Children’s Dispensary

Over 100 Years of Healthier, Happier Children

1909 Dr. Charles Hansel founds a free dispensary and hospital to benefit sick babies in South Bend. Children’s Dispensary begins its work on a limited calendar.
1910 Prenatal care classes are offered through Children’s Dispensary.
1912 The work of Children’s Dispensary becomes a year-round project.
1919 A wood frame building at 1040 Division St. (now Western Avenue) is erected and clinics held twice weekly, with local physicians donating time and services.
1920 An orthopedic department is established and our work with people with disabilities begins.
1922-24 An eye, ear, nose, and throat clinic is included in services.
1925 Public appeal is initiated for funds to complete a new building on Washington. The Children’s Dispensary & Hospital Association is incorporated. The new building contains a gymnasium, oral operating rooms, sun deck, and service areas. St. Joseph County contracts with Children’s Dispensary to provide care to physically disabled children.
1930-34 Children’s Dispensary is contracted by the South Bend School Corporation to conduct a school for children with physical disabilities, referred to as The Sunshine Room.
1935-38 Children’s Dispensary with support from Progress Club sends 12 children with physical disabilities to a four-week camp on West Chain of Lakes Road in South Bend.
1939 A severe Polio epidemic brings 34 children to Children’s Dispensary for treatment.
1940 Eleven acres of land are given for a camp for children with physical disabilities by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Millhouse.
1947 State Northern Indiana Children’s Hospital is built and assumes the work of Children’s Dispensary orthopedic and physical therapy clinics.
1948 The Sunshine Room is moved to Morris School.
1949 The camp program is named Camp Millhouse and a board of directors is formed to govern the camp.
1950 Five more acres are acquired at the camp site, and the Kiwanis Club of South Bend builds a swimming pool at the camp.
1951-66 Children’s Dispensary continues to perform all pediatric work until 1966 when it’s medical and dental operations move to St. Joseph and Memorial Hospitals.
1966 The W. Washington Street building is sold and converted to a neighborhood center named Hansel Center.
1968-74 An Olympic-size swimming pool is built at Camp Millhouse. Children’s Dispensary purchases additional acreage; buildings and cabins are erected.
1975 The expanded and fully accredited camp is attended by 298 children.
1976 Fun & Learn becomes a second major program for Children’s Dispensary. The program serves developmentally challenged children on the campus of Saint Mary’s College. The program is offered from September to April.
1982 Children’s Dispensary adds adaptive arts/education to its services; Very Special Arts Indiana makes in-service training available for school teachers, and sponsors annual Very Special Arts festivals.
1989 Camp Millhouse is incorporated, a separate entity and nonprofit organization.
1990 Fun & Learn adds a 12-day program in July.
1992 The Pilot’s Club of South Bend becomes a major support of Fun & Learn.
1993 SNAP, or Special Needs Assist Program, offers an informational and referral service for families with developmentally challenged members. Children & Music is designed as a pilot program to encourage all children to become involved in musical opportunities.
1994 Community Advisory Council of Children’s Dispensary is formed.
1995 A Parent Advocacy Group is added to Children’s Dispensary.
1996 Children’s Dispensary begins Summer Safari Circle with Potawatomi Zoo, a four-day camp in June designed to meet the needs of neurologically and perceptually challenged children ages 6-12.
1998 New Directions is added to Fun & Learn at Saint Mary’s during fall and spring semesters. The workshop concentrates on social and life skills for youth 11 and older.
1999 A new program named Teen Zone is added to our programming and held at Holy Cross College. Teen Zone is an arts – based program for teens with developmental challenges.
2001 A summer camp is offered with Teen Zone, Fun & Learn, and Arts In Motion (AIM).
2002 C.H.A.M.P. (Children Have AMazing Potential) becomes the umbrella name for all programming.
2002 Spirit Art Scholarships are given to students for piano lessons.
2004 Teen Club replaces the previous teen programs and is housed at the Jamison Inn.
2009 Children’s Dispensary celebrates its 100th anniversary of charitable service to children and families in the South Bend area!
2013 “A Place To Be Me” becomes the new umbrella name for all programming.