary of the Children’s Home that Kraig’s working on, showing just one child and her experience living at the orphanage from 1961 – 1964. The complete documentary with more voices of past children and staff is targeted to be completed sometime in late spring- early summer of 2011. All proceeds from the showing of the completed project will be given to the Vliet Museum of Lake Bluff History.

Heather was one of about 20 people who gathered for the ceremony at the museum. She said she felt well cared for as a child in Lake Bluff and is amazed at how kind Kraig and others have been since she came back to the village for the first time as an adult just two months ago. Here is a link to the interview:


  1. Betty Reed says:

    I was in Lake Bluff Orphanage during the war years 1940 / 1944. (air raid sirens and ‘blackout blankets hung over windows.)
    We were four children…..I Betty being the eldest at six yrs. and all two years apart in age.
    I remember Mummsie Molder who was the matron of our floor.
    I remember all my Sunday’s while there….visitors day… time during midday……phone ringing at far end of hall …..heavy, echoing footsteps coming my way………….coming my way and I …………..praying…………….”Let it be me, let it be me!” Rarely a visitor for us. We breathlessly
    laid there…….. waiting for phone to ring and the process to begin again.
    Years later…. became aware of reason why mother didn’t come often. She lived far South of Chicago and times were hard .
    I was adopted at age ten. Sister ….next in line…. was taken by another family. Two younger siblings were in a foster home and then back to orphanage…then to mother ……back to orphanage etc.
    Met them many years later………….sad life.
    Kind people in charge of us.
    I remember a gentleman and his wife (he played the Mandolin) . They lived in what I assume was an apartment on top floor of Victorian house on property, They always had an unfinished jig saw puzzle on card table. Each piece was numbered on back. CUTE.

    A short walk to candy store ……….nickels on Tues and Thurs.
    Library in town had apple tree in back…loved green apples….several times…….. tried hiding apples in toy box.
    Didn’t know how I always got found out!! Needless to say……there were many Tues. and Thurs. I went without my nickel. : )
    Only bad memory was Mrs Bluedorn a nurse in the clinic. She was tough.
    Thursday breakfast included cooked raisens….was forced to eat them…promptly upchucked……was sent to face MRS BLUEDORN. HORRORS!!! LOL

    It was lovely finding this site…………
    Will be seventy eight in few months…………..have vivid memories of the orphanage grounds and my daydream hole in bushes.

    Does anyone know where to get the old records?

    • Betty–thank you for sharing these memories of your time in the orphanage. i’m giving your contact info to kraig moreland, who created a documentary on the lake bluff children’s home. he’s involved with the museum, too, and may have insights on where to get old records.

  2. Ronald Long MD, PhD says:

    My brother, sister and I were placed at Lake Bluff Children’s Home for 3 years (1953-1956) while my parents worked on their divorce. It was a great time and I still look back at many memories. we never realized orphan vs foster children and for the most part the adoptees were newborns or very young. Lake Bluff was a wonderful place to grow up.

  3. This is the beginning of what looks to be an awesome documentary. As a child growing up in Lake Bluff, the Children’s home was a colossal campus of impressive buildings and facilities. I knew many kids that attended after school programs there in the early seventies as it was beginning to close down. It is great to think that aside from world and US history, our children will have more ways to learn about our local history. The Vliet Center is a great asset and thank you all for your efforts. Great job on the documentary Kraig. Can’t wait to see the final version.

  4. Richard—I will give your email to Kraig Moreland from Lake Bluff; he created/produced the documentary on the Lake Bluff Children’s Home.

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