CWRU Links
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

WEST SIDE COMMUNITY HOUSE

WEST SIDE COMMUNITY HOUSE

The WEST SIDE COMMUNITY HOUSE, a settlement house serving Cleveland's near west side which opened in May 1922, has roots in the Methodist Episcopal Deaconness Home. The Women's Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church opened the home in Apr. 1890 (inc. Jan. 1892). Located at 1058 E. Madison Ave. (E. 79th St.), the home followed the deaconesses' purposes: "to minister to the poor, visit the sick, pray with the dying, care for the orphan, seek the wandering, comfort the sorrowing, and save the sinning." The home moved to 268 (later 1904) Woodland in 1895. In 1907 it offered mothers' meetings, a sewing school, and a "kitchengarden." On 16 Jan. 1904 the deaconesses opened the West Side Cottage at 78 Hicks St.; the cottage moved to 626 Pearl Rd.(2045 W. 25th St.) in 1905. Services soon included a day nursery, kindergarten, evening boys' clubs, and industrial and sewing classes. In 1908 the home purchased land on the northwest corner of Bridge Ave. and W. 30th St. (3000 Bridge Ave.), and the West Side Cottage moved there. All Deaconess Home facilities consolidated in 1922 in a new building on that site, named the West Side Community House.

With support from the Welfare Federation, the organization offered 26 classes for girls and 40 for boys, in AMERICANIZATION, English, and citizenship, as well as Christian education. Combined attendance reached 70,000 annually by 1927 and grew to 88,000 by 1934. During and after World War II, population shifted to lower-income Appalachian and Puerto Rican migrants. In 1944 the West Side Community House officially became nonsectarian and community-oriented, utilizing professional social workers; the first non-deaconness director was hired in 1946. Ties to the METHODISTS remained. In the 1990s, administered by an executive director and annually elected trustees from the community, the settlement offered programs which included daycare, youth and senior citizens' activities and hot meals to those in need. Dawn Kolograf served as executive director in 1995.


West Side Community House Records, WRHS.

See also METHODISTS, SETTLEMENT HOUSES.