Womens Unit Beginning

Womens Unit Beginning

May 28, 1930

Throughout the early years of St. Charles, the facility was supported by a Women’s Unit which, beginning with its founding on May 28, 1930, operated on the belief “it is better to build boys than to mend men.” The first president and long-time leader of the Women’s Unit was Olga Knoernschild, the wife of William Knoernschild, the son of Charles Knoernschild. Under her leadership, the St. Charles Women’s Unit raised funds to assist St. Charles.

Among the contributions of the Women’s Unit was proving funds to:

  • Acquire interior furnishings for the Chapel, including an altar, statues and vestments
  • Fund approximately $1500 in repairs to the Chapel
  • Supply St. Charles with household equipment, including furniture and furnishings as well as clothing and bedding
  • Create two recreation rooms in dormitories
  • Assist the building fund with a $3500 contribution
  • Purchase two school buses and a station wagon
  • Provide the boys of St. Charles with gifts to acknowledge Christmas, graduations, Confirmations, and Easter.

Among the additional significant contributions of the Women’s Unit was the help given by the Women’s Unit in 1935 to assist in the purchase of St. Charles’ first pure bred cows to add to the facility’s dairy herd. The early use of the St. Charles acreage to include involving the boys placed at the facility can be noted from an October 4, 1953 entry in the Milwaukee Journal:

“Not long ago, the institution operated on a 40 acre farm with a registered dairy herd…the farm today is chiefly gardening with a few pigs and chickens raised.”

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