History of Settlement Houses on MinneCulture

Some called it Americanization (a good thing at the time), and some called it social engineering or control (always controversial). Today Settlement Houses are celebrating the milestone 100th anniversary of Jane Addams’ biography--the patron of Chicago’s Hull House, and one among many great advocates of the East End London-born movement of 1880.

In Part I of this series, producer Andy Driscoll looks at the first two of four major community centers in Minneapolis and St. Paul--called Settlement Houses. Here, well-heeled families bought buildings, lived in poor neighborhoods, and served their neighbors and new Americans, providing opportunities to eat, play, gather, and learn how to be citizens, homemakers, and English-speakers, while preserving tradition, language and culture.

Andy speaks with key movers at Minneapolis’ Pillsbury United Communities (which combined Pillsbury House, Waite House and Unity House in Cedar-Riverside, South Minneapolis and North Minneapolis), and at St. Paul’s Hallie Q. Brown Community Center.

Part II features leaders at two other historic settlements: the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center (the Minneapolis counterpart to Hallie Q. Brown), and the long-lasting Neighborhood House, which started serving St. Pauls’ Russian Jews in the 1880s, became a Mexican centerpiece, and evolved into a durable community center serving all new Americans on St. Paul’s West Side.

History of Settlement Houses
Produced by Andy Driscoll
Part I airs Mon, Sept 13
Part II airs Wed, Sept 15


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