The Portland Civic Club (now the Woodfords Club), with some funding from the Portland Board of Health, operated an infant milk station and free dispensary in the basement of this building from 1911 to 1918. The purpose was to reduce infant mortality by substituting milk from certified diaries for unregulated milk. A public health nurse, Lillian O’Donahue, ran the program, which included home visits to educate mothers in hygienic child care.
In September 1916, a group of public spirited women, led by Hilda Ives, had instituted a nutrition campaign in Portland. Their goal was better health care for babies. This group opened the Milk Station in City Hall on May 7, 1917 under the direction of Katherine L. Quinn, Portland’s first trained public health nurse and run by Donahue. During the year 1919, the women recognized a need for a service that would provide day care in the community. It evolved into the Catherine Morrill Day Nursery (site S18).