Tau Beta Community House
3056 Hanley , Hamtramck, Michigan
Guide to the Wolverine State by the Writers Program 1941 page 287:
opened in 1928 as the main unit of the Tau Beta Community Center, is a two-story half-timbered structure designed by Smith , Hinchman and Grylls. The building is headquarters for the many activities of the center, chief of which is classes in music, fine and commercial art, dramatics, folk and modern dancing, homemaking, and general crafts, as well as such departmental services as social and athletic clubs, the operation of a day nursery, a summer camp, a summer play-school, and a social service center. The scope of interests partly indicates the prominent role the center has performed in the Americanization of Hamtramck's large polyglot population.
The main section of the first floor in the community house is an auditorium equipped with a stage and motion-picture apparatus. The second floor contains a model apartment, cooking and sewing rooms, two clubrooms, and a classroom for art and music study. In the basement are a gymnasium, a crafts room for pottery making, and the offices of the Visiting Nurses Association. The community house serves, incidentally, as a teaching center of Wayne University.
When members of the Tau Beta Association became aware, in 1916, of the need for a settlement house in Hamtramck, they stationed a visiting housekeeper and traveling nurse in a five-room flat near the present center. The first house-staff consisted of a nurse and a recreational director. In 1920, a tow-story stucco structure was built across the street from the present community house. It served as headquarters for eight years and houses the day nursery, the library-which in 1924 was taken over by the city and renamed the Hamtramck Public Library--the Council of Social Agencies offices, and classes in woodcraft and auto mechanics. Adjoining the main building is a cottage of complementary design, built in 1923 to house the staff, which now includes 7 full-time paid social workers and 13 part-time paid workers, in addition to 20 Tau Beta members and 12 nonmembers who donate their services.
Most of Tau Beta's activities are supported by the Detroit Community Fund. The summer camp-Hamtramck Tau Beta Camp, at Columbiaville, Michigan, where children are kept for two-week periods either for a small fee or entirely free, is supported by funds supplied by other Hamtramck service groups, members of the Tau Beta Association, and private citizens. The summer play-school --conducted on the playfield, the community-house roof-garden, and in the house proper-- accommodates 100 children between 5 and 10 years of age, and is maintained by a board member of the Tau Beta Association. The city of Hamtramck pays the deficit in the operation of the day nursery. Although the association began by attending only to the needs of the younger populace, its activities have proved of equal interest to the adults. In 1938, the center had a combined attendance of 186,452.