MAKING GOOD MEN AT M'CUNE FARM. ~ WORK OF INSTITUTION TOLD AT CORNERSTONE LAYING.

November 28, 1909
MAKING GOOD MEN
AT M'CUNE FARM.

WORK OF INSTITUTION TOLD AT
CORNERSTONE LAYING.

Great Future of Farm for Boys De-
scribed by Speakers -- Large
Crowd Witnesses Ceremonies
and Visits the Home.

"There's de judge, fellers!"

"Hello Judge!" shouted more than eighty happy boys as they rushed to open the gates that admitted William Scarritt's automobile which bore Judge E. E. Porterfield to the McCune Farm for Boys to see him that they grabbed hold of his arms and legs and climbed all over him in enthusiasm.

Judge Porterfield's visit to the farm was for the purpose of conducting the ceremonies for the laying of the cornerstone of the fine new schoolhouse which is now under construction. The occasion was eventful because of the fact that there were more visitors at the farm yesterday afternoon than ever before at any one time.

The ceremonies started at 3 p. m. with a song by the youngsters, who sang it with earnestness. After the invocation by J. M. Taylor, superintendent of the farm, the boys sang another gospel hymn and Judge Porterfield made the opening address.

TOOK CLEVELAND PLAN.

"April 16, 1908," the judge began, "marked an epoch in the civic life of Jackson county. It was the date of the opening of the McCune Farm for Boys.

"To start with the officials had 100 acres of land and one small farmhouse and it was, and still is, the intention to follow the plan of the Cleveland authorities on their handling of their youngsters who have not adequate chances to build their lives upon a good home training. The Cleveland farm contains 285 acres of land, has seven cottages, a laundry, barns, gymnasium, carpenter shop, water, sewer and electric light systems. The feature of the home is that each cottage comprises facilities for fifteen to twenty boys and has a faculty consisting of a head master and head matron who have absolute charge of the boys.

"In comparison, we have eighty-two boys and three cottages, while Cleveland has 115 boys and seven cottages. The latter home is more complete, of course, but at the same time it is much older and without doubt Jackson county will have an institution just as good in a couple of years. Our condition is such now that I have often been compelled to send boys back to undesirable homes because of lack of room at the farm. Some have been paroled when they should not have been, but their places had to be given up to others who needed the training even worse than they.

PROUD OF RECORD.

"Since the home has been opened 183 boys have been sent here. eighty-two are now in attendance; eighty have been paroled, and not in a single instance, by the way, has any one of them been sent back; fourteen were sent to the reform school because they ran away from the farm, and only three out of this whole 183 have been guilty of other offenses bad enough in their nature to necessitate their being sent to the reformatory.

"Paroled boys are found good homes by Mrs. O'Dell, and she always has a good home ready for every boy who deserves it. These boys have the advantage of a splendid school, are taught useful work and enjoy baseball and other sports of which all boys are fond. In short, it is a character building institution.

"Prior to the advent of the court in 1902 all boys who had committed small offenses were compelled to go to the county jail where they were thrown in with the vilest of criminals and were really hardened by their confinement instead of being benefited as the officials intended they should be. Those boys possessing small criminal tendencies easily learned the worst, and I am glad that we have passed that stage now.

WERE MAKING CRIMINALS.

"It is not a misstatement of facts to say that the state was engaged in making criminals. The McCune farm makes citizens. The jail enforced idleness and ignorance, thereby making charges for the state. The McCune farm teaches industry and prepares for good citizenship.

"The only relief I know is to issue $100,000 or $200,000 worth of bonds and diminish the issue on public improvements, for it is easier to make a citizen than build cities. It is a matter of economy to improve this institution. The governor of Colorado said in a speech in 1904 that in eighteen months the juvenile court had saved the state $88,000. Seven hundred and seventeen boys were dealt with and only ten were sent to the reform school. Prior methods sent 75 per cent and in two years the state saved $200,000 in criminal court expenditures.

"As a financial proposition the farm will pay for itself in two years' time, and what is priceless and cannot be measured in money value is the good citizenship that the influences will stimulate.

LIKE FARM LIFE.

Judge McCune addressed the audience next and confined most of his remarks to the boys.

"How do you like the this place, boys?"

"Fine! Best ever!" they answered.

"Why were you sen here?" he asked.

"To have a good home," they replied.

"Like your teachers?"

"You bet. Every one of them."

"Of course you do," said Judge McCune. "Why, I even knew some of you fellows after you had run away to come back of your own accord and fall on your teachers' necks and say you were glad to get back home, and you kissed them, too, didn't you?"

Here the boys laughed heartily and ascented to the speaker's last remarks.

"It pleases me very much to see the interest shown at these ceremonies this afternoon by the large representation of public citizens, and I know that with their support this home for boys will be the best that money and effort can make."

Judge J. M. Patterson followed with a few remarks and declared that if the taxpayers would look into this matter and investigate, as their duties as citizens demanded they should do and aid the courts to the best of their ability, this McCune farm for boys would become a very great institution which other large cities would wisely pattern after, for the start now made is so well planned that only the money is all that is needed to perfect the young enterprise.

CORNERSTONE IS LAID.

The ceremony of laying the cornerstone for the new school house was then completed. In the box in the stone were deposited the annual report of the juvenile court, copies of the Kansas City daily papers and a report of the progression of the institution compiled by Judge Porterfield.

The new building is to be a six-room structure sufficiently large to accommodate 225 boys and is to cost $15,200. It is located 600 yards southwest of the main dormitory on a hill overlooking the old Lexington road and is surrounded by many beautiful shade trees.