By Mary Lou Egan
Although many things have changed during the last hundred years, the need for affordable, reliable, and nurturing child care remains constant. In the early years of the 20th century, families in the area could rely on the Globeville Day Nursery.
The center was a godsend at a time when families needed every member to contribute financially in order to survive. Women worked alongside men in the meatpacking plants, the box factory, and the sugar beet fields.
Ladies were employed at the American Biscuit Company on 18th Avenue and Blake Street, and the Lindquist Cracker Company on 35th Street and Walnut Street. Mothers toiled in the heat of commercial laundries and as maids in hotels or in the homes of wealthier families.
Although some had extended family to watch their young children while they were at work, many did not. In 1909, Garden Place teachers Annie Kelly and Luan Hanna recognized the situation and organized the Globeville Social Service Club at 4646 Sherman St.
Moving to 4414 Logan St. in 1913, it became known as the Globeville Day Nursery. The school’s faculty continued to be involved as teachers and board members throughout the life of the center.
According to the Nursery’s Annual Report for 1920, “For ten cents a day, children were given a nutritious hot lunch and a 3:00 p.m. snack of bread and jelly, and milk or fruit.” The children were “under the medical supervision of Dr. Robert S. Burket who visits each day.”
The center was managed for many years by Miss Mattie Parkhurst and was open six days a week. In addition to caring for children, the institution provided resources for immigrant women to adjust to their new environment. A mothers club met on the third Tuesday of each month to study “America, her needs and ideals,” and the English language.
The nursery received a lot of support from outside the neighborhood, with young ladies from Washington Park Congregational Church providing a Christmas celebration and the Needlework Guild making children’s clothing.
The wife of prominent Denver School board member Lucius F. Hallett paid for all of the milk used during the year, “which (meant) health and happiness to so many poor, underfed little mites of humanity, and a brighter outlook on life.”
Mothers-to-be were given layettes “for little ones expected and necessaries and comforts for themselves.” The nursery served its purpose until 1948, when it closed because of declining enrollment. The building is now a private residence.
Mary Lou Egan is a fourth-generation Coloradan who loves history. You can reach her at email@example.com.
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