Fitch Creche Day Care for Young Children of Working Mothers
159 Swan Street
The Fitch Crèche, nationally recognized as the first day care center for the children of working women in the United States, served as a model to be emu- lated by other American cities. Emulating philanthropic reforms established at the London Day nursery, it was the first to implement a Froebel Kindergarten in the U.S. in the nineteenth century. Headed by Maria M. Love and operating in a building donated by Benjamin Fitch, the Crèche was sustained by daily fees charged to working mothers who required a safe place to keep their children during the day. The building itself incorporated many modern re- forms, including sanitation through ventilated air shafts, working water closets, and separated areas for playing and sleeping, the latter of which was furnished with hanging iron cribs that swung from fixed standards. These elements followed the principles of modern health reforms, which were popularized in the design of turn of the century sanitariums and day spas. Unfortunately, this building was lost in the 1990s as space was made to expand a local parking lot in the area.