Maplewood Gymnasium and Dante Orphanage

43 Thornton Road

Joseph Shortlidge founded the Maplewood Institute in 1862, an early coed boarding school, perhaps the one of the first in the area. The student list in 1877 included many local names: Darlington, Hannum, Hoopes, Phipps. By 1909, it had become a school for young men and boys only.

The Gymnasium was built in 1898 and featured one large room with upper windows. The lower windows were added during the time of the church who owned this property until the township purchased the 20 acres in 2005. The portico in this photo, most likely added by the church, was removed in 2009.

The Dante Orphanage was begun in 1920 by the Sons of Italy to care for World War I orphans from Italy. It later became home to children from one-parent families and Sundays found relatives and children picnicking under the huge maple trees that adorned this property, likely giving it its name. It was run by The Sisters of the Catholic Apostolate (also known as Pallottine), and closed in 1968. It was temporarily used by Garnet Valley School District and Delaware County Community College before being purchased by Church of Our Savior.

Today the Gymnasium is the Concord Community Center and the Orphanage is the home of the Concord Township Offices.

This property is Historic Resource #197.