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Old Chester, PA: Ruth L. Bennett Improvement Club
Organized 1914

The Ruth L. Bennett Home for Women and Girls (right) and the Wilson Memorial Nursery (left); Photo © August 2006, John A. Bullock III
Photo © August 2006, John A. Bullock III.

The Ruth L. Bennett Home for Women and Girls (right)
The Wilson Memorial Nursery (left)
(Approach to the Commodore Barry Bridge in the background)

Related links:

Ruth L. Bennett Home Rules

William Wilson Memorial Nursery

Ruth L. Bennett Homes

Organization Story:

Public Relations Office 
Court House 2nd Floor 
Media. Penna. 19069 

The Ruth L. Bennett Improvement Club, Inc. was organized in 1914 by Mrs. Ruth L. Bennett and fourteen other civic-minded women. During the fifty years of existence of the Club, it has purchased and operated a home for Women and Girls, a Nursery for children and a community playground. 

The Ruth L. Bennett Home for Women and Girls was an answer to a pressing problem that developed as the result of World War I, and the “Migration Surge” from the South in 1918. The wives following their soldier husbands, and Migratory families moving "North” caused many stranded women and children on the streets and in the police station of Chester. 

It was then that this same small group of. women with less than $200.00 capital purchased the property at Second and Reaney Streets and established the home. Continuously through the years, this building has served hundreds of working women and girls of Chester and Vicinity as a pleasant, wholesome, Christian home. 

The unfortunate death of two children in a fire during the absence of a working mother again fired the Ruth L. Bennett Improvement Club through its indomitable leaser, Mrs. Bennett, to purchase an adjoining lot to the Home and build a nursery for children of working mothers. A former business man of Cheater, then living in Philadelphia, saw the news article of the plans and sent the first contribution to the building fund. Hence the building became The Wilson Memorial Nursery at 214 Reaney St. 

Over the years the Nursery has filled a great need in the Community and County. It has given protection and care for children of working parents and for dependent children who were under custody of the County Count. At present the Nursery offers year round Day Care Service to preschool children. A Red Feather Agency. 

There have been the following presidents of the Ruth L. Bennett Improvement Club. Inc. (who by virtue of their office were chairmen of the Board of Directors. 

Mrs. Ruth L. Bennett 1914 – 1947
Mrs. Ada Griffin 1947 - 1948
Mrs. Olee Barbour 1948 -1964 

Mrs. Olee Barbour, the third president of the organization, but the second in years of service, made many outstanding contributions in expansion of the services of both the Home and Nursery. Her representation on Health and Welfare organization gave the agency status among Community Services.


The Ruth L. Bennett Home extends a welcome to women who desire protection, and are here for the purpose of advancement.

Open to women who desire to work and who will try to hold their jobs by giving efficient service.

A competent matron will be in charge, whose advice and suggestions must be respected.

Rooms must be kept scrupulously clean by those occupying them. Eating and laundering in rooms strictly prohibited.

No woman must leave her room in disorder when she goes to her work. When unemployed she must assist in keeping the Home clean.

11 P.M. is the hour for closing. If a girl is required to be out later, she must inform the matron.

Standing at the gate at a late hour conversing with friends strictly prohibited.

A fee of $?.50 per week for bed, which must be paid in advance. If a girl is unemployed she will be cared for until she finds employment, when she will be required to pay arrearages, if any.

The telephone must not be used for out of town calls (except absolutely necessary), and the matron will collect for same. All telephone communications to or from this building must be registered in the book provided for this purpose.

This is not a rooming house, and girls occupying rooms are required to cooperate with the Board of Directors of the Bennett Improvement Club in the maintenance of this Institution and its standards.

Board of Directors,
Mary F. Parker, Chairman

The William Wilson Memorial Nursery

The William Wilson Memorial Nursery was founded in 1928 for emergency, temporary, and long term care of children. It has been best known for its services to Delaware County and the Chester Community for its Institutional care. In the Spring of 1963, Delaware County dedicated its newly built shelter to care for its many children's various needs.

Later in 1963 the Wilson Memorial Nursery revised its program to meet the increasing demands of a well equipped Day Care Center in Chester, PA for children 3 - 6 years of age.

The following are features:

a. Daily snacks at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

b. A full balanced meal at 12 Noon daily.

c. The hours are from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. for the convenience of working parents.

d. Daily activities are varied and provide opportunities for children to learn new skills and acquire new knowledge and interest in the things around them.

e. These activities are appropriate to the ages of the children.

Reasonable rate
Adequate Staff

1 - Thanks to 




If you have any information and or pictures that you would like to contribute about Chester, please forward it to john@oldchesterpa.com

© 2002 John A. Bullock III.

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This page last updated 10/04/06