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Wesley House History

Louisville Settlement HomeIn April 1903, the Woman's Missionary Society of the Louisville Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church South, founded the Louisville Settlement Home. Five months later, the agency began activities in a ten-room brick building on East Jefferson Street under the direction of a Methodist deaconess, Miss Ogilvie.

Early activities included a kindergarten, a Sunday school, and the Barclay Chorus Club, "made up of thirty-five boys, who, although at first very unruly and defiant of workers and ministers, later became known for their good behavior and sweet singing." The Louisville Settlement Home also sponsored a club for factory girls and young women, a young men's club, prayer services, mothers' meetings, lectures, and industrial classes.

First Location on Main StreetIn 1908, the agency found new quarters on Main Street, adjacent to Marcus Lindsey Memorial Church and became known as Wesley House.

Seventeen years later, in 1925, Wesley House moved to its current location at 803 East Washington St., a block north of the old location. The physical plant grew to include a third building and a gymnasium, both of which were connected to the older structures. A recent physical addition was the Wesley United Community Park, dedicated in July 2002.

Wesley House Youth, circa 1954The environment around Wesley House changed over the past century and so did the array of programs it offered. Sewing clubs, Scout activities, summer camps, and more have largely evolved into programs that provide essential services to low-income families in the distressed neighborhoods east of downtown Louisville.

What hasn't changed is Wesley House's commitment to serving its community in a spirit of Christian love.

For more on the history of Wesley House, visit ourhistorical highlights page.