History of Evans Home
The Henry and William Evans Home for Children in Winchester, Virginia first opened during the summer of 1949. The Home’s origins can be traced through the family tree of Mrs. Molly Evans Janney, who lived in Winchester from the mid-eighteen hundreds to the mid-nineteen twenties. Mrs. Janney left a small trust fund in the name of her niece, Miss Lillian Evans Sheetz. Mrs. Janney stipulated in her Will that Lillian could use the interest from the trust until her death. If Lillian died without an heir, the trust would be used to establish a Home for abused and otherwise needy children. The Home was to be named after Mrs. Janney's father, Henry Evans, and her uncle, William.
Henry and William Evans probably never anticipated their legacy. Their own history is vague; they arrived in Winchester sometime during the mid-eighteen fifties from an unspecified location out West. Their occupations prior to or during their Winchester residency are not known, but resulted in extensive land holdings and personal wealth. The brothers lived in a large Victorian on North Loudoun Street until their deaths in the late nineteenth century and it was this same house which became the original Henry and William Evans Home for Children in 1949. The three-story facility didn’t lend itself easily to this purpose, so another location had to be developed.
The Home’s board of directors loyally pursued Mrs. Janney’s bequest when they purchased land on which to build a new Home after selling the original property to the Sears and Roebuck Corporation. The colorful Evans Family history includes the tale that Henry and William buried their fortune beneath their house and local folklore inspired much speculation about its possible discovery when Sears, Roebuck and Co. demolished the house for their store’s foundation. The treasure, if real, remains buried to this day beneath the City parking garage currently on the site.
The Shockey Company of Winchester finished construction of the current Evans Home in 1952. (Shockey also built additions in the early nineteen sixties, early nineteen eighties, mid nineteen 90's and most recently in 2002.)
Early records of the Home’s children are scarce, however, since 1977 more than five hundred children have called this place home. They are now scattered throughout society, in trade schools and colleges, working in various professions, raising families and contributing to their communities. They are creating their own histories, thanks to the history that became the Henry and William Evans Home for Children.