Co-Living, the Hot New Trend of 1898


Eleanor Club, Chicago / Wikimedia Commons

Chicago’s “Eleanor Clubs” were designed to give young, working women affordable and congenial places to live.


By Livia Gershon


The PodShare company offers a new way for young people try out living in expensive cities without long-term commitment. They provide a bunk bed in a shared room, a locker, toiletries, and ramen at a cost of $1,200 a month.

To some, this conjures up dystopian visions of a privacy-less future. But it also echoes something that happened more than one hundred years ago, when many young people were flooding into U.S. cities. Scholar Jeanne Catherine Lawrence describes how philanthropist Ina Robertson created boardinghouses branded as “Eleanor Clubs” for young working women.

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