In 1929, Mrs. Cema Chreitzberg shared concerns with her friends in Spartanburg, SC when she learned that many preschool children were left at home and unsupervised while their mothers were away at work.
She worked with members of the Bethel Methodist Church Women’s Missionary Society and local Black leaders of Spartanburg to establish the Bethlehem Center in 1930. Community leaders were confronted with inadequate housing, unpaved streets, insufficient care for preschool children and high juvenile delinquency in the Highland Community of Spartanburg. Their goal included addressing and improving the living conditions of the Highland Community and meeting the needs of the community with their initial programs focused on kindergarten, afternoon clubs and a playground.
The Bethlehem Center relocated in 1950. A new building was erected by the Women’s Division of Christian Service of the Methodist Church. Our current site is located at 397 Highland Avenue and was dedicated on October 1, 1950. The Bethlehem Center has remained in the Highland Community and continues to faithfully provided services and programs for members of the Highland Community as well as the other surrounding areas of Spartanburg County.
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