Table of Contents
Archives and Special Collections Finding Aids
|Title:||United South End Settlements
|Dates:||1891-2010 (bulk 1980-2005)
In 1960, four settlement houses and a children's museum located in the South End
of Boston merged to form the United South End Settlements. The history of these
settlement houses dates back to 1891 when William J. Tucker, a professor at Andover
Theological Seminary, established a men's residence called Andover House. The
Headworker of Andover House was Robert Archey Woods, who changed its name to the
South End House in 1895. The South End House was the first settlement house in
Boston and the fourth one in the United States. Other settlement houses soon
followed in the South End, among them were the Lincoln House in 1892, Hale House in
1895, and the Harriet Tubman House in 1904. The Children's Art Centre, which
opened in 1918, evolved from meetings of the Museum Settlement Association.
These early settlement houses focused on improving housing, public health, and
sanitation, developing day care programs that included medical care for children,
and creating mental health programs. Settlement house residents established milk
stations, public baths, dispensaries, and services, such as emergency loan and stamp
savings programs. Recreational, educational, and cultural efforts included providing
summer camp opportunities for South End children and building playgrounds. Nurseries
were started as were specialized schools for industrial, vocational, and employment
training for both women and men. Free concerts, art exhibitions, reading rooms, and
a variety of social, drama, and literary clubs were also introduced into the
neighborhood for people of all ages. In addition, these settlement houses worked to
extend and develop cooperative programs with local organizations, including the
Children's Aid Society, the Women's Educational and Industrial Union, the
Massachusetts Civic League, and various trade unions.
In 1950, six settlement houses (South End, Lincoln, Hale, Harriet Tubman, Ellis
Memorial and Eldridge) and the Children's Art Centre became the Federation of
South End Settlements. The decision to federate was made as a result of the findings
of United Community Services-Greater Boston Survey, which concluded that funding and
other resources would go further if they were shared. The South End House acted as
federation headquarters, and it continued as a residence for both staff and
students. By the mid 1950's, programs and services included summer camps, an
older adult program, and counseling and referrals for new immigrants. English and
Spanish classes were also offered. The mid 1950s, however, was a turning point for
the South End. The City of Boston had begun its massive urban renewal project in the
neighborhood, which included the destruction of Hale House. Subsequently, urban
renewal became the foundation of all long range planning, while existing programs
were integrated throughout the remaining houses.
In January of 1960, four of the six settlement houses, with Ellis Memorial and
Eldridge opting out, incorporated into the United South End Settlements under the
provisions of a Massachusetts legislative act. At the end of 1959, the Boston
Redevelopment Authority had announced its plans to raze the Castle Square area,
where Lincoln House was located, and to relocate the 644 resident families and
individuals out of the area, presenting United South End Settlements with its first
challenge. Between 1962 and 1963, United South End Settlements organized meetings
with community members and successfully relocated 90 percent of Castle Square
residents to safe, standard housing, assisting some in purchasing of their first
In 1964, the South End community successfully challenged the Boston Redevelopment
Authority's plan for the Castle Square area. Boston Redevelopment
Authority's initial proposal allotted only one-third of the area for residential
use. With the help of United South End Settlements, residents pressured the Boston
Redevelopment Authority to double that amount. The second redevelopment plan created
540 units of low-cost housing, including 90 for the elderly. The defeat of the
Boston Redevelopment Authority's urban renewal plan was only one example of the
increased community activism of South End residents during that time. Between 1959
and 1964, United South End Settlements played an integral role in developing a wide
variety of neighborhood associations, including the South End Rehabilitation and
Since its inception, United South End Settlements has been an active participant in
the redevelopment and rehabilitation of the South End, taking part in all phases of
the process from planning to execution. In the early 1960s, United South End
Settlements crafted a long-range plan for developing the area that articulated
short-and long-range goals for the neighborhood. This led to the formation of a new
organization, Action for Boston Community Development, which was created
specifically to address the social aspects of urban renewal. In 1964, United South
End Settlements was awarded a federal grant to develop more effective ways to
provide low-income housing. That same year United South End Settlements helped form
South End Community Development, Inc., a non-profit corporation created specifically
to acquire and develop low-cost housing. By 1966, United South End Settlements was
handling all relocation for South End urban renewal.
Prior to 1975, programs and services were administered from several different
locations throughout the South End: the Cathedral Housing Project, 48 Rutland Street
(South End House), 20 Union Park, and Hale House, but once United South End
Settlements incorporated, plans to create a central facility began to evolve. In
1975, the New Harriet Tubman House opened as the headquarters of United South End
Settlements and the Older Adult Program. The building, however, was also designed to
function as a community center and an art gallery, and it houses the Harriet Tubman
Resource Center, which contained books, correspondence, articles, and audio visual
material about the life of Harriet Tubman. The Gallery displays artwork by
minorities and features multi-media presentations. Artists such as, Allan Crite,
Paul Goodnight, Lou Jones, and Anne McQueen have exhibited at the Harriet Tubman
Gallery. Artwork produced by students in the Children's Art Centre and students
in the Teen Portfolio class have also been exhibited.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, United South End Settlements also developed new
programs and services including the Furniture Store, where South End residents could
buy used furniture and house hold items; the Community Services Center, which
offered a wide variety of services to families, such as home management and budget
counseling; and the Chinese Youth Services Program, which focused on the needs of
newly arrived immigrants, such as family and individual counseling, and educational
and cultural workshops. Programs and services offered to adults were career
counseling, vocational workshops, and employment training. Children, youth, and
young adult programming included the Cooperative Economic Development Youth Program
featuring training; education and career orientation; residential and day camps for
both boys and girls; day care and after school programs; classes at Children's
Art Centre; and a food service training program. The Local Development of the South
End, Inc. was established to assist minorities with small business startup, and the
Neighborhood Revitalization / Economic Development Program instituted a revolving
loan equity fund for businesses in the South End and Lower Roxbury. The Older Adult
Program, with its component Mobile Services Unit, assured that seniors and shut-ins
had access to transportation, hot lunches, and recreational and social activities.
In addition to these programs, United South End Settlements also created the Manpower
Advocacy Program, which sponsored legislation to improve the status of the
under-employed and worked with the Massachusetts Bay Transit Association to increase
transportation and to improve working conditions by signing Boston's first
affirmative action program. United South End Settlements also provided services to
the Cathedral Housing Development, including the Family Life Education and
Counseling Program where staff assisted in organizing tenants, offered counseling to
families and individuals, made home visits, and worked with high school students on
desegregation issues. In addition, the Cathedral Security Program was initiated to
improve the resident's quality of life by reducing crime through
police-community cooperation, improved safety measures, and education.
Programs developed in the 1980s and 1990s focused on employment training and
education, vocational education, adult literacy, computer literacy, and cultural
enrichment. In 1983, United South End Settlements created the Employment, Training,
and Education Department to help adults acquire the skills to enable them to compete
in the work force. Programs included GED preparation, adult basic education, and
employment training. Along with math, reading, and writing, cultural offerings and
prevocational workshops were part of the curriculum. The Computer Clubhouse,
organized in 1995, offered classes in computer design, programming, technological
invention. Cultural programming consisted of art exhibits and performing artists
shows at the Harriet Tubman Gallery and classes in the Children's Art Centre.
Teen programs included summer internships in Boston's museums and theaters,
providing teens with opportunities to explore the arts. The Teen Portfolio program
helped students to develop art portfolios and to apply to art schools.
Through the Housing and Neighborhood Development Program, United South End
Settlements continued to provide affordable housing and hold classes in tenant
rights education. Senior Home Repair helped homeowners keep their property well
maintained, and the Housing Counseling Program matched tenants with affordable
housing and encouraged homeownership. United South End Settlements continued to
provide child care through its Family Support Program, which offered preschool
classes, such as recreational, art and cultural, and music. After school activities
included arts, occupational therapy, and tutoring. The Family Support Program also
featured a summer day camp program for both boys and girls.
In 1988, a consultant's report on the Youth Resource Center indicated that United
South End Settlements needed a more family-oriented service delivery approach. The
report was the impetus behind the plans for a Family and Children's Center.
Severe cutbacks in public contracts and staff reductions, however, made it
impossible for United South End Settlements to build the Center. In 1990, the Family
and Children's Center Committee was organized instead to examine the ways in
which United South End Settlements could improve its service delivery. In 1992, the
report Toward A New Definition of United South End Settlements was released,
suggesting that United South End Settlements should involve clients, staff, and
board in the decision-making process thereby redefining its role as a service
provider. Another recommendation was for United South End Settlements to reconnect
with the South End and Lower Roxbury neighborhoods by reaching out to the community
and being more open to community involvement. Beginning in 1993, United South End
Settlements began the work of reshaping and redefining itself into a more
family-oriented rather than a service oriented organization - one that would meet
the challenges of the 21st century.
The 2000's saw new programs and new collaborations at United South End
Settlements. The Arts Incentive Program (AIP) found a new home at USES in 2003 after
its founding at McLean Hospital in 1996. AIP was a clinically informed, arts-based,
youth and community development program working with high-risk girls ages eleven to
nineteen. The program aimed to help young people be successful in all areas of their
lives through skill-building in the arts, arts-based mentorship, art-making,
performance, and exhibition of their work.
In 2009, through partnerships with the Boston Public Schools' Boston Family
Engagement Network and Thrive in 5, United South End Settlements began serving as
the hub agency for family engagement and school-readiness in the South End and Lower
Roxbury. The Thrive in 5 program focuses on family engagement through parent
leadership, improving quality in early education and care, and empowering families,
organizations and communities through child development data.
In 2015, United South End Settlements offers a broad spectrum of programs and
services to South End / Lower Roxbury residents of all ages. At the South End Center
for Adult Education, classes from business to sewing and events, such as book
discussions, author talks, and workshops are offered. Technology education and free
computer access are available at the Timothy Smith Computer Learning Center. Art
instruction at the Children's Art Centre reflects the Boston Public Schools'
curriculum standards in the visual and performing arts through a wide variety of
programs, including pre and after-school arts programs, classes for children and
families, and the Teen Portfolio program. United South End Settlements' Senior
Services Program (formerly the Older Adults Program) offers senior home repair,
benefits advocacy, and hot lunch programs together with social and recreational
activities including jazzercise, computer classes, and special field trip. Camp Hale
continues to offer boys the experience of living outdoors for two weeks during the
summer and other summer camp programs are as varied as computer camp and day camp
for both boys and girls.
|1891||Men's residence on 6 Rollins Street in the South End is founded by
Prof. William J. Tucker.
|1892||Andover House opens on 6 Rollins Street with Robert Woods as Head
Resident.Lincoln House begins as the "Lincoln Club", a club for boys located
in various South End buildings.
|1895||Andover House changes its name to South End House.Hale House opens in the
|1897 ||South End House incorporates.
|1899 ||South End Social Union is formed to coordinate services in the South
|1900||Camp Hale property is donated.South End Social Union opens and brings
together 10 other community agencies for cooperative action. This is the
first such organization in the United States.
|1901 ||South End House moves to 20 Union Park.Camp Hale for boys opens.
|1904||Harriet Tubman House opens at 25 Holyoke Street.Model rooming house opens
at 34 Rutland Street.
|1905||First inter-racial gatherings in Boston began in the South End as a
result of studies done by residents of South End House.
|1906||Harriet Tubman house is incorporated.
|1908 ||South Bay Union opens on 611 Harrison Avenue.Boston Social Union, a
federation of 16 settlements and neighborhood centers in the South End, the
North End, and the West End, is organized.
|1910||South End House helps to create the South End Music School.
|1913||Well Baby Clinic is established at South Bay Union.Women's residence
opens on 47 East Canton Street.
|1915 ||South End House co-sponsors the first Montessori School in Boston.First
meeting of the Settlements Museum Association is held.
|1917 ||Settlements Museum Association leases building from the South End.Music
School opens on 36 Rutland Street.
|1918||Children's Art Centre opens.48 Rutland Street becomes home to
programs for the elderly and a nursery school.
|1920||East Canton Street Women's Residence closes. Residents move to 40
West Newton Street.Harriet Tubman House opens new residence at 27 Holyoke
|1925 ||40 West Newton Street residence closes. 20 Union Park opens to both men
and women. 24 Union Park is purchased.
|1927||Hale and Lincoln houses form partial merger.
|1930||48 Rutland Street is purchased.South End Joint Planning Council is
|1934||Housing exhibition is held on 48 Rutland Street.Housing Consultation
Bureau is established to give advice on rehabilitation efforts.
|1941||Harriet Tubman House opens a nursery school, so mothers can join the
|1949 ||Greater Boston Community Survey publishes its two-year survey of
settlement houses in the South End.The Children's Art Center, Ellis
Memorial, and the Hale, Lincoln, South End, and Harriet Tubman houses form
the South End Area Planning Group to study the survey.Construction on first
public housing development begins in South End.
|1951||The Children's Art Center, Ellis Memorial, and the Hale Lincoln,
South End, and Harriet Tubman houses merge to become the Federation of South
|1954 ||City of Boston launches citywide Neighborhood Rehabilitation and
Conservation Program, which introduces the concept of urban renewal.Ellis
Memorial withdraws from federation.Hale House is demolished.South End
Planning Council and the South End Rehabilitation and Conservation Committee
|1958 ||The South End Rehabilitation and Conservation Committee begins developing
long range urban renewal master plan for South End.
|1959 ||Boston Redevelopment Authority announces plan to demolish Castle Square
area where Lincoln House is located.Federation of South End Settlements
facilitates community meetings to learn about the Boston Redevelopment
|1960 ||Federation of South End Settlements incorporates and becomes United South
EndSettlements United South End Settlements.United South End Settlements and
the Boston Housing Authority establish the Community Services Center.Lincoln
House closes due to urban renewal.South End Renewal Committee is
|1961||United South End Settlements begins its Community Organizing Department
with the Boston Housing Authority and the University of Massachusetts /
Boston.South End Urban Renewal Committee is organized. Stone Library opens
at 20 Union Park.
|1962 ||United South End Settlements contracts with the Boston Redevelopment
Authority to relocate 644 families in the Castle Square area.
|1963||Lincoln House is acquired by the Boston Redevelopment Authority to become
Castle Square relocation office. United South End Settlements oversees
operation. The Youth Opportunity Center opens at 48 Rutland Street.
|1964 ||United South End Settlements Executive Director Charles Liddell and other
community leaders begin Action for Boston Community Development to address
social dimensions of urban renewal.South End Community Development is formed
for the purpose of acquiring, rehabilitating, and making available
affordable housing.O'Day Playground opens.South End Urban Renewal
Committee is formed and staffed by United South End Settlements.Shawmut
Neighborhood Center, the first multi-service center in Boston, is
|1965 ||City of Boston approves the Boston Redevelopment Authority's South
End Urban Renewal Plan.
|1966 ||United South End Settlements establishes five urban renewal service
programs.United South End Settlements named by Boston Redevelopment
Authority to facilitate South End relocation services.
|1967||South End House resident program ends.United South End Settlements
promotes construction of new affordable housing in South End. Tenant
Development Council is created.
|1968||Boston Housing Authority announces it will stop tearing down homes in the
South End.Sit down strike lead by the Community Assembly for a United South
End is held at 20 Union Park. Protesters demand United South End Settlements
cease relocating residents for the Boston Redevelopment Authority. United
South End Settlements does not renew contract.Emergency Tenant's Council
of Parcel 19, Inc. is named sponsor-developer of Parcel 19 in the South End
by the Boston Redevelopment Authority.
|1969 ||United South End Settlements begins building program in which five of its
six centers will be torn down and replaced with three new centers.
|1971 ||Construction begins for new Harriet Tubman House.United South End
Settlements establishes the Furniture Store.Local Development of the South
End, Inc. is organized.Southwest Corridor Highway is opposed by South End
|1973||Local Development of South End, Inc. is formalized.
|1974 ||United South End Settlements Board of Directors votes to support Judge
Garrity's decision to desegregate Boston schools.
|1975||The new Harriet Tubman House is completed and becomes United South End
Settlements' headquarters.Chinese Youth Essential Services program
|1976 ||United South End Settlements' Manpower Advocacy Staff is first to
sign affirmative action program in Boston.
|1977 ||The old Harriet Tubman house is sold.
|1979 ||The Harriet Tubman Gallery opens.
|1983||United South End Settlements' staff develops 80 units of subsidized
housing on East Canton Street.
|1985||United South End Settlements and the South End Neighborhood Action
Program ensure that two-thirds of new housing in the South End is allocated
to low and moderate income families.
|1990||United South End Settlements begins plans to develop the Family and
|1992 ||United South End Settlements celebrates centennial anniversary.
|1993||Children's Art Centre closes.United South End Settlements begins
strategic plan to become a 21st century settlement house.
|1998 ||Children's Art Centre reopens.
|2001||Camp Hale celebrates 100th anniversary.
|2009||Through partnerships with the Boston Public Schools' Boston Family
Engagement Network and Thrive in 5, United South End Settlements begins
serving as the hub agency for family engagement and school-readiness in the
South End and Lower Roxbury.
|Chronologyof Executive Staff
|1950-1957||Charles Ernst, Executive Director, Federation of South End
|1957-1960||Charles Liddell, Executive Director, Federation of South End
|1960-1967||Charles Liddell, Executive Director, United South End Settlements
|1967-1981||Kenneth Brown, Executive Director
|1981-2001||Frieda Garcia, Executive Director; Samia Hakim, Executive
|1982-1986||Robert Thornell, Deputy Director
|1989-1992||Kenneth Wade, Deputy Director of Programs
|1989-1992||Kevin Hepner, Deputy Director of Administration
|Jun 2001||Kevin Hepner, Vice President for Administration and Finance
|2001- Jul 2003||Sandra Furey Gaither, Executive Director
|Jul 2003-Feb 2004||Ashley McCumber, Interim President
|Mar 2004-Dec 2007||Ashley McCumber, President / CEO
|Jan 2008- Jun 2014||Kevin Hepner, President / CEO
|Feb 2015-||Maicharia Z. Weir Lytle, President / CEO
Albert Boer, The Development of USES: a Chronology of the South End Settlements,
1891-1966. (Box 64).
Board of Directors Minutes (Boxes 2-6).
Lucy Knight, United South End Settlements Timeline, 1957-1981 (Box 24, Folder
Lisa S. Fliegel, 'I Love Ballet:' Arts Incentives for Adolescent Health
and Community Development. New Directions for Youth Development 106 (2005): 49-60.
Accessed June 19, 2015. doi: 10.1002/yd.118
South End Historical Society Newsletter, vol. 30, no. 1, 1997 (Box 25).
United South End Settlements, website, http://www.uses.org. Accessed June,