Finances and Festivals
The first of the annual festivals, which continued for the next quarter century, took place in September 1945. The initial rationale for the festivals was the need for funds to maintain the aging buildings and grounds . Like other Houses of the Good Shepherd, Our Lady of the Woods " received some per diem money from the state for each girl admitted from the local court [and] money from the Community Chest...as charity providers. Families were asked to contribute financially on a sliding scale. The majority of the Good Shepherd schools supplemented their income by doing commercial laundry and sewing embroidered clothing. Rural facilities had gardens and small animal farms for provision of food. The girls in the facilities provided the manual labor as part of the re-education process. Each facility managed this workforce with slight variation according to the prosperity and socioeconomic climate of the community. Essentially, the labor supported the facility without formal wages for the workers. " (Phillips, N. (2008). Education for girls in the House of the Good Shepherd in the United States, 1940 to 1980. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH, 21)
Joseph H. Albers, a member of the Board of Directors and a local car dealer, co-chaired the Festival Planning Committee with Justin A. Rollman. The considerable efforts of Albers, Rollman, and other civic leaders to publicize the first festival in the local press and in brochures touting the positive effects of the programs at Girls' Town were highly successful, with attendance estimated at 60,000.
Inspired by Boys Town, Albers and Rollman were huge boosters of expanding Girls' Town's services and physical facilities. Local newspaper articles reported various ambitious plans. For example, a 1946 article said, "A program is being launched to make 'Girls' Town' rival 'Boys' Town,' Nebr. A model village, with new buildings, street, and even a weekly newspaper is envisioned, Albers said." ("Sophie Tucker Planning to Join Sunday Throng at Girls' Town Festival," Cincinnati Enquirer, July 12, 1946, 10:8.) In a 1947 speech, Rollman described "the proposed expansion of Our Lady of the Woods School--'Girls' Town'--at the Provincial Convent of the Good Shepherd, Carthage, [which] would include rasing [sic] the present old buildings and erecting modern ones at a cost of $2,000,000. The result would be a model village, with a postoffice, newspaper, city hall and streets named in honor of philanthropists who have aided the growth of 'Girls' Town.'" ("Rollman Urges the Rebuilding of Girls' Town Housing," Cincinnati Times-Star, December 9. 1947, 2) In 1948: "Receipts from the fete are expected to add materially to the Girls Town building expansion fund, the goal of which is $100,000. New buildings planned at the institution include a $50,000 school, a theater, newspaper plant, a swimming pool and a town hall in addition to street construction. ("Cincinnati Officialdom to Aid Girls Town," Cincinnati Enquirer, July 6, 1948, 8.) And in 1950: "Plans for a national campaign to raise several million dollars for a building and rehabilitation program at Girls Town of American...was announced Friday...the nucleus for the program will be provided by annual festivals similar to the 1950 festival to be held July 9...The bulk of the money, however, is to be obtained through a drive for "honorary citizens" and endowments from philanthropists. ("National Campaign for Girls Town Set," Cincinnati Post, June 6, 1950, 13.)