Who we are
Since 1885, Ellis Memorial, Boston’s first settlement house, has been caring for children, youth, and frail, elderly or disabled adults who live and work in Boston’s South End and adjacent neighborhoods. We offer high quality educational, social and health support services to individuals and families in need within a safe, nurturing, and diverse environment.
Ellis Memorial’s core programs include:Early Education (infant, toddler and preschool), Youth Programs for elementary and middle school students during out of school time, Family Support Services, and an Adult Day Health Program. Our strong tradition of supporting working families has made us a leader in developing innovative solutions to meet the evolving needs of our community. Click here to learn more.
Ellis Memorial & Eldredge House was founded in 1885 as part of the Settlement House movement. Throughout its rich and varied history, Ellis Memorial has remained true to its mission of supporting low-income working families in the community. Today, Ellis Memorial is a multi-service non-profit with programs serving children, youth and the elderly at locations in Boston’s South End and Roxbury neighborhoods. The following timeline tracks some of the ways in which one settlement house adapted its services and structure to meet changing times and needs while staying true to its original mission of serving working families.
1900: The Ellis Memorial & Eldredge House incorporates, with by-laws adopted and officers elected. A house is purchased at 12 Carver Street (near the location of today’s Massachusetts Transportation building).
1910: Ellis Memorial & Eldredge House celebrates its 25th anniversary, and becomes a settlement house at Carver Street, with three resident workers.
1918: Eliot Wadsworth donates 243 acres of land and buildings to Ellis Memorial.
The first settlement house- sponsored camp for the elderly opens.
1924: Ellis Memorial purchases 66 Berkeley Street, still home to Ellis Memorial & Eldredge House today.
1937: Ellis Memorial becomes a member of the Federation of South End Settlements
1960: The first Annual Ellis Memorial Antiques show is held to help raise funds for Ellis to remain an independent organization. Ellis Memorial establishes a South End Girl Scout troop.
1978: Ellis Memorial establishes the Adult Day Health Program to aid elder and disabled individuals in living independently by providing medical, social support services, and programs.
1987: Ellis Memorial becomes an affiliate of the United Way.
1999: Ellis Memorial opens the Tent City School Age Program providing after-school academic support services.
2001: The Infant/Toddler program moves to 95 Berkeley Street and expands to serve 25 families. It is renamed the Mellon Early Learning Center. The Ellis ADHP moves to new and expanded space at 1 Chandler Street.
2003: Ellis Memorial collaborates with Madison Park Development and assumes operations of the after school program at Madison Park Village.
2010 – 2012: Ellis Memorial acquires and renovates a historic building at 58 Berkeley Street, and in September of 2012 opens a state-of-the-art Early Education Center, expanding its footprint in the South End and increasing programmatic capacity to 117 children aged 2 months to 5 years. The School-Age Programs at Madison Park and 66 Berkeley Street are now serving a total of 120 children a year.