Neighbourhood social-welfare agency. The staff of a settlement house may sponsor clubs, classes, athletic teams, and interest groups; they may employ such specialists as vocational counselors and caseworkers. The settlement movement began with the founding of Toynbee Hall in London in 1884 by Samuel Augustus Barnett (1844–1913). It spread to the U.S. in the late 19th century with the establishment of such institutions as Chicago's Hull House (founded by Jane Addams). Many countries now have similar institutions. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, U.S. settlement houses were active among the masses of new immigrants and worked for reform legislation such as workers' compensation and child-labour laws.
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The Appalachian settlement schools were inspired by the settlement movement that started in London in the late 19th century and was represented in the United States by urban settlement houses, including Hull House in Chicago and the Henry Street Settlement in New York City.
Hindman Settlement School, in Hindman, Kentucky, was the first rural social settlement school in the United States, established in 1902 by May Stone and Katherine Pettit at the forks of Troublesome Creek in Knott County, Kentucky.
Pine Mountain Settlement School, in Pine Mountain, Kentucky, was founded by William Creech, Sr., in 1913. Creech, a local resident, donated land for the school and recruited Katherine Pettit and Ethel DeLong to establish and run the institution.
With the establishment of public schools in the region in the 1920s and 1930s, settlement schools relinquished their role in the general education of children. Pine Mountain was a boarding school for elementary and middle school-age children until about 1930, when it became a residential high school after public elementary schools were established in the region. Some settlement schools closed, but others assumed new functions over time. Hindman Settlement School offers adult education, including GED test preparation, and operates a tutorial program for people with dyslexia. Since the early 1970s Pine Mountain Settlement School has specialized in environmental education; it also has operated an elderhostel program.