Settlement Houses of Cleveland


Settlement Houses of Cleveland


Ryan DePretis


The settlement house movement began in England in the late 1800's. These houses strived to educate the community, while trying to solve urban problems. Many settlement houses offered education classes, health care, and even served as a meeting place for the community.

The first settlement house to open in Cleveland was Hiram House. It was followed shortly afterwards by Alta House, Goodrich House (now called the Goodrich-Gannett Neighborhood Center), Merrick House, and the Friendly Inn Social Settlement. Each of these houses served a particular community in Cleveland. The Alta House served the Italians in Little Italy, while the East End House initially served the local Hungarian population at that time.

Settlement houses helped Clevelanders by not only bringing communities together, but by changing the community from within. Serving as a centerpiece for its neighborhood, the settlement house provided a local meeting spot for various groups and organizations. Some settlement houses, like Karamu House, founded in 1915 and dedicated to interracial theater and the arts, have achieved national renown. Settlement houses also offered vocational classes for the local workers, daycare for children, and worked with labor unions for better working standards in an effort to improve the lives of everyone in their respective communities.

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Cleveland Memory Project

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The Cleveland Memory Project is a freely searchable online collection of digital photos, texts, oral histories, videos and other local history resources, built by the Michael Schwartz Library at the Cleveland State University in collaboration with a host of community partners around Northeast Ohio.

Settlement Houses of Cleveland