Tacoma Community House opened its doors on January 10, 1910. Built as a Settlement House to serve Tacoma’s Italian and Scandinavian communities, it evolved with the neighborhood’s changing needs and became a prominent center for immigrants of all backgrounds.
Tacoma Settlement House had its “soft start” in 1907 when the Home Missionary Board of the Methodist Church saw that Tacomans did not have a place where their children could gather for lessons, entertainment, and play. The Church appointed a committee to organize this missionary work, and in turn, the committee raised enough money to rent a house at 1316 South M Street.
By 1913, two Methodist deaconesses — Miss Chayer and Miss Branning — worked full-time to offer songs, stories, crafts, and other activities for the neighborhood’s girls. When they outgrew the space and rented a larger house next door (1320 South M Street), they expanded their programming to include activities, clubs, and interest groups for girls and boys. Then adults, too.
The organization changed its name to Tacoma Community House in 1922 and continued to develop new services as community needs shifted.
In 1923, the agency began offering English classes to newly-arrived Filipino immigrants and workshops for immigrants who needed to get their citizenship papers. TCH achieved many “firsts” during this prosperous time — from organizing Tacoma’s first baby clinic and kindergarten class, to hiring the city’s first African American teacher.
TCH has contributed to the livelihoods of nearly every ethnic group that has called Tacoma and the South Puget Sound “home.” From Southeast Asian refugees displaced by war in the 1960s and 70s, to today’s greater numbers from Mexico, Vietnam, Ukraine, and Moldova, TCH aims to be a Welcoming Home for all.