Urbanization, immigration, and industrialization transformed New York City’s economy between 1890 and 1920, making poverty more prevalent among the working class while at the same time creating enormous wealth for some.
Efforts to alleviate the effects of poverty among working-class and poor families through direct action and government reform become known as “progressivism.”
March 12, 1907 — West 28th St. Storm water poured from the ceiling of the basement apartment and down its plaster walls, soaking the family’s meager bed, dresser, and table before coming to rest in deep, dirty puddles on the floor. Maria Gordon’s family—her nine-year-old niece, Edith, and six month-old foster child, Perry—had nowhere to sleep, and the workspace where Maria laundered clothes for her clients was unusable.
This map shows the original locations of several settlement houses in the poorest neighborhoods of New York at the time. Settlements were important service providers in these communities and catalysts for Progressive Era social reform. Today many of these organizations continue to be important social service providers, some in the same locations.Explore the Map