In the late 1970s, Jayne Mazzarella, a nurse working at Cleveland’s Women’s General Hospital, began to recognize the prevalence of substance abuse among her patients. A strong advocate with ties to the recovery community, Ms. Mazzarella mustered the financial, political and grassroots support necessary to open a ten bed women’s halfway house in 1978 . Hitchcock was originally housed in a home on Magnolia Drive donated by the Hitchcock family. The need for expanded space and treatment options exploded throughout the 1980s with the advent of crack cocaine. Through the continuing efforts of Ms. Mazzarella and the agency’s board, staff and volunteers, the agency purchased the former St. Mary’s Seminary on Ansel Road in Cleveland’s near east side from the Cleveland Catholic Diocese in 1992.

“Where Healing Begins” is much more than a slogan at Hitchcock Center for Women. It’s the way we go about our business, the business of helping women help themselves for a better life.

For nearly 40 years, we have been able to provide services to thousands of women and their families.   Many of these women have returned the love by volunteering through our HCFW Alumnae Council.

The Original Building – St. Mary’s Seminary
This facility is comprised of over 200 rooms and totals more than 95,000 square feet. Ground was broken for the seminary by Bishop Shrembs in 1924 on an eleven-acre site, adjacent to University Circle. Built in the Spanish Mission architectural style with buff colored tapestry brick, it took nearly two years to complete the complex. Designed by Franz Werner, there were private rooms for 150 students as well as professors, classrooms, a refectory (dining room), kitchens, lounges, library and a gymnasium. The Chapel was dedicated in 1925. Architectural features of the building include:

The Chapel
A separate but central wing, the chapel is enclosed between two monastic courtyards. From the ornamental iron grill entrance, to the side walls lined with imported travertine marble, to the open timbered ceiling, the chapel is a work of art. The fourteen Stations of the Cross are made of bronze and were cast in Germany. Twenty-four stained glass windows, by Zettler of Munich, depict the Evangelists, major prophets and the Latin and Greek Fathers and Doctors of the Church. The apse, semi-circular, vaulted projection at the front of the chapel, is a mosaic of hand-laid colored glass and illustrates the Presentation of Mary in the Temple. The entire chapel is a sanctuary with seating arranged in a choir fashion.

The Library
Designed in the Spanish style, the domed library is decorated with stained glass, marble, wrought-metal grill work and carved oak. Frescoes line the rotunda. There are shelves to house 40,000 volumes of books.

The Refectory
Directly behind the chapel and overlooking the park, the refectory is designed in a style in keeping with Spanish architecture. Unfinished plastered walls and wood-style ceiling beams characterize this area. Paintings line the walls, including one that was a gift of Archbishop Hoban. A priests’ refectory adjoins the students’ refectory. Underneath this area are the kitchens and a dumbwaiter system that is still working today.

The Courtyards
In keeping with the general architecture, the two courtyards are in the style of a Spanish garden. They serve the purpose of affording light and air for the inside rooms as well as providing a place of meditation and relaxation.