The late 1800s were a time of great transformation in American society as invention, industrialization and urbanization accelerated following the Civil War. In urban areas the amenities of indoor plumbing, electricity and labor-saving devices improved life for many.
Rapid urbanization and industrialization, however, also led to many problems and created a class of working poor. These two trends met in an interesting way. The challenges of industrialization and urbanization awakened a spirit among people of faith called the Social Gospel Movement, which called them to live out their creeds by helping the less fortunate. At the same time, amenities of urban life allowed middle and upper class women time to do just that.
The resulting women’s club movement saw women founding organizations, not only for their own enjoyment and edification, but for helping their fellow human beings. In an era before any safety net—social security, housing or food assistance—these women’s organizations provided for those who were in need, were ill or disabled, were hungry or cold.
Now a 100-year-old lady herself, the Mary Warren Home is getting a new lease on life. This time the rooms will be filled with college students aspiring to become physicians.
Currently undergoing a restoration that will meet historical certification standards, the dignified brick home will once again be part of neighborhood life. While the Monte Sano Streetcar Line no longer runs, the Georgia Regents University shuttle passes by many times each day.
Surely this historic place will be a comfortable home for its new residents, as it was for the hundreds of women who found respite there for so many years.