Our Story

The Allendale Shelter Club was formed on December 6, 1906 by sixteen female members of the Children’s Hospital Society. At the time, professionals in the legal system and in social services believed one of the great needs of Chicago was care for destitute and homeless boys, a population that was growing steadily.

Under the leadership of Katherine Ellwood Allport, the women of The Shelter Club rented a flat on Harrison Street and founded The Boy’s Shelter Club which housed 50 destitute and homeless boys. The Club provided shelter, a clean bed and meal tickets to a nearby restaurant for young boys in need. The unemployed boys attended the public school and the Chicago University Settlement helped supervise their free time. As the Club expanded, summer vacation proved a difficult time and in 1909 the suggestion of an affiliation with the Allendale Farm was made. There the boys would have the invaluable help of Mr. Edward L. Bradley who had founded that ideal home for boys twelve years before.

In the years to follow, The Boy’s Shelter Club and the Allendale Farm would merge, girls would be admitted, and the Allendale Association would be formed. Despite the changes, The Allendale Association endured, and for over 100 years has remained committed to its founding mission of aiding children in need.