The FRIENDLY INN SOCIAL SETTLEMENT, founded in 1874 to offer slum residents a liquor-free gathering place, evolved into one of the city's first SETTLEMENT HOUSES. WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION (WCTU) members established 3 Friendly Inns in Cleveland: at 634 St. Clair St., 34 River (W. 11th) St., and 71 Central Place. By 1876 the Central Place Friendly Inn became the main branch. By 1880 there were 5 inns throughout Cleveland. In 1888 managers consolidated services in a new building at the corner of Broadway and Ohio streets (522 Central Ave.). The Inn served recent immigrants with playgrounds and kindergartens, clubs for mothers, bathing facilities for men, and vocational training for boys. By 1907 a dispensary had been added. Each nationality had its own department, headed by someone who spoke the native language. The WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION, NON-PARTISAN, managed the Friendly Inn from the 1880s until 1926, when it became the WOMEN'S PHILANTHROPIC UNION. Endowment from the union has been a continual source or revenue, supplemented later by United Way funds and private donations.
In 1924 the Friendly Inn relocated to 3754 Woodland Ave. By this time more than a third of its clients were AFRICAN AMERICANS. Attendance grew from more than 140,000 (1925) to 222,858 (1935). Due to urban redevelopment, the Friendly Inn moved in 1954 to the Carver Park Estates community center, 2382 Unwin Rd, becoming the Central Friendly Inn. Through the years, the Inn added a resident summer camp (by 1925), day camps (1957), boys' clubs and athletic teams (by 1957) and a golden-age club (by 1962). In the mid-1960s, the Friendly Inn addressed urban problems by offering Head Start, vocational rehabilitation, and housekeeping classes. In 1995 the Inn continues to provide meeting places for community groups and to offer programs oriented toward health and family services for all ages.
Friendly Inn Social Settlement Records, WRHS.