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FIVE POINTS HOUSE OF INDUSTRY - 1872

The Five Points House of Industry is situated on 155 Worth Street, diagonally opposite the Home Mission.  It consists of two large brick edifices, covering an area about 100 feet square. This Mission was begun by the Rev. L. M. Pease, the same gentleman who was in charge of the Home Mission at the time of the purchase of the “Old Brewery.”  He conceived a different plan for the management of the Home Mission from that determined upon by the ladies, and finding cooperation impossible, resigned his position, and began his labors afresh, according to his own plan, and trusting entirely to the generosity of the public for his support.  He was ably assisted by his good wife in carrying out his plan. 

He began with one room, and in 1853 was able to hire five houses, which he filled with the occupants of the wretched hovels in the vicinity.  He procured work for them, such as needle-work, basket-making, baking, straw-work, shoe-making, etc.  He made himself personally responsible to the persons giving the work for its safe return.  The expenses of the Mission were then, as now, paid from the profits of this work, and the donations of persons interested in the scheme.  Five hundred persons were thus supported.  Schools were opened, children were taught, clothed and fed, and religious services were regularly conducted.

In 1854, the health of Mr. Pease began to fail under his herculean labors.  He had carried his enterprise to a successful issue, however.  He had done good to thousands, and had won friends for the institution, who were resolved, and possessed of the means, to carry it on.  A Society was incorporated for the conduct of the Mission, and, in 1856, the larger of the present buildings was erected.  In 1869, the edifice was increased to its present size.  Heavy donations were made to the institution by Mr. Sickles, who gave $20,000, and Mr. Chauncy Rose, who gave $10,000, and it was constantly in receipt of smaller sums, which made up an aggregate sufficient to provide for its wants.  Its progress has been onward and upward, and it is a noble monument to the energy and Christian charity of Mr. Pease, its founder.

 The main work of the Mission is with the children, but it also looks after the adults of the quarter in which it is located.  There are about two hundred children residing in the building.  These have been taken from the cellars and garrets of the Five Points.  Two hundred more, children of the very poor, are in attendance upon the schools.  All are clothed and fed here.  Besides being educated, they are taught useful trades.  The House is supported partly by voluntary contributions and partly by the labor of its inmates.

Besides the children, there are always about forty destitute women, who would otherwise be homeless, residing in the building.  The annual number thus sheltered is about six hundred.  They are provided with situations as servants as rapidly as possible.  Since its opening, sixteen years ago, the House has sheltered and provided for 20,000 persons.  The number of lodgings furnished yearly is about 90,000, and the daily number of meals averages 1000.  Since 1856, 4,135,218 meals have been given to the poor.  No one is ever turned away hungry, and sometimes as many as 150 persons, men and women, driven to the doors of the House by hunger, may be seen seated at its table at the dinner hour.

From: “Lights and Shadows of New York life; or, the sights and sensations of a great city.” by James D. Mccabe, Jr

IMAGE:

Five Points House of Industry in 1893 on Worth Street opposite Paradise Square