The Barbara Givernaud Cottage
Many former reisdents still have vivid memories of their early childhood stay in the Barbara Givenaud Cottage. The Village was built to replace three orphanages operated by the Sisters of St. Joseph: St. Joseph's Home for Boys at Englewood Cliffs; St. Joseph's Home for Girls in Jersey City; and the Barbara Givernaud Orphanage in North Bergen. It may take additional time for all pictures on this page to load.
At the Village, the Givernaud boys and girls lived in one building, but at each end of the cottage.
Everything has changed from what we remember! Instead of our kindergarten, it now reminds us of high school. That's because it is now a high school for autistic teens called the Washington School Program and the "New Bridges Program." Lockers line the halls, the colors are more institutional, and new windows replace the ones that used to view into the three playrooms on the left.
Outside the three playrooms was a large black toped play area.
Today the blacktop is a staff parking lot for the high school and has been enlarged and connected to the road beside the maintenance building. The bed and crib rooms were along the back wings of the building with the girls on the left and the boys on the right. Two of the three playroom wings can be seen to the right.
Another room in the Givernaud Cottage now serves as a small cafeteria for the high school teens.
In Catholic environments, harsh and often cruel punishments for even the slightest infraction were commonplace. Here, two former Village residents demonstrate the pose: Stand erect for long periods before the statue of the Blessed Mother. No talking! Hands out to your sides like this! Head looking up at her face! And pray for forgiveness!
But life in the Village and here in the Givernaud Cottage also had its happier moments filled with laughter and play.
The three playrooms are now used as classrooms for small group individualized instruction.
One could hardly imagine that this room is where they once played with an abundance of toys and other children. Looking closely at the today picture you can see the that the orange brick of the left wall is below a coat of white paint. View this picture long enough to see it animate.
Special education classrooms now occupy the former bed and crib rooms, this one on the boys side.
The rooms are still visible through the observation windows along the hallway.
This is a bathroom on the boy's wing of the Givernaud Cottage. A door which once lead to the tub room is closed over where you can see that the tile pattern does not line up. The tub room itself is now part of another room. Notice how low the pipes come out from the wall under the sinks -- there is a reason. These are the old sinks but were raised from their original children's height using white PVC extensions on the drain pipes.
New adult size urinals replace the original ones in the boys room. Notice new floor and wall tile where the floor was ripped up to make the change. Key operated light switches were throughout the buildings but that did not stop even the Givernaud kids from discovering that a bent paperclip did the job.
A new entrance on the boy's side of the building was made for the New Bridges Program.
This is the back side of the Givenaud Cottage.
Continuing down the main corridor we come to the Gymnasium Building.