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The Blue Book of Iowa Women A History of Contemporary Women

Compiled by Winona Evans Reeves, 1914.


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"Let me live in a house by the side of a road,
Where the race of men go by---
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat,
Or hurl the cynic's ban---
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man."

A wish to help, was the object which prompted the establishment of the Roadside Settlement House in Des Moines, than which there is no more helpful institution in all the state.  For the past ten years Miss Flora Dunlap has been head resident and in that time the settlement has grown from a small struggling organization to one of the most prominent and best equipped in the State.  The Roadside Settlement House was opened in September, 1896, under the auspices of the Des Moines Union of Kings Daughters.  Later the management was vested in a settlement association with a Board of Directors composed of men and women prominent in business, social and professional life in Des Moines.  In 1905 the present house was erected in an industrial neighborhood known as the Southeast Bottoms.  The building contains an equipment for public baths, a public wash house, a gymnasium, assembly hall, library, day nursery, cooking and manual training rooms, club rooms and rooms for resident workers.  In 1913 a cottage next door to the main building was fitted up as a model cottage, the furnishings being simple and of the kind any young people in the neighborhood might purchase in the establishment of a home.  In this cottage lessons in housekeeping and housewifely arts are taught. 

The settlement is entirely non-sectarian and is open seven days in the week.  It is a social and civic center and the best proof of its usefulness is the number of people of all ages who go in and out of its doors every day.  Young people find here wholesome recreation and instruction.  The people helped are for the greater part, hard working people, earning small wages, trying to raise their families decently and honestly.  There are no parks in this neighborhood or recreation grounds of any sort.  Very few have much money to spend for pleasure and that is why this building means so much to them.  Here they come for books, for amusements, for employment and above all for fellowship and sympathy without which life were a dreary place indeed.  In a large measure the genius which makes this work effective is the head resident, Miss Flora Dunlap, who did volunteer work in Kingsley House, Pittsburg, Goodrich House, Cleveland, and at Hull House, before taking charge of this settlement.  Besides this work she is vice-president of the Des Moines School Board, the first woman elected to that body.  She is president of the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association and has done much to carry forward the dignified campaign in this State for equal suffrage.  She represents Iowa on the Board of the National Suffrage Association.  She is a member of the National Child Labor Committee, the National Trade Woman's League, and of the National Settlement Association.  She is a woman of a great heart and a keen mind---a combination which always accomplishes great things.


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Copyright 1999-2013
Kinyon Digital Library,
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