The Densmore Years
to the New Center

As World War II ended and soldiers came home, Americans wanted to get back to their families and a normal way of life. It was a time of growth and a time of strong family and community feeling. Warren Densmore, who became the Director and held that position for … years, was the right person to lead the Neighborhood House during those busy years of growth. An agenda survives from the meeting of June 28, 1946, in which it was proposed to hire Mr. Densmore as the Director. A better decision could not have been made.

Under Mr. Densmore’s leadership, along with that of Vince Renda, Helen Corwin, and others, more and more programs were offered to the people of East Toledo. Dances were held, Scouting troops were formed, a new swimming pool was built nearby at Navarre Park in 1949, playground activities increased, and sports teams of all kinds were formed. In addition, children from the Neighborhood House went camping at Camp Miakonda, participated in Christmas parades, and were active in Scouting programs.

An article written in 1960 emphasized the Neighborhoos House’s “vital role” in the community to “help people help themselves.” Some of the programs mentioned in the article were dances, crafts, basketball, scouting, pre-school, mother’s club, school lunch programs, and a chapter of the G.A.R. Membership in the 1960 was 436, with three-fourths of those between the ages of four and eighteen. During the 1960s, the Neighborhood House was called “The Living Room” because of its informal and welcoming atmosphere. Among other activities at this time were an “Ethnic Choir” in 1964, preparation of community Easter baskets in 1966, and a trip to the circus in 1968.

As the activities of the Neighborhood House kept expanding during the 1950s and 1960s, it became apparent that a larger facility would soon be needed. The site of that first tent mission, even with all the improvements made to the Vinal Street properties over the years, was not large enough to hold all the programs and activities provided to the community. After seventy years of service, it was time for the old Neighborhood House to move to a new location and take on a new identity.