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About Us


From the very beginning, we have been devoted to quality care for young children…


In September 1916, a group of public-spirited women, led by Hilda Ives, instituted a nutrition campaign for babies. This group then opened a Milk Station in May 1917 under the direction of Katherine L. Quinn, Portland’s first trained public health nurse. In 1919, the women recognized a need for custodial care for children in the community and established a day nursery called Portland Baby Hygiene and Child Welfare Association.


In March 1920, Catherine Morrill Day Nursery was named in memory of the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Burnham Morrill. Miss Morrill had been a devoted, loyal and beloved volunteer at the Nursery. In 1922, Mrs. Franklin Payson and her son, Donald, purchased our current location at 96 Danforth Street and donated it in memory of Mrs. Payson’s sister, Mrs. Margaret Ella Chamberlain.


As the years have passed, we have worked diligently to meet the challenges of the times, in keeping with the original mission “to provide quality care for Portland’s Children.”

And now…

Today, the Nursery is steeped in history and expectant of what the future may bring. We have grown from a custodial care service to a nationally accredited program that promotes young children’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional development.

“You are all great listeners and offer a lot of love for the children. Thank you for all your energy, effort and continuous mission. Keep up your great work. You are a special place.”

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