Fresh Air Baby Camp

Year(s) Listed:
Location Class:
Built: 1921 | Abandoned: 2001
Historic Designation: National Register of Historic Places (11-28-2007)
Status: Saved (2021)
Contributor: Kansas Preservation Alliance

Photo from https://wichitaparksfoundation.org/fabc

This Progressive Era building provided a refuge for infants whose health was at risk within the existing hospital system. Community members, principally women, rallied the Wichita community to construct the building and secured local builder George Siedoff to donate the required labor. Prominent local architect Lorenz Schmidt volunteered to design the building specifically to fit its purpose and included a crib room, isolation room and large windows with screens for ventilation. The design reflected Craftsman and Prairie Style influences. The building opened in 1921 and accommodated 20 babies in the summer months. No fees were charged for infant care as fundraisers and memberships were sold to cover medical costs.

When Wesley Hospital opened in 1926, the Baby Camp project was moved to the new facility, thus enabling the program to continue year round. The City leased the airy, well constructed building to the Wichita area Girl Scouts for a day camp and troop activity house. In 2001, the Girls Scouts moved from the building and it now stands vacant. A group of concerned citizens are now working to raise awareness about the building and find potential solutions for future use.

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