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Iowa History Daily: February 27 - Flora Dunlap

Iowa History Daily: On February 27, 1872, important Iowa social worker, social reform activist, and advocate of women's suffrage, Flora Dunlap was born. Head of the Des Moines Roadside Settlement House, Dunlap also served as the first female member of the Des Moines Board of Education.

Born in Ohio and educated at Cincinnati Wesleyan College, Dunlap spent several years apprenticing in different settlement houses throughout the Midwest including the iconic Hull House in Chicago. Learning the ropes from the far-famed Jane Addams, Dunlap arrived in Des Moines to head the Des Moines Roadside Settlement in 1904.

The eight-year old settlement house located on Mulberry in the Des Moines business district struggled to find clients as downtown developed around the house. Relocating the South Bottoms near the Des Moines River and to the southeast of the State Capitol Building, Dunlap oversaw construction of a large, three-story brick building opened in 1906.Serving one of the poorest neighborhoods in Des Moines, Roadside Settlement House offered a variety of programming for people in the Des Moines community focused on education, training, and equality.

As the organization thrived in the new location, Dunlap ran for school board (and won) in 1912 with the help of women from all over the city. Also elected President of the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association in 1913, Dunlap visited more than 30 towns in 1913 to hold meetings advocating for Iowa women’s right to vote. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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