Facebook Twitter



The history of Neighborhood House is well-documented in a series of minutes of board meetings taken in the flowery, if sometime illegible, handwriting of generations of devout volunteers.

Since she is working on a master's degree in history and is a current member of the board of trustees of Neighborhood House, Nancy Cornell offered to research the minutes and anything else she could find pertaining to Neighborhood House history. She collected much of the information that follows.Her fellow board members are now hoping Cornell will study Emma McVickers, the founder of Neighborhood House. Little is known of McVickers before she came to Utah, and the women are hoping for a romantic past, possibly including Emma being an orphan before she came West to teach school, fall in love with a wealthy man, set up a kindergarten for poor children and go on to become one of the community's most well-respected women.

1894 - A determined group of women volunteers establish what would become Salt Lake City's original child-care program. It comes to be known as Neighborhood House.

1894-1910 - The kindergarten moves from the Odd Fellows Hall to the 13th Ward Annex, then to a building opposite Pioneer Park, to the Irving School, to the Unitarian Church and then to a small house on West First South.

1910 - A committee is formed to find a permanent home for theday nursery and kindergarten, which are now serving more than 40 children a day, as well as becoming a site for many community programs. Social workers and the board of trustees begin canvassing, holding tea parties, putting on theatricals, doing everything they can think of to raise money.

1911 - The association purchases a home at 753 W. 100 South, for $1,800.

1912 - The Board of Education takes over the supervision of the kindergarten, which becomes, eventually, a part of Franklin School.

1913-mid 1970s - Neighborhood House is a line item in the budget of the Utah Legislature.

1914-1916 - Day nursery use increases. The charge is 10 cents a day for those who can afford it. Others are not charged.

1919 - The Board of Health opens a baby clinic at Neighborhood House.

The library - which has expanded under the direction of Anna Hoock to contain more than 1,400 volumes and include a books for shut-ins program, and a Saturday morning story hour - becomes a branch of the Salt Lake City Public Library.

Special events for the children this year include visits to the circus and stockings full of candy at the annual Christmas party.

1924 - Space is once again inadequate. Fund-raising begins.

The Kiwanis Club begins a Christmas tradition that still continues: decorating the house and a tree for the annual party.

1928 - The new Neighborhood House opens at 727 W. 100 South. The three-story building has locker rooms, showers and coat rooms and a baby fire escape in the form of a "chute the chutes."

1935 - Funds left as a bequest from Mrs. Emma DuMars are used to open a dental clinic, which will offer free or inexpensive dental care to the community for the next 50 years.

1937 - The Golden Agers social group for women over 65 is formed and will continue for nearly 50 years. The quilting and sewing groups formed at the Neighborhood House inception will continue to meet into the 1980s.

1940 - Attendance in the day nursery and other programs for children increase by at least one-third as World War II sends mothers to work outside the home.

1944 - In honor of the golden anniversary, Neighborhood House introduces "Wednesday Community Night for everyone from grandfather to junior with singing dancing, games, sketches and movies."

1946 - Prominent Utah artist Florence Ware decorates the nursery room with murals of nursery rhyme scenes.

1953 - With the construction of an outdoor fireplace and new group work kitchen, many more social events, including wedding receptions, are held at Neighborhood House. Junior high school boys enjoy their "stag dinners." Woodworking classes are as popular as ever. Students from various nursing programs do internships working with children at Neighborhood House.

1958 - The building has been condemned by the Utah State Road Commission for the construction of the freeway. Plans are drawn up for a new building at 1050 W. 500 South, within walking distance of Franklin Elementary. In addition to nursery rooms, the new building has a large multipurpose room, a craft room for senior citizens, and dental and well-baby clinics.

1962 - Florence Ware paints more murals for the new building.

1966 - Neighborhood House is operating at full capacity with 188 average daily attendance in the nursery and day care and 155 youngsters in the summer camps. The board of trustees votes to add a new wing.

1970s - Counseling and tutoring programs are initiated.

1978 - Neighborhood House expands to offer senior day care for the frail elderly and Alzheimer's patients. Today there are Neighborhood House senior care centers at three different sites throughout the valley.

1980s - Summer recreation programs expand into more challenging activities. Senior day care teachers begin support groups for those who are caring for the elderly.

1993 - More than 200 children are at day care. Children from nine different schools come to after-school care and summer camp.


Additional Information

Centennial Carnival

Saturday, June 18, 1994 2:00 until 6:00 p.m. 1050 W. 500 South

Neighborhood house is celebrating 100 years of service to families in Salt Lake City. Join the staff and trustees in remembering the founders who opened a free public kindergarten for underprivileged children in 1894, and in honoring all others whose efforts made Neighborhood Housae possible.