Celebrating 70 years! 1947 – 1957

1947 to Today

As of this month, we’re marking 70 years since a group of forward-thinking women incorporated Peninsula Volunteers, Inc., and with that action started an organization that continues to serve the needs of seniors on the San Francisco Peninsula to this day. To honor this milestone, we will be taking a look back through the seven decades of our history, and looking forward at what’s to come for PVI and our programs serving seniors. Here’s a look at our first decade, 1947-1957, which saw the creation of Little House at a time when there almost no facilities catering to the needs of older adults anywhere in the country.

Couples dancing and singing at Little House in 1955.

In 1949, the first Little House opened its doors at 630 Menlo Ave. in a rental house.

Little House was the first suburban senior center built in the United States with a purpose:  to be charitable and foster community welfare.  Starting with 7 members, it was indeed a little house.  Today, Little House serves over 3,500 people annually.  Little House strives to enrich the lives of older adults in the mid-peninsula by keeping them physically, intellectually, socially and culturally active while sustaining their independence and connecting with the larger community.


Turnabout Shop

Later that year in 1949, the first turnabout shop opened in South Palo Alto selling gently used clothing to earn funds for PVI.

Volunteers Ran The Shop

PV members were the sales force that kept the shop running. They rented a building, stocked it with clothing, shoes, and other items. They donated the clothes and sold the merchandise.

In 1951, Little House relocated to larger quarters at 930 Santa Cruz Ave because needed more space was needed.

In 1954, Little House moves into its current location exclusively built for seniors.

In an effort to ensure that those who helped build our community could continue to live in their community with purpose and dignity, the founders established an organization dedicated to improving their quality of life.  Decades before others were focusing on seniors, these pioneers decided to create high quality and nurturing programs for the aging that were sorely needed then, and more so now.

To learn more please visit us at: www.penvol.org

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