The Alta House Social Settlement, founded in 1895 by John D. Rockefeller and his daughter (Alta), began as a support organization for Italian immigrants to the Mayfield-Murray Hill area, known today as Little Italy, of Cleveland, OH. The Alta House initially provided a nursery and kindergarten for the community, adding a library, youth campus and playground in the early 1920s. The goal was to provide services to families in the area, giving the youth of the community a place to learn and socialize while their parents worked.
By 1970, many renovations had taken place including addition of a banquet room, kitchen facilities, lounge area, lobby and preschool. In the 1980s, as the Little Italy population grew older, the Alta House expanded its Elderly Services Program that included: Meals-On-Wheels, homemaking support, transportation, shopping and field trips. In the 1990s, the Alta House focused on diversifying funding, community outreach and program expansion beyond Little Italy into the greater Cleveland area. These expansions included comprehensive senior services, youth services, community services and recreational programs.
In 2000, the Alta House created a five-year, organizational plan. The Alta House dedicated itself to be an established leader, partner and advocate among community organizations, and provide high quality programs to all community members.
The opportunity to partner with Cleveland Montessori School presented itself in 2015. Together the two organizations renovated the aging Alta House facility and the school moved its operations to the building in January 2016. This partnership has allowed both organizations to continue and build on their missions of serving the Little Italy / University Circle area as an educational, cultural, recreational and social service agency for all ages within this community.
Alta House, as Northern Ohio’s Italian Cultural Center in Little Italy, is dedicated to the preservation and enrichment of Italian culture and heritage, a social and local community center offering guidance, programs and related services to individuals and organizations strengthening the Italian American community, and supporting the continual progressive development of the Little Italy area by working together with residents, businesses, government and like-minded organizations.