This building was constructed in 1869 as a dormitory for "The National Homestead at Gettysburg," a school for soldiers' orphans established in 1866 in the brick building to your right. Among its first students were Alice, Frank and Frederick Humiston, the children of Sergeant Amos Humiston of the 154th New York Volunteers, killed at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863. The Sergeant's identity was unknown when his body was discovered with a photograph of his children clutched in his hands. The wide distribution of this photograph led to Humiston's identification by his widow Philinda, and to a national outpouring of sympathy and donations for the "Children of the Battlefield." Mrs. Humiston became the first matron, and some 200 students attended before the school closed in 1877.
On July 1, 1993 a memorial to the Humistons was dedicated on the grounds of the Gettysburg Fire Department on North Stratton Street.