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G.W. Hinckley's Dream

This slideshow contains 20 items
1
Boys' Fund, Newport, 1888

Boys' Fund, Newport, 1888

Item 25869 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

George W. Hinckley's failure to achieve one of his dreams did not hinder his devotion to achieving another desire.

The native of Guilford, Connecticut, wanted to attend Yale and become a minister. Instead, he went to a normal school briefly, leaving without a degree.

But Hinckley doggedly pursued a slightly different dream -- operating a home for needy boys.


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Camp Rest Awhile, Good Will, Fairfield, ca. 1900

Camp Rest Awhile, Good Will, Fairfield, ca. 1900

Item 14355 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

Hinckley and his wife, Harriet, and daughter Alice moved to Maine in 1883. The next year, he began a fund to raise money for the home.

In 1888, Hinckley published the "Boy's Fund" newsletter to increase his fund-raising.

The next year, he bought a 125-acre farm in Fairfield for $2,000 and the Good Will Farm was on its way.


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Harriett Palmer Hinckley, Fairfield, ca. 1910

Harriett Palmer Hinckley, Fairfield, ca. 1910

Item 25884 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

In some ways, the Good Will Home became a family affair. Hinckley ran the school-home-farm from its beginnings in 1889 until 1919, when his son, Walter, took over supervisory duties.

Hinckley's wife, Harriett Palmer Hinckley, concentrated on raising the couple's four children: Alice, born in 1881; Walter, 1885; Edward Benjamin, 1887; and Faith, 1891.

Hinckley's sister, Jane Hinckley, was the first matron, serving until her death in 1914.

His daughter Faith worked at Good Will for many years and Walter's daughter, Harriet Hinckley Price and her husband, Donald Price, whose parents also had worked at Good Will, worked at the school until the 1950s.


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Auditorium, Good Will Farm, Fairfield

Auditorium, Good Will Farm, Fairfield

Item 7370 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

Hinckley's vision for the facility followed the pattern of many institutional facilities at the time.

The farm would provide much of the food needed to care for children and the live-in staff, and provide a source of education and employment for the children.

In addition, like many other institutions, Good Will intended to provide a home-like atmosphere with small living units made up of children of various ages and activities that replicated family and community life.


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Grange Cottage, Good Will Homes, 1911

Grange Cottage, Good Will Homes, 1911

Item 14353 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

Hinckley believed four elements were necessary to providing a successful environment for needy children: physical, intellectual, social, and religious.

Youths should work not only on the farm, Hinckley thought, but in the kitchens, laundry, and at other tasks at the institution.

They should work for whatever they got, Hinckley believed. Even if people donated items to Good Will, the youths worked to earn the items.


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Elizabeth E. Wilcox Smith Cottage, Good Will-Hinckley Homes

Elizabeth E. Wilcox Smith Cottage, Good Will-Hinckley Homes

Item 14416 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

While Hinckley's goal -- and primary interest -- was to help boys who were orphans or those whose parent or parents could not adequately care for them, it soon became apparent that some girls also needed a place like Good Will.

Smith Cottage, a residence for girls, opened in 1897.

Soon, some 30 girls lived at Good Will Home.


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Good Will Cottage, Fairfield, ca. 1940

Good Will Cottage, Fairfield, ca. 1940

Item 14356 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

After purchasing the farm, Hinckley took in the first three residents in 1889. They were among a group of youths who had come from Boston for a summer camp experience and remained at the home.

The first residence was the Good Will Cottage, the original Isaac Chase farmhouse.

The Chases were the grandparents of Margaret Chase Smith, later a U.S. representative and Senator from Skowhegan.

By June of 1890, the Good Will Farm had 18 boys in residence. Good Will continued to grow.


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Moody Chapel, Good Will-Hinckley Home for Boys and Girls

Moody Chapel, Good Will-Hinckley Home for Boys and Girls

Item 7352 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

Since colonial days, Americans viewed the care of poor or otherwise needy persons as the responsibility of towns.

By the 1830s, due largely to the effects of the Second Great Awakening, religious impulses drove individuals and governments to provide care for needy children, for persons with mental or physical disabilities or illnesses.

Many private, religious and state-funded institutions began in the early 1800s, and many more came along at the end of the nineteenth century.

Hinckley, like others, had a religious underpinning to his institution, although its expression was non-denominational.


9
Raising the bell up to the tower in Prescott Building, Fairfield, ca. 1915

Raising the bell up to the tower in Prescott Building, Fairfield, ca. 1915

Item 26442 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

When he started Good Will Farm, Hinckley was doing fieldwork for the American Sunday School Union of Philadelphia.

He was a believer in the Social Gospel, the idea that religious values could be applied to social problems.

He sought to keep boys away from alcohol, tobacco and other vices, and instead following Christian precepts of brotherliness, charity, and selflessness.

Hinckley believed that God would provide to keep the home afloat financially.

He did not seek state funding and, although he encountered hard times, Good Will Farm continued to grow, offering various educational and vocational training opportunities and other services to about 200 children by 1913.


10
Groundbreaking for Prescott Memorial Building, 1912

Groundbreaking for Prescott Memorial Building, 1912

Item 7461 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

In his Story of Good Will Farm, Hinckley wrote, "Money seems to be a necessity in this world; and money was needed for the work in hand, but I have always placed friendship above money.

"I would rather lose money than friends. To be penniless is less of a misfortune than to be friendless."

Hinckley's faith in friendship was rewarded as many of the friends he cultivated became benefactors of Good Will.


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Barn at Good Will Homes, Fairfield, ca. 1915

Barn at Good Will Homes, Fairfield, ca. 1915

Item 14712 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

Out of failure often came success, Hinckley wrote. That was the case with the school at Good Will Farm.

An organization of traveling salesmen offered to raise money for a school. When they contracted to begin work in 1893 after raising only $1,000 of the needed $10,000, Hinckley stopped them, suggesting that they needed to have more money in hand before beginning.

The organization withdrew.


12
Moody School, Good Will Farm, Fairfield, 1911

Moody School, Good Will Farm, Fairfield, 1911

Item 7328 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

Soon, Harper Bros. publishing offered to help raise money to build a school through readers of "Harper's Young People." That fund, too, fell short and "was being used simply in an effort to increase the circulation and popularity of a New York young people's publication," Hinckley noted.

Then, in 1894, Mary D. Moody and her sister, Frances E. Moody, of Bath, asked to meet with Hinckley.

Their brother, Charles E. Moody, had recently died and they wanted to donate from his estate to build a school.

The Moody School was dedicated Jan. 1, 1896.

Frances Moody later donated additional funds for the chapel.


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Quincy Manual Training building, Fairfield, 1911

Quincy Manual Training building, Fairfield, 1911

Item 7459 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

In 1903, the Quincy Manual Training building opened.

Boys were the primary recipients of training in carpentry, drafting, printing, and metal work.

Hinckley wrote, "An arrangement has been made by which other than Good Will boys can take any or all of the courses provided for in the Quincy Building."

They could either attend as day students or board at a new dormitory, the Buckminister, built next to Quincy.


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George Walter Hinckley with boy

George Walter Hinckley with boy

Item 14214 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

Hinckley believed in "mental and manual" education and wanted all youths to learn basic academic skills, along with manual skills that would help them lead productive lives.

If a youth wanted to pursue academics, that too was encouraged. Many Good Will Farm graduates went on to college and professional careers.


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George Walter Hinckley sitting in the Black Wolf Seat

George Walter Hinckley sitting in the Black Wolf Seat

Item 14348 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

Despite his successes at raising money for buildings and expanding Good Will Farm to serve 230 youths by 1917, finances were a serious problem and had taken their toll on Hinckley.

He had at least three nervous collapses over the years. One of his means of recovery was leaving the Good Will campus and camping, hiking, and otherwise enjoying the outdoors.


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Good Will Farm roundel, Fairfield, 1918

Good Will Farm roundel, Fairfield, 1918

Item 25882 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

In 1917, Good Will was $60,000 in debt. Hinckley did not want to close, nor did he want to charge tuition. He raised money to erase the debt and was close to another breakdown.

Two years later, he stepped down as supervisor, replaced by his son Walter. But Hinckley remained closely involved until his death.


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Roosevelt Tablet, Good Will Farm, 1921

Roosevelt Tablet, Good Will Farm, 1921

Item 25902 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

Beyond the farm structures, cottages, schools, chapel and other functional buildings at Good Will, Hinckley paid attention to the outdoors.

Charles Rust Parker of the Frederick Law Olmsted firm designed many of the early campus roads and landscapes, including a pond.


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Murray Tablet, Good Will Farm, Fairfield, 1928

Murray Tablet, Good Will Farm, Fairfield, 1928

Item 25888 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

In addition, starting in 1912, Hinckley began building memorials -- generally stone structures -- around the trails and other campus features.

Hinckley saw the memorials a way to remember the past, to inspire viewers by the lives of those memorialized, and to look to the future.

Hinckley was especially inspired by "Adirondack Murray" and built the Murray tablets in his honor.

William Henry Harrison Murray often is called the "father of the Outdoor movement."


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George W. Hinckley, ca. 1930

George W. Hinckley, ca. 1930

Item 25873 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

George Walter Hinckley died in 1950 and the facility to which he had devoted much of his adult life underwent a number of changes.

Good Will's growth had largely ended by the mid 1930s.

The post World War II era presented new challenges to Good Will and the directors decided to turn it into a prep school.

The focus on serving needy youths and Hinckley's insistence on family-size cottages had ended.


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Good Will Campus Aerial

Good Will Campus Aerial

Item 14346 info
L.C. Bates Museum / Good Will-Hinckley Homes

However, in 1977, the cottages along with some of Hinckley's original goals were back.

Good Will eventually became known as Good Will-Hinckley, serving youths with educational, social and behavioral needs.


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