The Temple Home at 304 E. 5th St. was built by Mr. and Mrs. T. L. L. Temple during the early days of Texarkana. Mrs. Temple died soon after the home was completed and here Mr. Temple raised his family of two sons and three daughters. During the spring of 1952, Texarkana recognized that there was a lack of resources available to the children recovering from polio and several of its’ prominent citizens took to action – among them was Mrs. Katherine Sage Temple. The Texarkana Society for Crippled Children was incorporated in June of 1952 and the idea to donate the family home as a convalescent home for crippled children was conceived by Mr. Temple’s daughters, Mrs. Newman Gregory, Mrs. Harry Munz and Mrs. George R. Payne. The Temple Home for Crippled Children, as it quickly became known, started seeing clients in the spring of 1953 providing occupational, physical and speech therapy.
The Temple family was instrumental not only in the formation of this organization but remained involved in various ways over the years. Katherine Temple remained on the board of directors and volunteered her time daily at the Center until her death in 1984. Many other members of the Temple family appear in the list of board members and supporters through the years – in 1964 Georgia Munz, Marguerite Temple Payne, Gertrude Gregory were listed as Honorary Life Directors. W. Temple Webber was instrumental in establishing the Temple Center Endowment Fund and the subsequent capital campaign in 1981 that is still in effect today helping to provide funds for the continued operation of the Center - his picture still hangs in the board room of the new building. It is impossible to separate the history of what is now known as the Temple Memorial Pediatric Center and the Temple family along with the T.L.L. Temple Foundation
The Temple Center, as most people in Texarkana still call it, has gone by a variety of names over the years. Starting with the Texarkana Society for Crippled Children, the Temple Home for Crippled Children, Easter Seal Society for Crippled Children and Adults of Bowie-Miller Counties, Texarkana Easter Seal Society, Temple Memorial Rehabilitation Center, Easter Seals East Texas, and finally Temple Memorial Pediatric Center. With all of these names over the years- some being not very politically correct- we have not wavered in our dedication to the health and welfare of the children we serve.
Providing therapy in a 3-story home proved to be a challenge but the Center remained in that location until 1979 when services were moved to a new state of the art building at 1315 Walnut Street. After 40 years in that location, the Temple Center was able to move to their current location at 1710 Moores Lane, having outgrown the building after expanding their services by adding the autism treatment program. Shortly after moving to the new location, the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020 and the Center was deemed an essential service and remained open to serve this fragile population. Over the next two years the demand for pediatric outpatient therapy and the ABA autism treatment program increased dramatically. The Center hired additional staff to keep up with the demand and struggled to find ample room for both treatment and office space. Recognizing the extreme need in the area, since there was only one other pediatric facility offering similar services, the Board of Directors voted to expand the building with an additional 2,240 square feet of treatment space. Construction began on the building addition in May 2022 and completed in October of 2022.
The main sources of revenue for Temple comes from the billing of the clients private insurance or Medicaid, perpetual distributions from the Sturgis Family Trust, The Beck Foundation, grants from the Wadley Foundation, United Way of Texarkana, earnings from the Temple Endowment fund, private donations, 3 to 4 fundraisers each year, and from the Keeler Grant Program through the T.L.L. Temple Foundation. These outside sources of income ensure that we continue to see clients regardless of their ability to pay. The Temple Center is currently serving the needs of more than 270 children and families. On a typical day, over 170 sessions of therapy are provided. There is a waiting list of over 60 kids for the ABA program, and there is a one to two month wait for an appointment in both occupational therapy and speech therapy. These numbers have doubled since 2019.