The University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Add...

The University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams Hull-House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Twenty Years at Hull-House by Jane Addams. Jane Addams founded Hull-House in 1892 as a settlement house to help the poor on Chicago’s near west-side between the Chicago river and the stockyards in an area populated by mostly poor, recent immigrants. A settlement house was an effort by private charity to provide services to the poor that were not furnished by government. Community organizers like Saul Alinsky and Barack Obama are a more recent development, not associated with settlement house-like buildings, although with similar goals.

“One of the first lessons we learned at Hull-House was that private beneficence is totally inadequate to deal with the vast numbers of the city’s disinherited.”

“Perhaps even in those first days we made a beginning toward that object which was afterward stated in our charter: ‘To provide a center for a higher civic and social life; to institute and maintain educational and philanthropic enterprises, and to investigate and improve the conditions in the industrial districts of Chicago.'”

Jane Addams was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On a personal note, I commuted daily to work near the Stockyards from my home in Elmhurst via the Eisenhower and Dan Ryan Expressways. Hull-House at 800 South Halstead Street is a short distance from the interchange where those two expressways join. If I had known how close I was, I would have stopped and visited the Hull-House Museum on the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois.