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NYC – Settlement Houses

This Blog is designed to add to your knowledge of NYC.

Also, it may encourage you to look up during your next walk.

As I have traveled around New York City, I have noticed several older buildings that are labeled “Settlement Houses.” Most of them seem empty or in need of repair. Walking along the Manhattan side of the East River, I spotted a building that had a concrete sign – East Side Settlement House. The building looked like a typical brownstone – I wondered what is a settlement house?

East Side Settlement House

Settlement houses were important reform institutions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Most were large buildings in crowded immigrant neighborhoods of industrial cities, where settlement workers provided services for neighbors and sought to remedy poverty.

East Side House was founded in 1891 as a settlement house on the Upper East Side.  During this time this area was home to many immigrants. However, because of population shifts the program is now located in the Bronx. A neighbor to this building told me that this building had a gymnasium, an auditorium and meeting halls, as well as living space and communal dining facilities for a dozen or more residents.

Most of the programs in these older buildings have moved to a different location and into more modern buildings. However, when you come across an older building, look up, you may find a building that has a story to tell.

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