Neighborhood House


1916 - 1929early Neighborhood House


1929 - 19491946 Neighborhood House dance


1949 - 1966Madison Neighborhood Centers


1966 - 19901990 band


1991 - 2015Dan Foley


2016 - ?Neighborhood House





Comments about this chapter; stories to add? E-mail Randy Stoecker at

Neighborhood House 1966-1990: Controversy, Conflict, and Punk Rock

1966 signaled a period of challenges for Neighborhood House as intense as anything the organization had experienced. Along with the move to the new building and Mary Lee Griggs' retirement, center director Nancy Kelly, who had led Neighborhood House through its strenuous relocation, left for a position at the University of Wisconsin School of Social Work.1

Kelley's departure would usher in a period of leadership instability for Neighborhood House, as new center directors would come and go every couple of years until the late 1970s. In fact, the news mentions no new center director at Neighborhood House until May of 19672. At that point Dena De Witt3 had the job. By the end of 1969, Winifred Cook would be listed as the director,4 followed by Jerry Glaeve in mid-1970.5

But Neighborhood House kept the services going, grabbing every opportunity that presented itself, and experiencing so much membership growth that Zmudzinski was quoted as saying "Our membership is multiplying so fast we may have to become selective in membership soon."6 Madison Neighbohood Centers partnered with the Rotary Club, who had purchased an old farmhouse and leased it to MNC for $1 a year.7 In contrast to Gay Braxton's vision of a summer camp for everyone, however, this operated from more of a social work vision that focused only on boys in trouble. All three centers under MNC got right on board with the new federal Head Start program.8 Neighborhood House collaborated with the summer Rent a Youth program managed by college studens who would connect people with odd jobs to local youth desiring work.9 In another collaboration involving college students and youth, fifth and sixth grade girls went door to door collecting old toys to repair and paint, helped by two University of Wisconsin students.10 Neighborhood House ran a nursery class for pre-schoolers11 and a daycare.12 Friday night dances for pre-teens drew a big crowd.13 Even the Madison Mustangs football team helped out with Neighborhood Houses' recreation program in 1970.14 Neighborhood House membership fees remained modest at $5 per year plus 50 cents per child up to a $5 maximum charge for children.15

Neighborhood House also continued its practice of being a community space. Some of the community events resurrected the old days of the organization, as it hosted meetings of the Italian-American Bersagliere Women's Club16 and served as a tryout space for theater groups.17 Others reflected the growing social work culture in the organization, with meetings of Parents Without Partners18 and a support group of former patients from the Mendota Mental Health Center who met in the basement of Neighborhood House.19 Others may have simply been fun or had a fundraising angle. In 1966 the Forest Products League met at Neighborhood House, asking each member to bring "useful toys, games, and books for the children at the center."20 In 1970 Neighborhood House provided space for a regular flea market, with entertainment.21

But perhaps most interesting was the niche that Neighborhood House began to carve out for itself in the crazy days of the 1960s.

Neighborhood House and the Issues of the Sixties--Global and Local

The 1960s and 1970s was an era of great social activism and upheaval throughout the nation, Wisconsin, and especially in Madison. Demonstrations focused on nuclear testing, civil rights and especially the Vietnam War disrupted daily life in the city. Marches, rallies, boycotts, protests, and demonstrations were frequent and widespread. Many of these events were closely connected with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and related student organizations.22

Both the university and the students were expanding closer and closer to Neighborhood House and the organization once again adapted to history, even supporting the mobilization of that youth activist energy. High school and college teenagers were also very much involved with the anti-war effort during this time. Some of those groups used Neighborhood House as a base of organization. As Lester Pines, who worked with teens at Neighborhood House during this period, puts it, “the late 60’s and 70s were a very exciting time on campus and there was a great effort [at Neighborhood House] to turn all of that energy into something productive and positive that would really help the community.” The work of Neighborhood House during the period also shaped the students who participated in it. Lester Pines and Roberta Gassman met when they both started working with the teen and children's programs at Neighborhood House while University of Wisconsin students. Their work at Neighborhood House led Mr. Pines to get a Law degree, Ms. Gassman to get a Masters in Social Work, and the two of them to build a life together.23

Neighborhood House created a unique niche for itself in this time of turmoil as a place of reflection, mobilization, and mediation. They opened their doors to a membership rally and dance by the Madison NAACP Youth Council.24 When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, WHA-TV offered free bus service for people to come to its studios to discuss their feelings after the funeral. Neighborhood House was one of the free bus stops.25 When a group of Catholics attempted to create a parish less constrained by the church, they met at Neighborhood House.26 Neighborhood House briefly became the home for an alternative high school,27 with unique programs like engaging students in community service, that hoped for a dozen students but ended up with almost three times that. They started with a volunteer staff28 and quickly grew to nine paid staff29 until they ran into official opposition from the school board and internal problems.30 Neighborhood House was the meeting spot for the Ninth Ward organization, sponsoring discussions of issues facing the neighborhood and holding candidate forums.31

Vietnam War Protest
UW Madison Vietnam War Protest36

Neighborhood House also provided its space for the anti-war movement, and even those who opposed the activism surrounding it. After police and students clashed during the very first Mifflin Street Block Party, organized at that time as an anti-war event, Neighborhood House hosted a meeting between the two that tried to mediate the conflict.32 In the lead-up to the national Vietnam Moratorium demonstrations, Neighborhood House sponsored discussions about the war.33 When 73 members of the Ninth Ward organization voted unanimously to support a city council resolution "giving Madison residents the right to refuse to take part in an undeclared war", they were meeting at Neighborhood House.34 And Neighborhood House hosted the Consumers League when they went beyond their usual agenda of discussing utility rate hikes to focus on "the war as it relates to consumers."35

Back in the neighborhood, there was also conflict. The Triangle urban renewal area, save for Neighborhood House and the Gay Braxton apartments, was a wasteland of emptiness. All the hardship endured by all those displaced, and the only thing the city had to show for it was a small housing development and an otherwise big empty space. In 1966 the Lake Wingra Council, which Neigborhood House had helped organize, decided to do something about it. They started organizing a new non-profit group to build low and moderate income housing in the space.37It was tough going at first, as their vision was to recruit already fiscally stretched existing nonprofits to contribute funds to the start-up of the effort.38 But eventually they succeeded in forming the Bayview Foundation, composed of representatives from Lake Wingra Community Council, Beth Israel Center, the Memorial United Church of Christ, St. James Catholic Church, The League of Women Voters, Longfellow School PTA, the Madison Homeowners Association, the alders from the 8th, 9th, and 13th wards, and Neighborhood House itself. They created a plan for 144 units of housing and got $1.99 milion in federal funds to help build the apartment complex39 that was scaled back to 102 units with its final approval in 1970.40 Neighborhood House would initially benefit from the increase in housing, and then later feel the effects from the construction of a new community center in the midst of this housing.

Warning Signs

While Neighborhood House the building had more than achieved its potential as a hub of civic engagement in the community, Neighborhood House the organization was trying to find its footing. Perhaps off balance in the chaos of the 1960s, perhaps disrupted by the unresolved tension between centralization and decentralization in Madison Neighborhood Centers, or perhaps for other reasons, Neighboood House was continuing to experience staff instability and, it seems, some degree of distraction.

Neighborhood House's 50th anniversary would have been on September 24, 1966. The day came and passed without a mention in any media or saved records. It was not untl November of 1967, more than a year later, that there was a brief announcement in the paper of an open house celebrating the anniversary on January 14, 1968.41 In another brief media announcement, the justification for the chosen date simply said that date was chosen for the year Neighborhood House got its "first permanent home"--a statement requiring a generous interpretation of the facts.42 To add to the mystery, a radio program promoting the January anniversary celebration featured Mary Lee Griggs and Chester Zmudzinski. There is no mention of any Neighborhood House staff being involved.43 Finally, the only evidence that the event took place is a booklet dated January 14, 1968, with historical highlights and photos from the old Neighborhood House. There was no newspaper coverage.

Whatever stresses Neighborhood House was experiencing in the late 1960s may have been exacerbated by efforts from within MNC to nurture a fourth community center to be added to the mix.44 That center, the east side Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, was ready in August of 1968.45 While certainly cause for celebration, as the need was great, it also created stresses on an already tight operating budget, since the United Community Chest46 refused to increase MNC funding to cover the new center.47 Both Neighborhood House and MNC were trying to operate out of the Neighborhood House building to save money, but the cramped quarters were hampering the work of both organizations and MNC was hoping to have funds to move by 197148 even though they were operating at a deficit in 1970.49

Surviving The Cut

In 1970 the United Givers Fund of the Community Chest had a less than stellar fundraising campaign. And it started to look at where to cut. As it commenced its deliberations, an interpretation began to gather momentum that the Fund was going to close Neighborhood House. Chester Zmudzinski wrote an energetic critique of the Fund in Jun of 1970 saying that the Fund wanted to limit Neighborhood House to social group work and community organization, and expected volunteers and students to take over the rest of the activities. Zmudzinski himself ruminated that one center would likely have to be dropped.50 The theme got amplified by the media, who noted that MNC would have to make the final decision, but that one center would have to go and that one would be Neighborhood House because a Dane County Social Planning Agency study had concluded that the Ninth Ward was "slightly more stable and less in need" than the areas served by the other centers.51

Budget cuts headlines
Images courtesy of Wisconsin State Journal52

This was about much more than a cut to one city organization. The United Givers Fund was in fact making choices that would increase funding to some organizations and cut others, such as MNC, by as much as ten percent. For MNC this was worse than a ten percent cut, because they were asking for a 61% increase.53 Furthermore, critics charged the Fund with applying a cold corporate style of judgment, focusing on heartless calculations of "how much it costs in terms of unit of product."54 The Three alders in the Neighborhood House area, the state assemblyman, and a mayoral candidate called on the Fund to support Neighborhood House.55 At a raucous Ninth Ward Organization meeting in January of 1971, participants charged the Fund with adopting a funding plan that served the middle class rather than the poor and using language like "management inefficiency" that reflected "the kind of production rationalization the corporations are engaging in." Zmudzinski was particularly activist, asserting that "the current challenge to institutions, where people are trying to get in, to have a say in decisions that affect their lives, to achieve a senene of communality. It doesn't seem to be the kind of thing the Chest is prepared to recognize." The participants voted unanimously to save Neighborhood House.56 Opponents of the Fund's position turned up the heat, leafletting and flyering,57 charging the Fund with increasing funding to its own operations while it cut agencies. Seventeen members of the Ninth Ward Organization promised to end their contributions to the fund. Others threatened to picket the Givers building, start a counter-fund, and even sue the Fund on the grounds that it solicited contributions from area residents by asking them to support Neighborhood House when they were really going to close it.58 Letters to the editor were numerous, including from the Co-op Nursery housed at Neighborhood House.59

This reporting, and the fanning of the flames, came through The Capital Times newspaper, known as the more progressive of the two Madison newspapers. When the Community Chest board overwhelmingly approved the cuts later in January,60 the other Madison newspaper--the Wisconsin State Journal--took the editorial position of defending the Chest and supporting its decision,61 framing it as allowing the Chest to reap a windfall it could use to fund new programs.62 The State Journal also published a letter to the Editor from the Fund defending its position and reiterating that MNC, and not the United Givers Fund of the United Community Chest, would make the decision whether to close Neighborhood House.63 They reiterated that position in an article by the Capital Times.64

Madison Neighborhood Centers was doing its own damage control. The vice-president of MNC spoke to a meeting of about 100 Ninth Ward residents, attempting to reassure them that MNC was looking for other strategies to deal with cuts besides closing centers and was adamant that MNC hadn't even discussed closing Neighborhood House. MNC nonetheless got an earful for not threatending to end their relationship with the Fund and not forming a special committee to deal with the issues.65 And there was a lot to fight for. By this time, Neighborhood House had a morning co-op nursery run by 31 parents, an afternoon regular nursery school, a teen drop-in after school program with tutoring and job referral, a new transportation program for elderly with plans for an independent living project, a free and very popular meeting space, and 47 volunteers in addition to the regular staff.66

Images courtesy of Wisconsin State Journal71

Then in February word came that MNC was somehow keeping all four centers open.67 It's unclear why. Certainly the wide support from political officials and the public for Neighborhood House helped. The Rennebohm Fund, which had supported the construction of the new Neighborhood House,68 and gave the organization a sizable grant in 1970,69 announced it was giving the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center a $30,000 grant.70


The United Givers Fund cut would begin a period of tremendous struggle within MNC that would reverberate through the community centers. The media would begin using phrases like the "annual fight to keep open their Mills Street Neighborhood House".72 In trying to find a way to deal with the budget cuts and increase the pay of center staff to create some stability in the centers, the MNC board considered reducing the MNC staff, prompting Zmudzinski to threaten resignation.73 The Givers Fund had also allocated some special funds to support a study of MNC toward restructuring the organization and increasing its management efficiency,74 invoking further conflict over the parameters of the study and who would do it.75

In June of 1971, Chester Zmudzinski resigned as executive director of Madison Neighborhood Centers, effective on September 17.76 He had been at the helm for twenty-two years, approaching Gay Braxton's 28-year tenure at Neighborhood House.77

By 1972, the study sponsored by the United Givers Fund, now renamed The Dane County United Way, was completed. It was quoted as saying "Administration of the Madison Neighborhood Centers (MNC) is a shambles" and recommended that Neighborhood House be closed and resident representation on the MNC board be reduced because of resident "parochialism," "inexperience," and "ignorance". The report blamed Zmudzinski in absentia, and without naming him, for some of the problems.78 It will remain an open question whether Zmudzinski was the problem, or whether the culture of funding had shifted so much that the civic engagement and community organizing approach he advocated had simply gone out of style (or was seen as too much of a threat) with funders, as it had in other places.79 Shortly thereafter, for reasons that remain unclear, Madison Neighborhood Centers voted to change its name to United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County effective in 197380 and hired Henry Pitt as its new director.81 Pitt would attempt to shift the organization from "recreation-oriented-type programs to social-adjustment-type programs,"82 but his stay with MNC, like many of the staff who followed, would be too short-lived to make much difference.

Back at Neighbohood House, and just as the United Givers Fund cuts went into effect, the Dane County Mental Health Center, which had been renting out one wing of the building, began looking for bigger space to handle a fifty percent increase in clients.83 After wrangling over sub-leasing, MNC ended the lease in early 1972, 84 putting even more pressure on the organization's finances. Neighborhood House had reduced its director position to part-time status, and had lost its director in the process. 85 In September of 1972, the MNC board put Neighborhood House up for sale,86 but the higherest offer was $70,000 below the appraised value.87 Seemingly stuck with the building, they rented out space to the Urban Leage.88

Working Across the Life-Span at Neighborhood House in the 1970s

A Neighborhood House van bringing elderly citizens to the grocery store as part of the ‘Independent Living for the Elderly Project’,
Paul Rowland with the Neighborhood House van transporting elders92

These times must have been amazingly distracting for the staff at Neighborhood House. No one could have blamed them if they would have just walked away. We would have lauded them if they had simply persevered. But, far from just hunkering down and trying to ride the storm out, they ventured right out into the maelstrom, innovating like they had never innovated before.

Perhaps the innovation that was most ahead of its time was the Independent Living for the Elderly project. The aging of Madison's population had become visible in Greenbush, and in the construction of the Gay Braxton Apartments. But it remained a seriously underserved population segment. With token funding from the United Way Innovation Fund and a grant from the State Division of Aging, Neighborhood House initiated a pilot project to provide transportation, educational services, and home visitation for the elderly. The transportation services would not simply get elders to various care services but also to events and other places. The education services would focus on social security, medicare, services, avoiding fraud, and a variety of other topics.89 The program engaged seven students in occupational therapy and two in public health nursing at the University of Wisconsin and even got elders involved as volunteers. The program provided 111 rides in its first three weeks90 and served 513 elders in its first year.91

Paul Rowland was unemployed at the time he began volunteering at Neighborhood House. Among his duties was driving the van that transported elders around town. He then got a job as the janitor for Neighborhood House, to which he added his grant-writing talents, helping to produce the proposal to expand the Independent Living project to become SMILE--Services to Maintain Independent Living for the Elderly. 93 And even this successful program would have to manage disruption, when someone stole the van and Neighborhood House had to use a rental car for a time.94

Mr. Laurence Merkle working with preschool children in his innovative daycare.
Laurence Merkle in the innovative daycare,
courtesy of Wisconsin State Journal97

Finally with a new director in the fall of 1972, Reginald Stalling,95 Neighborhood House's innovation would expand across the ages. Neighborhood House made the daring choice of hiring Lawrence Merkle, who was the very first male graduate in pre-school education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to co-direct an innovative new daycare center with Mrs. Venice Duter, another University of Wisconsin graduate experienced in special education. Their philosophy focused on fostering independence and making free choices, using arts and crafts to bring out the child's creativity. As Merkle stated, "I want to create a child initiated classroom, where the child really will choose what he wants to do. He's what we call free-playing most of the time. The teacher is there to help and enhance what the child is doing."96

For older youth, Neighborhood House initiated a youth jobs and leadership program. With Lester Pines working as youth coordinator, Neighborhood House hired ten high school students for five hours a week, focusing not just on doing the work but also learning community leadership skills by engaging in the community.98 The teen discussion groups at Neighborhood House focused on such edgy topics as the "legal rights of juveniles,"99 and "women's liberation."100 Neighborhood House even coordinated with the Bayview Center for a teen party held in the larger gym space at Neighborhood House.101

In between were all manner of programs. Many of them focused on the arts, including performances by an acclaimed puppet theater troupe,102 a play performed on a "small makeshift stage" in the Neighborhood House gymnasium that nonetheless got rave reviews,103 square dancing,104 and pottery classes.105 There were arts and crafts fairs,106 a bake sale/rummage sale/ceramics sale with an accompanying carnival,107 and even an Aquarium Club sales and auction event.108 Neighborhood House was booked almost every night of the week.109

Other programs were education focused, such as the People's Law School, with 18 courses to choose from and taught by lawyers volunteering their time.110 On February 27, 1974 Neighborhood House participated in the one-year commemoration of the occupation at Wounded Knee by hosting a potluck dinner.111 They continued to host political district meetings, now the 13th district rather than the Ninth Ward.112

Neighborhood House also served the health care needs of the community, hosting a health screening clinic, 113 and serving as the original home of Group Health Cooperative way back in 1975114 when "HMO" was a new acronym in health care.

Miss Griggs Returns

Quiet, kind, Miss Mary Lee Griggs had never invoked controversy and had only been in the news when her work was featured. After her retirement she had stayed out of the media spotlight except for a brief moment in 1969 when she donated a 1922 flag from the old Neighborhood House to the Gay Braxton Apartments community room.115 But that was about to change.

In the early 1970s, there were still vast barren tracts in the Triangle redevelopment area and the Madison Redevelopment Authority had decided to fill it with a large medical facility and hotel. And, for the first time in public, mild-mannered Mary Lee Griggs had been pushed too far. We get the sense that she was never that keen on urban renewal--the disruption of family life, the dismembering of community networks, and the destruction of Neighborhood House. But she'd made only a few vague and indirect statements in the context of her retirement. These new plans, however, were too much. Miss Griggs' expectation, everyone would come to learn, was that the neighborhood that was destroyed would be replaced by a neighborhood, and the new plans that contained no housing violated her sensibilities and her expectations. So in May of 1971 she showed up in the city clerk's office with a petition from 125 residents demanding that the city council "follow through on the MRA's early plans to keep the triangle a residential area." Griggs also wrote an open letter printed in "The Neighbor" newsletter then being published by Neighborhood House, with a tone perhaps never before heard from her: "During the years when the homes were being torn down and families were forced to move, we relied on the promises that the redevelopment would restore homes for private families even though we saw the hospital grounds expanded and medical offices built. ... The promises to preserve the triangle as an area of homes for people, it seems, are not to be kept..... It looks as if Madison is getting to the point where the City doesn't care about people anymore.... Those people who had their homes in that area sure got a raw deal."116

A "compromise" plan that included elderly housing, a grocery, and other retail, was approved by the MRA in August.117 In November a Wisconsin State Journal headline read "George Mitchell, Neighborhood House OKs Triangle" but the article itself only said that Madison Neighborhood Centers had approved the plan, not Neighborhood House, and on a 15 to 5 vote. The five no votes were not identified.118 And the compromise did not satisfy Miss Griggs. In October of 1973 she wrote to the mayor, the youthful Paul Soglin, urging him to kill the plan: "I lived in the old Neighborhood House on West Washington Avenue for almost 30 years and I was on the staff of Neighborhood House and, later, Madison Neighborhood Centers for 44 years. I believe I know from first hand experience just what was done to the people living there.... When the people were pressured out of the area they were promised that the area would continue to be residential. I don't need to tell you what has happened."119 Miss Grigg's unwavering opposition brought others out. A letter from Charlotte Navarra Norris, who came of age in the old Neighborhood house, lamented to a friend that "It is particularly regrettable that someone like Miss Griggs, who earned the respect and confidence of the families in the Triangle through sincere devotion and hard work, was apparently used by the officials to motivate and influence the families and then was betrayed together with the neighborhood."120 In the end, Soglin let the project proceed, but he expected it to die under its own weight, which it did by mid-1974.121

Miss Griggs would have more to fight, and plenty of fight left in her, just a couple years down the road.

United Neighborhood Centers (the renamed Madison Neighborhood Centers) had remained unstable through the ensuing years and had evoked the ire of its member centers. In early 1976 the Wil-Mar Center packed a UNC meeting passing a resolution that would prevent UNC from determining what groups could be housed at the centers. Wil-Mar had apparently lent aid and comfort to groups that could jeopardize UNC's United Way funding and tax exempt status. The attendees additionally passed a resolution to review the UNC director, and by-law changes that gave centers more power in UNC decisions.122 The board would fire director Pitt a couple of months later.123 And UNC's fiscal situation had never recovered. The United Way had again cut UNC funding by $16,000 for 1976, even though UNC increased the number of centers to six, and they had a $32,000 gap.124

Images courtesy of Wisconsin State Journal127

So in June of 1976 UNC once again voted to unload Neighborhood House one way or the other, by selling or leasing it.125 They justified the decision by saying that the center had "sloppy programs" and inadequate staffing, and they were worried about United Way funding because the funder de-emphasized day care.126

Weathering the storm in the Neighborhood House director chair this time was Marjorie Chirichella--who had covered Neighborhood House news as a a writer for the Wisconsin State Journal while she was a University of Wisconsin student. Marjorie Chirichella was a "larger than life kind of person. She was from the east coast, and was definitely not part of subdued midwestern culture. She could break out in song at a moment's notice, and was known for Hungarian Goulash at Neighborhood House potlucks." It is her work with the kids of Neighborhood House that her daughter Gina most remembers. Along with the after-school program Marge ran, she was also known for loading up the Neighborhood House summer camp kids, and her two dogs, into her own blue van for trips near and far.128

This fight to save Neighborhood House seemed like history repeating itself. Once again, people organized, though in noticeably smaller numbers, with 15 at one meeting129 and 12 at another.130 There were more fundraisers.131 Madison General Hospital again offered to buy but reduced its offer by even more, $120,000 below the appraised value.132

The one thing that was different was that Mary Lee Griggs, who had remained publicly quiet through the previous threat, this time made her voice clear: "Something is going on down there that bothers me a great deal.... When I see some of the things happening down there now, I'm almost glad she's [Gay Braxton] not around to see it.... Why can't they use the building that's there? If there's no need for it, well, alright, but for the life of me, I can't understand it."133

Once again, no willing buyer stepped forward at a price that UNC was willing to entertain. Instead, it appears, UNC tried to eliminate the Neighborhood House director position.134 Marjorie Chirichella and Neighborhood house would hold them off into early 1977, but eventually they lost the fight, at least temporarily.135 But, once again, Neighborhood House itself survived with Nancy Schmelzer serving as acting director.136

Neighborhood House as Political Player

Even while under constant pressure, or perhaps because of it, Neighborhood House worked to expand its power and establish itself as a force in city politics. It was a fundraising space for progressive causes, hosting Bonnie Gruber's lasagnia dinner fundraiser for her 1977 city council campaign.137 Neighborhood House also hosted a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for the new nonprofit Triangle Neighborhood Corporation's attempt to start a co-op grocery in the triangle.138

Neighborhood House itself got into the political mix when a new plan for a "multi-service center"--a kind of social service mall with a daycare--was floated by an architectural firm. The plan would have duplicated some of Neighborhood House's services and turned Neighborhood House itself into a library with crafts and games. There was not enough money left in the Triangle urban renewal pot to support the plan, and Neighborhood House was exploring other ways to spend the funds.139

And Neighborhood House brought political education into the mix. They hosted the first film festival dedicated to older adults, which included films about the Gray Panthers and other activist elders, co-presented with the Resource Exchange Network of the University of Wisconsin School of Social Work and Jewish Social Services.140 On a theme that remains all too familiar in Madison, they hosted Eddie Carthan Day with a forum featuring Mertle Lacy, the mother of Ernest Lacy, a Black man who died as the result of a violent arrest in Milwaukee in 1982.141 Carthan was the first Black man elected as mayor of Tchula, a small Mississippi town who was convicted of assaulting a white police officer and aquitted of hiring the assassination of a political rival, all of which he said was due to his refusal to acquiesce to the white power structure.142 Neighborhood House was also the meeting place of the Citizen's Party, which was attempting to position itself as a progressive alternative to the two major parties.143

Much of this political work occurred as Neighborhood House was starting to regain some stability in a new director's position. David Eppstein was the longest-serving director since Gay Braxton, from 1979 to 1985, and the first since Nancy Kelley to last more than a year or two. He arrived at Neighborhood House after working as director of the relatively young Deerfield Community Center--the only rural organization in UNC. For Eppstein, "having gone to school in Madison in the late sixties, early seventies, my desire to do community organizing and to develop these sorts of programs and grow things was a passion." 144

And grow programs he did. Neighborhood House became the home of the SWAP program, one of the first experiments in alternative economies in Madison, where members would earn credits by doing work for each other, and spend those credits on work done by others.145 And one of the growing issues in the continual changing neighborhood was growing conflict between elderly residents and university student residents. So Neighborhood House organized REACH--Restoring Elderly And Community Harmony--to deal with elderly and student conflict and attempt to get students more engaged in the neighborhood. The plan was to sponsor separate events that would draw each group into Neighborhood House and then develop joint programs. One such strategy was to create a network where seniors would get services from students, and in turn provide garden space for students and opportunities for conversation. But students were harder to reach, and an attempt to give students discounts for wellness classes didn't work. Then Eppstein met up with Roger Eischens, associated with Madison' Movin' Shoes--a store for runners and walkers. Eischens was also a yoga instructor and Neighborhood House got him to do yoga instruction as a means of attracting students. The classes became so popular they ran out of space and Neighborhood House leased the space of the former Mound St. Grocery Co-op space to open a yoga center. 146

One of the highlights of Eppstein's tenure was a benefit concert featuring Bonnie Raitt and Chris Williamson for the International Treaty Council, working for Native American water rights, and Northern Lights magazine. A friend knew of Raitt and WIlliamson's concert tour, and urged Eppstein to sponsor a Madison show through Neighborhood House that could also be a fundraiser. "On a complete whim, a complete shoestring, knowing [nothing] about what we were doing, we ended up putting on this one night concert for clean water and Native American rights at the Churchkey in Madison.... Bonnie Raitt came to town, I cooked dinner for her at my house.... The concert was wildly successful and complete fun to do." 147

Eppstein's appetite for political struggle had been unseen at Neighborhood House since Zmudzinski's days, and one struggle in particular would keep him and Neighborhood House in the news for years.

Longfellow School

Longfellow School had long been the neighborhood school, and from the days of urban renewal has been threatened with closing.148 In late 1979 that threat became much more real, with the Madison school board proposing to close Longfellow School and Hoyt School and convert Lincoln Elementary to a middle school. The result, according to concerned residents on Madison’s south side, would disproportionally reduce educational opportunities available to low-income children of color.149
Longfellow School 156

Eppstein participated at a meeting with a group of people, mostly parents, who opposed the closing of Longfellow. But the issue seemed below the radar in Madison initially. As they strategized, one of the strategies they came up with was to go to the school board meeting, have Eppstein register to speak in opposition, and at the closing of his speech, call for a walkout of anyone interested in stopping it. "We packed the room with 50 odd poeple. So I finished my speech, and urged anyone interested to walk out and meet in the hallway. And 50 people walked out of the school board and all of a sudden you get a lot of press. So that snowballed into six or eight months of furious activity." 150

This was also a circumstance where the relationships forged through United Neighborhood Centers could be mobilized. The South Madison Neighborhood Center, Neighborhood House, and the Madison NAACP traveled to Chicago to meet with federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) officials and ask them to begin an investigation into discriminatory effects of the school board's plan, commencing a flurry of activity for the remainder of 1979.151 They then requested an investigation from the Wisconsin state Department of Public Instruction, or DPI.152 And they connected with Madison Teachers Incorporated, who agreed to pay legal fees involved in requesting a federal restraining order to block the school closings if DPI didn't ask the Madison Board of Education to delay its decision.153 DPI refused to act, saying it had no power in the matter. 154 Neighborhood House and the South Madison Neighborhood Council were joined by the Citizens Coalition for Educational Planning, and together they made a formal complaint to HEW, whereupon the HEW Office for Civil Rights initiated an investigation.155

In February of 1980 the school board delayed a decision on their plan.157 And then everything went quiet until a news report surfaced that Madison General Hospital would lease Longfellow School for "medical education," with Neighborhood House opposing the move. 158 It would be three more years, delayed by a long illness and then the death of the HEW attorney managing the investigation,159 before HEW would issue its finding that the plan was discriminatory. However, they cut a deal with the school board to come up with an alternative plan without having to admit any wrongdoing. 160 Part of the new plan involved creating the 28 member Lincoln-Franklin Demographic Task Force, whose task was to somehow resolve the differences. A 1984 Wisconsin State Journal article stated that “no group of citizens has ever made a greater effort for the school district than the Lincoln-Franklin Demographic Task Force.” The study resulted in a number of recommendations for the school board including “pairing” schools together in order to prevent future closures and giving schools the opportunity to share expensive equipment as well as ideas between teachers and administrators. Ultimately, the task force attempted to move Madison towards more equitable school desegregation161 but time has not yet rewarded their efforts.

Settling and Shifting into the 1980s

The 1980s, to a large extent, signaled the end of the 1960s era. The social issues certainly didn't go away, but the activism surrounding them died down. And Neighborhood House tried to settle into the new era with its own shifts.

On one hand, (Neighborhood House) was about the larger entity of building a better community, and on the other hand it was about programs and services for kids and elderly. –Andy Heidt

Perhaps nothing more signified the shift to the 1980s than the passing of Mary Lee Griggs on January 15, 1981.162 Her death was noticed across the city, with the Madison City Council putting its weight behind fund-raising for a memorial, and instructing the city planning and parks departments to cooperate with Neighborhood House in its implementation.163 And perhaps it was symbolic of the times that a small movement formed to rename the Parkside Apartments for Griggs, but no one organized the residents of the apartments around the idea, and the best that people could muster was renaming the apartment building's lounge and putting up a plaque.164

And Neighborhood House concentrated on programming. A 1981 program guide listed:

Monday: singing club, karate, pre-teen drop-in, teen drop-in, pottery.
Tuesday: pottery class, yoga, pre-teen drop-in teen drop-in, yoga for runners, karate, weight control class.
Wednesday: senior exercise, ballet, pre-teen drop-in teen drop-in karate, yoga.
Thursday: pre-teen drop-in teen drop-in movies, karate, yoga for runners.
Friday: crafts and cooking club, karate.
Saturday: karate.
Special events: senior

Some of these activities built and maintained partnerships. Yoga classes were, for a time, provided by University Extension.166 The Tenants Union offered free workshops on tenants rights.167 A variety of experts became involved in an oral history series on a wide variety of topics at Neighborhood House.168

3rd annual Greenbush Reunion planning group,
left to right, Nancy Schmelzer and Pete Gianquinto standing;
Josephine Brasci, Alice Buege, and Roberta Paterson seated,
courtesy of Wisconsin Historical Society.173

Neighborhood House continued its focus on the arts, to great success. In 1980 Cosmo Di Salvo and Catherine Stitgen participated in a pottery class for seniors at Neighborhood House. In order to show their appreciation to the center for providing these integral services to the Madison senior community, Di Salvo and Stitgen presented Neighborhood House with the pottery pieces that they created in the class, lovingly named “Rockhenge” and “Merry-Go-Round.” Neighborhood House pottery teacher Bacia Edelmen called the two sculptures presented to the center “very creative pieces.”169 In 1980 the center began sponsoring a series of trips, which were open to anyone, to the Fireside Playhouse in Fort Atkinson to see a variety of performances.170 In 1984 Neighborhood House held a dance for local teenagers featuring DJ Charlie Brooks.171

And Neighborhood House did not forget its roots, hosting an annual Greenbush reunion that brought together old residents with all those wanting to keep the neighborhood alive in their imaginations and memories.172

But the 1980s also signaled a new era of almost continuously difficult economic times. Gone were the days that funded a college education, the War on Poverty, and urban renewal. In its place was what would become known as neoliberalism, and its effects were felt most intensely by those at the bottom and those who served them. Once again Neighborhood House responded to the times, working with the Hunger Network to distribute food during harvest season,174 and putting its kitchen to work as part of a church-based network rotating to provide free meals during the week. Wth staples from the foodbank and day-old produce from Greenleaf Grocery, Neighborhood House took its turn each week feeding 80 to 150 people, engaging students, seniors, and evel local businesspeople in serving the lunches. 175

Neighborhood House as an organization was itself increasingly suffering. By 1983 David Eppstein, the Neighborhood House director, was the only full-time employee at the organization.176 And it only got worse. The city's Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG, funds were dropping every year and those declines were passed down to United Neighborhood Centers, which saw its funds decline from about $302,500 in 1984 to about $250,000 in 1985 and just under $200,000 in 1986. During that same period, UNC's funds from United Way dropped from about $205.500 to about $200,000 and then down to about $174,000.177 Helen Klebasadel, a Neighborhood House employee, reported “in recent years, staff had been cut, programs eliminated, and their fundraising efforts increased.” As Klebasadel put it, “we’ve gotten real creative in trying to keep things going.”178 UNC kept trying to sell the building. For a brief period of time it appeared Neighborhood House might move into "Rodeo's Steak House179 but that plan quickly dissipated as did another attempt to unload the building in 1989.180

The financial pinch was occurring at the same that UNC was continuing to increase the number of centers--they were up to six in 1981 and stretched out to Deerfield,181 UNC was under an almost perpetual state of planning and reorganization that was forcing the centers into spending vast amounts of time on planning and replanning.182 The continuing tension between centralization and decentralization was unresolved, as funders began pressuring UNC to centralize183 and the centers, particularly Neighborhood House, balked.184 UNC was going through more management turmoil, attempting to shift from an "agency coordinator" position182 created as a money saver back to an "executive director" but having difficulty finding someone who could do the job.186 The city's Community Development Block Grant program and United Way both began threatening to withhold funds from UNC because of reporting problems.187 And the South Madison Neighborhood Center made a concerted effort to leave the UNC fold altogether, but eventually failed.188 But UNC kept adding centers, and was up to seven in 1988.189

Neighborhood House and the New Immigrants

Little noticed at first, as a result of new federal immigration legislation in 1965 and the conclusion of the war in Vietnam, the country was experiencing a new wave of immigration from new places, especially Global South places like Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America. And some of those new immigrants were arriving in Madison. The Bayview apartments in particulary had become home for many Hmong immigrants in need of extra services. So intense was the need that the Bayview Foundation began planning a new community center in the midst of the apartment complex. While the plan was that the center would be only for Bayview residents, it was nonetheless only a few blocks away from Neighborhood House. 190 But of course there were many more immigrants than the Hmong in Bayview and the Triangle now had the highest concentration of subsidized housing in the city.191

 Ray Kumapayi, President of the African Association of Madison
Ray Kumapayi photo 194

Immigrant services was the familiar territory Neighborhood House had been founded upon. Neighborhood House even helped these new immigrants to take English language classes through Madison Area Technical School--the modern incarnation of the old Vocational School that funded the old Neighborhood House's Americanization efforts. But this was also unfamiliar territory, as the lessons learned about working with immigrants were now mere history. And the cultures were different. David Eppstein voiced his perceptions that the European immigrants of half a century past had worked very hard to get along. It was not an entirely accurate portrait, but there apparently was a level of tension between Blacks and Southeast Asians in the Triangle area that became a focus for Neighborhood House and other service organizations, with Neighborhood House organizing a benefit dinner and other cultural events for the new immigrants. As Eppstein put it, "we want people to help us continue what we consider a rich tradition: helping new immigrants get settled."192

Southeast Asians were, of course, not the only group that turned to Neighborhood House. Ray Kumapayi, the president of the African Association of Madison, describes Neighborhood House as a "home away from home," and a place for "African get advice about life, meet and assimilate to the American culture." In 1994, a well-known member of the local Nigerian community passed away, leaving many Nigerians lost and without a place to meet and mourn together. Neighborhood House "afford(ed) us support we needed during this difficult time," and eventually many of the African associations in the city began to use the center as a support and celebration space.193 For Cecilia Miranda, from Bolivia, "I was lost when I came to the US at age 18 and when Neighborhood House opened for us to have a group, it helped me regain my dance."195 For Leslie Ann Busby-Amegashie, of the Caribbean Club who arrived in 1994, "Being from another country, when I came here, I wanted to see if I could meet other individuals from my country or other Islanders. I was directed here because I was told a lot of international individuals--students--came here, so I was sure I would be able to find someone else from the Caribbean. I came directly here and I met other people--just what I was looking for--and made lasting friendships."196

And dance and celebrate and connect they did. The Neighborhood House 70th anniversary celebration program listed Italian, African, and Mesaghios Greek dancers, a Triangle/Bush video, and Hmong ethnic craft display, and ethnic foods. It also promoted the "Neighborhood House Creed--Neighborhood House is dedicated to those form near and far who seek freedom and opportunity, friends and neighbors, and to those who, in turn, finding these values here, offer them to others."197 In 1990 Neighborhood House took multiculturalism to the State Street steps of the state capitol grounds, with African poetry, Middle Eastern dancers, Hmong dancers, Greek dancers, Africal dancers, African-American performers, and others.198

The Ed Holmes Era

While culturally Neighbrhood House was experiencing a resurgence, fiscally it was suffering when, In 1987, Ed Holmes stepped into the director's seat at Neighborhood House. Holmes had actually started as the youth director when David Eppstein was director. Eppstein described Holmes as "very charismatic and popular with the young Black population." And while his stay was shorter than Eppstein's it was equally memorable.199

Holmes stepped into the results of the UNC economic disaster. There wasn't enough funding to pay the needed staff, and the building was falling apart. And Holmes went to work. In May of 1987 Neighborhood House ran a dance-a-thon that raised $4,000--an event that would be repeated for a number of years after.200 In June they sent out 5000 letters to raise funds for the summer camp that had organized 15 volunteers to serve 44 youth.201 Holmes helped organized a Miss Teen Madison Pagaent and, lest we criticize the move too quickly, we should note the letter to the editor about the pageant that read "What a great idea to have a Miss Teen Madison Pageant where community service is more important than swimsuit competition".202 Though even with the shift in emphasis, or perhaps because of it, the pageant didn't attract enough contestants to run a second year.203

After another dance-a-thon in 1988204 a bake sale featuring 1,000 apple pies to be sold for $5 each in 1989,205 and some city funds, Ed Holmes was ready to spend some of that money. The first thing he did was get the Neighborhood House roof fixed,206 and then the floor.207 He also tapped into the new rules for work-study at the University of Wisconsin, getting six work-study students who could provide academic support to minority school kids.208

Holmes also focused on building collaborations, helping to organizing the Bayview-Brittingham-Vilas Neighborhood Steering Committee, that included area organizations, hospitals, and businesses.209 And he brought Neighborhood House into collaboration with Centro Hispano in 1988 for the Cinco De Mayo celebration.210

Big Art and Loud Punk

Holmes also helped usher Neighborhood House into the 1990s. Neighborhood House had always taken risks, and that risk-taking spread to the arts as the 1990s approached. In 1988 Jim Holloway, in need of services himself, found Neighborhood House. He was a mostly self-taught artist who'd experienced some rough times, and found a sense of belonging in Madison and support from Neighborhood House. Helped by 20 after school drop-in youth,211 Holloway donated months of his time painting a mural across the entire wall of the gym at Neighborhood House.

Holloway mural
Holloway mural212

The colorful mural was a representation of a variety of experiences and feelings that Holloway associated with Madison, including a rainbow that symbolized hope, an image of Neighborhood House director Ed Holmes under the rainbow, and a picture of a "white dog on a teeter totter (who) followed a kid to the center one day."213 It took more than a year to complete, and was finally unveiled on November 7 of 1989.214

Fugazi Plays at Neighborhood House
Fugazi Plays Neighborhood House219

In another sign of the times, Neighborhood House opened the newly painted gymnasium to touring punk and rock bands, becoming a sober all-ages venue. This offered teenagers in the Madison community a rare opportunity to see their favorite bands play live in a safe and welcoming environment. One of the most memorable shows was the punk rock band Fugazi. Five dollars to get in was a cheap price for the 400 people who lined up to see Fugazi play at Neighborhood House on June 19th of 1990. The band from Washington D.C. started touring on September 3, 1987, and have since played over 1000 concerts, covering all fifty United States, Europe, Australia, South America, Japan and others. They are a self-managed band run through Dischord Records.215 Fugazi always ensures that their concerts are open to people of all-ages and charge from $5 to $7 in accordance with their philosophy to keep music affordable.216 One attendee said of the show that the room was “Hot! Literally 100 something degrees inside” and also “crowded, rambunctious, but peaceful. Great venue for a great show.”217 Another said “I was at this show! Fugazi Live Neighborhood House, Madison, WI June 19th, 1990. Place was so packed, and hot/humid as only a Sconnie can believe.”218

Get a recording of the Neighborhood House concert.

Into the Nineties

It appeared that Neighborhood House was becoming more and more adept at surfing the heavy waves created by the constant state of crisis in United Neighborhood Centers.220 Ed Holmes seemed to be at the top of his game, even running, if unsuccessfully, for alder against the indomitable Tim Bruer and picking up The Capital Times endorsement for "his track record as director of Neighborhood House in building coalitions and providing positive programs for area residents."221

And then, almost as if it were an attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the worsening UNC budget crisis forced them to again cut Neighborhood House to a half-time director.222 At the close of 1990 Ed Holmes left for a position as minority services coordinator at Memorial High School, and would eventually go on to become principal at West High School.

So once again, the end was nigh. And once again Neighborhood House would prove its fortitude.



1. two Directors are Named for Neighborhood Centers, Wisconsin State Journal May 6, 1966

2. We culd find no records of the Neighborhood House advisory board for this period, and the MNC board records are sparse, so we only have newspaper sources to go on. Zmudzinski is referred to as Neighborhood House director in Viewers all Ready at Neighborhood House, Wisconsin State Journal March 22, 1967. But the papers regularly confused Zmudzinski's title. In this case, however, it was part of a photo caption showing him with a child in front of a new donated color TV at Neighborhood House, making the title more plausible

3. the newspapers couldn't decide how to spell her name, calling her Diana DeWitt in Neighborhood House Meeting, The Capital Times May 22, 1967; Dena De Witt in Wingra Area has Free Lawn Work, Wisconsin State Journal April 24, 1968; and Dena Dewitt in Free Clean-Up Service Offered in Wingra Area,Capital Times April 22, 1968. We could find no Neighborhood House or Madison Neighborhood Center records to establish her correct name.

4. Girls' Work Makes Old Toys New Gifts, Wisconsin State Journal, December 14, 1969.

5. Stolen Checks are Found in Monkey Cage, The Capital Times, June 26, 1970.

6. John T. Aehl, Despite All the Weeds, Triangle Area Sprouts, Wisconsin State Journal, August 8, 1966.

7. John Newhouse, Downtown Rotarians Pitch In With Financial Aid, Wisconsin State Journal, September 27, 1970.

8. Frank Custer, City's Poor Tots Begin 'Head Start', The Capital Times, February 7, 1966.

9. Ruth Flegel, Rent a Youth in Summer for Double Benefit, Wisconsin State Journal, June 9, 1970.

10. Girls' Work Makes Old Toys New Gifts, Wisconsin State Journal, December 14, 1969.

11. Center Plans Nursery Class For 6 weeks, The Capital Times, April 23, 1969.

12. Mills Street Day Care Center, The Capital Times, May 14, 1968.

13. Gina Chirichella interview, 2015.

14. Photo with caption of Madison Mustangs football team play working with kids at NH, The Capital Times, October 19, 1970.

15. Givers Fund Aids Neighborhood Centers, Wisconsin State Journal, November 12, 1969

16. Italian-American Club to Meet, Wisconsin State Journal, September 10, 1968.

17. Strollers Set Tryouts for 'Harvey' Cast, Wisconsin State Journal, May 10, 1970.

18. Parents Without Partners to Hear Drug Usage Talk, The Capital Times, April 6, 1967.

19. Robert Distefano, What Freedom Really Means..., Wisconsin State Journal, September 10, 1967.

20. FPL Unit Will Meet Thursday, Wisconsin State Journal, September 18, 1966.

21. Flea Market Set Saturday, The Capital Times, May 19, 1970; Flea Market on Mills Street, The Capital Times, July 22, 1970.

22. 1960-69, UW Archives and Records Management,; Vietnam and Opposition at Home, Wisconsin Historical Society,; UW-Madison Archives & Oral History,

23. Lester Pines and Roberta Gassman Interview, 2014.

24. NAACP Youth Rally Saturday, The Capital Times, January 14, 1966.

25. TV to Cover Funeral, Wisconsin State Journal, April 9, 1968.

26. John E. Mollwitz, Madison Catholics Seek Reform With Communities, Wisconsin State Journal, May 11, 1968.

27. Roger A Gribble, 'Freedom School' Is Planned Here, Wisconsin State Journal, March 5, 1970.

28. Students to Help Develop Own Courses in New School Here, The Capital Times, March 5, 1970.

29. Roger A. Gribble, VISTA Workers May Teach at Freedom House This Fall, Wisconsin State Journal, August 14, 1970.

30. Matt Pommer, 'No-Wall' School backers Told Of Board's Doubts, The Capital Times, January 4, 1972.

31. Candidates for Mayor to Talk, The Capital Times, Feb. 25, 1969.

32. Ninth Ward Meet on Mifflin Issue, The Capital Times, May 17, 1969.

33. Rallies, Open Houses and Talk-ins Among Moratorium Events Here, The Capital Times, Nov. 12, 1969.

34. Peace Moves Backed by Ninth Warders, Wisconsin State Journal, May 12, 1970--they also voted to support a resolution to stop the war and bring the troops home by a margin of 58-9.

35. Consumers League Will Meet Tonight, The Capital Times, February 16, 1971.

36. Image courtesy of the UW-Madison Archives, #S00502.

37. John T. Aehl, Council To Hear Plan On Housing in Triangle, Wisconsin State Journal January 8, 1966.

38. Steven Barney, Wingra Community Council Meets Old Problem: Money, Wisconsin State Journal, January 11, 1966.

39. Triangle area apartments get U.S. Go-Ahead Wisconsin State Journal, February 3, 1968.

40. George Mitchell, FHA Gives Go-Ahead for Triangle Housing, Wisconsin State Journal, February 21, 1970.

41. Neighborhood House to Note Birthday, Wisconsin State Journal, November 23, 1967.

42. Neighborhood House Observes 50th Year, Wisconsin State Journal, December 12, 1967.

43. Today's Radio Highlights,Wisconsin State Journal, December 12, 1967.

44. Rosemary Kendrick, Near East Siders Agree on New Center, The Capital Times, February 23, 1968.

45. East Neighborhood Center Established, The Capital Times, August 16, 1968.

46.The United Community Chest was the precursor to the United Way.

47. Some Observations by the Executive Director on the Financial Crisis and Restructuring of the Agency, June 13, 1970, Neighborhood House archives.

48. MNC board meeting minutes, March 24, 1970, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives., United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

50. Some Observations by the Executive Director on the Financial Crisis and Restructuring of the Agency, June 13, 1970, Neighborhood House archives.

51. Dave Wagner, Budget Squeeze Threatens Mills Neighborhood House, The Capital Times December 18, 1970.

52. Headline images from: Budget Squeeze Threatens Mills Neighborhood House, The Capital Times December 18, 1970; Dave Wagner, Neighborhood House Becomes a Bleak House, The Capital Times, Jan 8, 1971; Dave Wagner, Givers' Fund to Kill Neighborhood House While Hiking Own Budget, The Capital Times, Jan. 18, 1971.

53. No Decisions Made on Centers' Closing, Wisconsin State Journal, January 21, 1971.

54. Dave Wagner, 'Efficiency' Over Human Needs?, The Capital Times, Dec. 22, 1970.

55. Dave Wagner, Aldermen Fight GIvers Fund Cuts For Center, The Capital Times, Dec. 29, 1970.

56. Dave Wagner, Neighborhood House Becomes a Bleak House, The Capital Times, Jan 8, 1971.

57. 9th Ward Meeting to Mull Many Community Problems, Wisconsin State Journal, January 24, 1971.

58. Dave Wagner, Givers' Fund to Kill Neighborhood House While Hiking Own Budget, The Capital Times, Jan. 18, 1971. It is interesting to ponder that the Madison Sustaining Fund, the precursor to what we now know as Community Shares of Wisconsin that is considered by many to be the progressive alternative to the United Way, started in 1971.

59. Co-op Nursery Defends Neighborhood House, Wisconsin State Journal, January 11, 1971.

60. Helen Matheson, Despite Budget Cuts, Agencies Keep Hopes, Wisconsin State Journal, January 20, 1971.

61. Chest Board on Right Track, Wisconsin State Journal, January 21, 1971.

62. Helen Matheson, Community Chest Now Can Start New Efforts, Wisconsin State Journal, January 24, 1971.

63. United Givers Cites 'Neighborhood' Backing, Wisconsin State Journal, February 17, 1971.

64. No Decision Made on Closing Of Mills Neighborhood House, The Capital Times, February 13, 1971.

65. Staff searches for Way to Keep Mills St. Center Open, The Capital Times, Feb. 1, 1971; Joseph McBride, Hopes for Neighborhood House Are Told to Ninth Ward Residents, Wisconsin State Journal, February 1, 1971.

66. Karen Cue, Neighborhood House Struggling, Daily Herald, Feb. 8, 1971.

67. All 4 City Centers to be Preserved, The Capital Times, February 19, 1971; Mills Street Center Will Remain Open,Wisconsin State Journal, February 20, 1971.

68. Rennebohm Fund to Help Wil-Mar, Wisconsin State Journal, February 2, 1971.

69. John Newhouse, A Druggist's Gift that Keeps on Giving, Wisconsin State Journal, April 17, 1972.

70. Rennebohm Fund to Help Wil-Mar, Wisconsin State Journal, February 2, 1971.

71. Headline images from: All 4 City Centers to be Preserved, Madison Capital Times February 19, 1971; Mills Street Center Will Remain Open, Wisconsin State Journal February 20, 1971.

72. Dave Wagner, At Stake in Triangle: Federal Cash, Local Interests, The Capital Times June 15, 1971.

73. Report on the Meeting of Center Directors, MNC, February 1, 1971, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

74. Helen Matheson, Neighborhood House's Future Looks Gloomy, Wisconsin State Journal, January 16, 1971.

75. MNC Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, March 30, 1971 letter from Amos. T. Burrows Jr. ED of United Community Chest to Chester Zmudzinski, April 8, 1971.

76. MNC Personnel committee meeting minutes, Sept. 13, 1971, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives; Zmudzinski Quits as Center Director, Wisconsin State Journal June 12, 1971, p. 1.

77. Frank Custer, Zmudzinski To Be Honored for 22 Years of Service. The Capital Times, November 30,1971.

78. Dave Wagner, Neighborhood Center Shakeup Asked, The Capital Times, January 11, 1972.

79. Jordan S. Yin. 1998. The community development industry system: a case study of politics and institutions in Cleveland, 1967–1997. Journal of Urban Affairs, Volume 20, Issue 2, pages 137–157.

80. MNC board of directors meeting September 27, 1972, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

81. Neighborhood Centers Chief Named, Wisconsin State Journal, August 3, 1972.

82. Sheila Tefft,Neighborhood House Changing Programs, Wisconsin State Journal, 0ctober 29, 1972.

83. Rosemary Kendrick, Mental Health Unit Moving, The Capital Times, January 30, 1971.

84. MNC Board of Directors Meeting, February 24, 1972, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

85. MNC Executive Committee Meeting July 20, 1972, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

86. MNC Executive Committee meeting, September 4, 1972, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives. How MNC got ownership over the building is unclear, since the Neighborhood House Association was the original owner, but that must have been an agreement for affiliation at some point.

87. MNC board meeting minutes, November 8, 1972, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives ; Hospital Seeks to Buy Neighborhood House, Wisconsin State Journal Friday, October 1, 1976

88. UNC board meeting minutes, January 25, 1973, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

89. Vivian Waixel, 'It's the Small Things That Hurt', Wisconsin State Journal, July 18, 1971.

90. Helen Matheson, A Proposal: To Help Aged Live In Dignity, Wisconsin State Journal, April 16, 1972.

91. For Elderly Folks in Madison There's Now A Reason To Smile, The Capital Times, July 28, 1972.

92. Image from Neighborhood House document, Independent Living for the Elderly, approximately 1971, Neighborhood House Archives.

93. For Elderly Folks in Madison There's Now A Reason To Smile, The Capital Times, July 28, 1972.

94. Meanest Thief Steals Van Used for Elderly, The Capital Times Saturday, January 15, 1972.

95. Sheila Tefft,Neighborhood House Changing Programs, Wisconsin state Journal, 0ct 29, 1972.

96. Marjorie Chirichella, Daycare Demands Roles for Men, They Proclaim, Wisconsin State Journal, Dec. 31, 1972; Jo Banko, Daycare Center to Open, The Capital Times, December 30, 1972.

97. Photo from Marjorie Chirichella, Daycare Demands Roles for Men, They Proclaim, Wisconsin State Journal, Dec. 31, 1972.

98. Neighborhood House to Train Committed Youths, The Capital Times, September 8, 1971; High School Leaders, Wisconsin State Journal September 6, 1971.

99. Juvenile rights, The Capital Times, February 9, 1971.

100. Teen discussion, The Capital Times, February 22, 1971.

101. Bayview Center plans teen party, Wisconsin State Journal, October 8, 1976.

102. William Glover, Eccentric Puppet Theater Is 'Basic as Bread', Wisconsin State Journal October 8, 1972.

103. Sheila Tefft, 'Memory' Lingers On, Wisconsin State Journal, December 11, 1973,

104. Square Dance, The Capital Times, October 15, 1974

105. Pottery Classes Offered Soon, The Capital Times, Thursday, July 18, 1974.

106. Crafts Fair, The Capital Times, Saturday, April 21, 1973.

107. Neighborhood House Plans Carnival, The Capital Times, June 12, 1974.

108. Aquarium Club Slates Auction, The Capital Times, February 1, 1974.

109. Ed Bark, Neighborhood House in Long Survival Struggle, The Capital Times, August 28, 1976.

110. People's Law School Open Oct. 21 With 18 Courses, Wisconsin State Journal, Friday, October 12, 1973.

111. Wounded Knee Day Marked Here Today, Wisconsin State Journal, February 27, 1974.

112. Soglin Featured, The Capital Times, March 25, 1974; Candidates Forum Set for Tonight, Wisconsin State Journal, March 20, 1975.

113. Mifflin Health Screening Clinic, The Capital Times, November 15, 1976.

114. Owen Coyle, Dane County's HMO: It's Ready to Become Reality, The Capital Times, October 13, 1975.

115. William T. Evjue, Hello Wisconsin, The Capital Times, April 19, 1969.

116. Mike Miller, Triangle: A Last Ditch Struggle, The Capital Times, May 11, 1971.

117. Dave Maraniss, MRA Approves Plan for Triangle, The Capital Times, August 18, 1971.

118. George Mitchell, Neighborhood House OKs Triangle, Wisconsin State Journal, November 12, 1971.

119. October 5, 1973, letter from Mary Lee Griggs to Mayor Paul Soglin, Neighborhood House archives ; this letter was published in The Capital Times, October 13, 1973 as "Griggs says City Not Playing Fair".

120. September 7, 1973 letter from Charlotte Navarra Norris to "Lillian", Neighborhood House archives.

121. Tom Foley, Soglin asks elderly low-cost housing in triangle project, The Capital Times, June 20, 1974.

122. Rosemary Kendrick, Wil-Mar Packs Meeting, Changes Rules for Centers, The Capital Times, January 30, 1976.

123.United Center Dismisses Pitt, Wisconsin State Journal, March 27, 1976.

124.Rosemary Kendrick, Neighborhood House To Be Closed, The Capital Times June 25, 1976; Ed Bark, Supporters Start Drive to Save Neighborhood Center, The Capital Times, August 4, 1976.

125. Robert Pfefferkorn, Is Neighborhood House Era Ending? Wisconsin State Journal, September 12, 1976.

126. Rosemary Kendrick, Neighborhood House To Be Closed, The Capital Times, June 25, 1976.

127. Headline images from: Robert Pfefferkorn, Is Neighborhood House Era Ending? Wisconsin State Journal, September 12, 1976; Ed Bark, Neighborhood House Goes Up For Sale, The Capital Times, August 27, 1976.

128. Gina Chirichella interview, 2015.

129. Residents Ask Neighborhood Center to Reconsider Closing, The Capital Times, July 15, 1976.

130. Ed Bark, Supporters Start Drive to Save Neighborhood Center, The Capital Times, August 4, 1976.

131. Ed Bark, Supporters Start Drive to Save Neighborhood Center, The Capital Times, August 4, 1976; Robert Pfefferkorn, Is Neighborhood House Era Ending? Wisconsin State Journal, September 12, 1976.

132. Ed Bark, Neighborhood House Goes Up For Sale, The Capital Times, August 27, 1976.

133. Robert Pfefferkorn, Is Neighborhood House Era Ending? Wisconsin State Journal, September 12, 1976.

134. December 14, 1976 memo from UNC director Mary Kay Baum to Neighborhood House advisory board and staff, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

135. Minutes of Neighborhood House Board Annual Meeting, February 17, 1977, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives, list Marge Chirichella as the director; Gina Chirichella interview, 2015.

136. David Eppstein interview, 2016.

137. Gruber Sets Fund-Raiser, The Capital Times, February 22, 1977.

138. Benefit Dinner, Wisconsin State Journal, May 12, 1977.

139. Thomas W. Still, Plan for Triangle center gets a push, Wisconsin State Journal May 16, 1978; George Hesselberg, Hope for multi-service center in Triangle fades, Wisconsin State Journal, August 19, 1979.

140. Older adult films at Neighborhood, The Capital Times, April 8, 1981.

141. Eddie Carthan Day Saturday, The Capital Times, February 15, 1985

142. Jury clears a former mayor in Mississippi killing of foe November 5, 1982, New York Times,

143. Citizen's Party offers an alternative: Smith, The Capital Times, March 18, 1980.

144. Neighborhood House News Mar-Apr, probably 1979 though no year is listed on the masthead, but only in an upcoming events listing inside, lists Eppstein as director, Neighborhood House archives; Neighborhood House News, January 1983 also lists Eppstein as director. Eppstein was listed as director in 1986-7 in the Neighborhood House Planning Document 1986-87, Neighborhood House archives, but Eppstein himself, in a 2016 interview, says he was director only until 1985. Since there is no clear record of Nancy Kelley's start date it is possible that she served as long as Eppstein,

145. Rosemary Kendrick, Can't afford something? Try SWAPping your talents for it, The Capital Times, April 5, 1980.

146. David Eppstein interview, March 22, 1016.

147. Benefit Concert, Wisconsin State Journal, May 28, 1981; David Eppstein interview, 2016.

148. Roger A. Gribble, Longfellow School's Closing Opposed, Wisconsin State Journal, March 23, 1971.

149. Crista Zivanovic, Groups charge bias in school closing plan, The Capital Times, November 9, 1979.

150. David Eppstein interview, March 22, 1016.

151. Crista Zivanovic, Groups charge bias in school closing plan, The Capital Times, November 9, 1979; A flyer, "Longfellow School, 1858-1979??", in the Neighborhood House archives, also refers to the Longfellow Community School Organization fighting the proposed closing, but the organization does not show up in the news reports.

152. Crista Zivanovic, DPI is asked to probe city school bias charges, The Capital Times, November 21, 1979.

153. Madison teachers will pay for cost of restraining order, Wisconsin State Journal, November 27, 1979.

154. Roger A. Gribble, DPI: No power to probe charges, Wisconsin State Journal, December 2, 1979.

155. Noah Paley, Federal unit to investigate school closings, Wisconsin State Journal, December 28, 1979.

156. Photo by James Steakley Own work [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons at

157. Robyn Curry, Decision on Longfellow School use is delayed, Wisconsin State Journal, February 19, 1980.

158. Rosemary Kendrick, Madison General gets OK for school, The Capital Times, December 16, 1980.

159. Richard W. Jaeger, Board took positive approach, Wisconsin State Journal, December 4, 1983.

160. Dianne M. Paley, Agency says board built bias, Wisconsin State Journal, June 27, 1983.

161. The Integration Plan, Wisconsin State Journal, September 16, 1984.

162. Death Notices, Wisconsin State Journal, January 16, 1981.

163. Griggs memorial gains backing, The Capital Times, March 15, 1981.

164. July 16, 1981 Community Development Authority of the City of Madison release, City of Madison Department of Planning and Development, Nov. 15, 1981, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

165. Neighborhood House Programming, 1981, unknown source--newspaper like, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

166. University Extension Yoga Classes, Wisconsin State Journal, June 11, 1982.

167. Free workshop on tenants rights offered, The Capital Times, November 16, 1983.

168. Learn some history on Tuesdays, Wisconsin State Journal, March 26, 1984.

169. Potters donate two works, The Capital Times, July 30, 1980.

170. Fireside Bus Outing Set, Wisconsin State Journal, August 6, 1980.

171. Special Events in Madison, Wisconsin State Journal, March 23, 1984.

172. General Interest, The Capital Times, December 2, 1983.

173. Preparations for the third annual Greenbush reunion, Image ID: 110431, Wisconsin Historical Society Archives,

174. Acts of Charity, Wisconsin State Journal, November 19, 1985.

175. Business helps, The Capital Times, March 17, 1986; David Eppstein interview, 2016.

176. Sunny Schubert, 67 years of giving refugees a boost, Wisconsin State Journal, June 23, 1983.

177. Joe Graf, Neighborhood centers feel financial pinch, Wisconsin State Journal, May 5, 1986.

178. Joe Graf, Neighborhood centers feel financial pinch, Wisconsin State Journal, May 5, 1986.

179. Neighborhood House Monthly Report, August 1987, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

180. UNC board meeting minutes August 3, 1989, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

181. UNC board meeting minutes, October 1981, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

182. Neighborhood House Planning Document 1987-87 United Neighborhood Centers Reorganization Task Force Meeting Minutes, August 31, 1981, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

183. UNC board of directors minutes August 27, 1987, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records; UNC meeting minutes September 8, 1987, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

184. August 19, 1987 letter from Neighborhood House Board of Directors to Nathaniel Robinson of UNC, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records , Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

185. UNC board meeting minutes beginning 1980, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

186. UNC board meeting minutes September 1, 1988, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives; UNC board meeting minutes January 19, 1989, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

187. UNC board of directors minutes of emergency board meeting September 14, 1987, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives; letter to Nat Robinson from mayor Sensenbrenner, October 4, 1988, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives; letter to Pat Van Gorp, from Leslie Ann Howard, United Way, October 5, 1988 , United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

188. Robb Johnson, S. Madison Center charts indpendence, The Capital Times, Jan 18, 1988; UNC Corporate Board of Directors Meeting June 9, 1988, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives. UNC representatives wanted Ed Holmes to be part-time director at SMNC and part time at Neighborhood House. SMPC representatives were not happy about that and the minutes refer to the meeting as "confrontational."

189. UNC Press Release April 26, 1988 , United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

190. Rosemary Kendrick, Bayview planning new $300,000 community center, The Capital Times, April 3, 1982.

191. Sunny Schubert, 67 years of giving refugees a boost, Wisconsin State Journal, June 23, 1983.

192. Sunny Schubert, 67 years of giving refugees a boost, Wisconsin State Journal, June 23, 1983.

193. Ray Kumapayi interview, 2014.

194. photo courtesy of Ray Kumapayi.

195. Cecilia Miranda interview, 2014.

196. Leslie Ann Busby-Amegashie interview, 2014.

197. October. 19, 1986 70th anniversary program, Neighborhood House archives. The city council passed a resolution commemorating the anniversary--Resolutions adopted, Wisconsin State Journal, December 11, 1986. We could find no media coverage of the event and thus we don't know its impact.

198. Neighborhood House Party, Wisconsin State Journal, September 28, 1990.

199. David Eppstein interview, 2016; May 1987 Neighborhood House Center Report to the UNC board, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives. It's unclear when Holmes actually started, but he first shows up in the May 1987 report.

2000. May 1987 NH Center Report to UNC board, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

201. Neighborhood House Center Report June 1987, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

202. letter to editor, hooray for teen pageant, Wisconsin State Journal, December 12, 1987.

203. Neighborhood House Center report to UNC board, November 1988, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

204. Neighborhood House Center report to UNC board, April 1988, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

205. Neighborhood House Center report to UNC board, October-November 1989, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

206. Neighborhood House Center report to UNC board, December 1989, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

207. Neighborhood House Center report to UNC board, January 1990, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

208. Neighborhood House Center report to UNC board, August 1989, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

209. Neighborhood committee meets tonight, Wisconsin State Journal, March 8, 1988.

210. Neighborhood House Center report to UNC board, April 1988, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

211. Neighborhood House Center report to UNC board, September 29 1988, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives. Holloway donated months of his time painting a mural across the entire wall of the gym at Neighborhood House.

212. This image is reconstructed from photographs in the Neighborhood House archives. The vertical lines show where the photos were pieced together. The biker and basketball player are not part of the mural. Reconstruction by Randy Stoecker

213. Tom Waller, Artist's mural is gift to kids, Wisconsin State Journal, June 27, 1990.

214. Neighborhood House Center report to UNC board, October-Nobember 1989, United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.

215. Dischord Records,

216. Fugazi Life Series,

217. anonymous quote told to a student researcher, 2014.

218. Anonymous quote at Also see Symphony of Ghosts blogpost, Fugazi Live Neighborhood House Madison WI June 19th 1990, posted on June 17, 2009,

219. Photo courtesy of Pat Graham and Fugazi

220. Tim Kelly, Neighborhood Centers are 'in trouble,' Wisconsin State Journal, June 28,1989.

21. Cap Times' choices for City Council, The Capital Times, March 30, 1989; the State Journal endorsed Bruer State Journal choices for City Council, Wisconsin State Journal, March 30, 1989; Seven of eight incumbents re-elected to City Council, Wisconsin State Journal, April 5, 1989.

222. memo from Kay Hendon to UNC Board, December 10, 1990,United Neighborhood Centers of Dane County, Inc. Records, Wisconsin Historical Society archives.