The Hull House, its Co-Founders, and the Progressive Era
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Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr were the co-founders of the first settlement house in Chicago. This home, the Hull House, provided a plethora of amenities, clubs, and academic classes for poverty-stricken people in the city of Chicago. The Hull House operated for one hundred and twenty-two years; the house opened its doors in September of 1889 and just recently filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Despite the unfortunate ending, the Hull House was revolutionary in its time. According to Addams, the house was a success; the Hull House was an important addition to Chicago's economy and set the standard for a Progressive Era full of peaceful activism and influential reformation. Immigrants frequented the Hull House, they used the services the house offered to their advantage. Some examples would include medical aid, food assistance, English-language classes, and clubs for both children and adults. Addams and Starr enlightened the lives of impoverished immigrants that stepped through the doors of the Hull mansion. Despite the good the Hull House provided, there were a few Americans wary of the presence of the settlement house in urban Chicago. They questioned the co-founders' sanity and spread rumors. Regardless of these setbacks, Addams and Starr brought settlement houses to America, gained a platform for activism during the Progressive Era, and offered culture and opportunity to the urban population in Chicago. The co-founders devoted their lives to the Hull House; Addams resided in the mansion until her death in May of 1935. Both Addams and Starr reshaped the immigrant experience in Chicago during Progressive Era through the services they offered at the Hull House.