Our History

A Tradition of Caring

The Carrie Steele – Pitts Home (CSPH) is an extraordinary place with an extraordinary history. The Home’s founder, Mrs. Carrie Steele, was working as a maid at the Union Railroad Station in downtown Atlanta when she discovered that abandoned babied and children were being left at the station. She began to care for these children, placing them in an empty boxcar during the day and taking them home with her at night. In 1888, Mrs. Steele chartered the organization, eventually selling her home and generating additional funds from the community to build the first facility called the “Carrie Steele Orphan Home.”

In our organization’s long history, only four individuals have held the position of Executive Director. Soon after Mrs. Steele’s death in 1908, Mrs. Clara Maxwell Pitts became director and she served in this role for over 40 years. During this time, the Home became a United Way agency, moved to a larger facility on Roy Street in southwest Atlanta, and changed our name to the Carrie Steele – Pitts Home to honor Mrs. Pitts’ contributions to the Home.

In 1950, Mrs. Pitts’ daughter, Mrs. Mae Maxwell Yates took over the directorship, and she was responsible for moving CSPH to our current location at 667 Fairburn Road. Just before her retirement, Mrs. Pitts hired Ollivette Allison, a former CSPH resident, to serve as the Home’s first social worker and later the Director of Case Worker Services. Since 1976, Ms. Allison has been the Executive Director, providing inspired leadership with a strong commitment to new generations of children in the Atlanta community. The incredible continuity of leadership has allowed us to stay true to the mission and ideals of our founder.

Throughout the past century, we have reached out to thousands of children in need. The Carrie Steele – Pitts Home has made an incredible difference in the lives of children and adolescents, creating a living legacy: Children who have grown to become successful, productive adults. There have been countless success stories of college graduations, happy marriages and outstanding careers. Tearful, joyous return visits to Carrie Steele – Pitts Home. It is a legacy of love.

A Truly Special Family

Bobby Jones, a former resident of Carrie Steele – Pitts Home, began working at the Home in 1961 as an athletic coach and superintendent of buildings and grounds. Since Bobby spent part of his childhood at the Home, he had a special affinity for the children and often engaged them to help him with routine maintenance and tasks. One little boy, Richard, became Bobby’s regular helper, and Bobby even bought him a child-size tool belt for carrying his own tools. Now, decades later, Richard is the CSPH groundskeeper. He enjoys bringing the kids along with him when repairs screens, fixes leaky drain pipes, and mends broken door hinges. Often three young boys follow him around the grounds, tools in hand. Richard knows that he has a significant lesson to teach, a lesson that he learned from Bobby Jones years ago. Richard is never too busy to explain how his work is done. His work may be their work one day.