The Millbrook Inn opened in July 2011. The property was once part of Hope Farm School established in 1906 by Bishop David Greer, then head of the Episcopal diocese of New York. The building, called Gate House because it stood next to the entrance to the farm, was purchased by the school in 1907 and after renovation, served as a dormitory for thirty boys.
Bishop Greer was informed by a judge of the city courts that “many homeless Protestant children are being brought before me”. The children were not delinquents, they were just unfortunate, having their homes broken up by illness, death, desertion or indifference by one, or both parents. Roman Catholic and Jewish protectorates did what they could for these children but their own institutions were overcrowded and the need was too great for them to meet.
Bishop Greer was deeply moved by the sad plight of these unfortunate children and decided to establish a committee to help him study the situation for the purpose of finding a remedy. The committee members visited the Children’s Court and listened to the cases. They then suggested to the bishop that a place should be established for these children, a place with a “home-like atmosphere and a wholesome environment”. The bishop agreed and so they began to search for a suitable location. Learning that the Brothers of Nazareth of the Episcopal Church wished to dispose of their property Priory Farm near Verbank, New York, they went there to see it.
Brother Gilbert, the Brother Superior of the order, offered to sell the farm for $16,000. The price was accepted by the committee and in October, 1906 Hope Farm was born, a “Protectory for Protestant Children”. Priory Farm had been given to the Brothers of Nazareth as a haven for the aged, ill and homeless and therefore it was most fitting that it would be under the direction of new pioneers in child care.
The school, renamed Greer School in 1939, provided, in addition to a standard educational curriculum, instruction in farming, carpentry, sewing and domestic skills. The school continued to operate until the early 1970’s when, after closure, the property was sold to the Fountains of Millbrook, a retirement community. The Gate House was sold in 2004 and after complete renovation became the Millbrook Inn.
For more information about Greer School visit www.greerschool.org