mary crane center celebrates 100th anniversary

Centennial event attended by community leaders and members of the Crane family

The history of the Mary Crane Center and the inspired work of Jane Addams have been intertwined since Richard Teller Crane and his daughter Frances Crane Lillie laid the groundwork for the Mary Crane Center in 1907 by donating a building to Addams’ Hull House.

“My great-grandmother, Frances Crane Lillie, and Jane Addams became acquainted,” says Joan Kammire of Charlottesville, VA. “My great-grandmother went to her father, who had a factory down the road, and convinced him that this was an important effort to help with children’s development.”

Early in 1908, teachers and children moved into the Mary Crane Day Nursery, named in tribute to Mr. Crane’s late wife. One hundred years later, on August 2, 2008, the Mary Crane Center hosted a gala at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum and the University of Illinois at Chicago in recognition of a century of service.

State Senator Iris Y. Martinez, Alderman Joe Moore, Alderman Vi Daley, and the staff of Alderman Manny Flores joined more than 125 donors, supporters, board members, staff and former Mary Crane moms and students in celebrating the Center’s dedication to Chicago children and their families.

As part of the event, the teachers of Mary Crane created an exhibit in the reception hall that documented the children’s work, including activities with wire, clay, and cooking. “The exhibits told our story and helped show how children are learning through play” says Executive Director Lavetter A. Terry.

Terry continues, “Having the Crane family members there spoke volumes about their continued support of the work of Richard Crane and Frances Crane Lillie started 100 years ago. We were able to showcase the good work we do and show that we have built a strong community of people who really care.”

Kammire says, “At Mary Crane, the values and feelings for the children and their families are strong and clear. I was thrilled to be part of the whole centennial celebration. I love Chicago. I love the work of the Mary Crane Center.”