Since 1937 this has been the campus of the Jenkins Orphanage, established in Charleston in 1891 by Rev. Daniel Joseph Jenkins (1862-1937). Jenkins, a Baptist minister, founded this orphanage for African American children with aid from the city. Housed in the old Marine Hospital on Franklin Street downtown 1891-1937, it also included an institute to teach and train children between the ages of 3 and 20. More than 500 lived there by 1896.
The Jenkins Orphanage Band played concerts across the U.S. and Europe for more than 30 years to help fund the orphanage. The band, taught by Hatsie Logan and Eugene Mikell, is prominent in the early history of jazz; alumni Cat Anderson, Freddie Green, and Jabbo Smith played for Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and others. The orphanage moved here in 1937, and its offices and dorms were built by the City of Charleston. Those historic buildings burned in the 1980s.