December 4, 1883: Reformer Stella Fuller Born
Social reformer Stella Fuller was born in Point Pleasant on December 4, 1883. After graduating from a Huntington business college, she worked for a law firm in Welch. At age 23, she returned to Huntington and became actively involved in the Salvation Army. Her work with the organization turned into an obsession. She even lived for 20 years in the group’s citadel building.
However, her independent leadership style often brought her into conflict with Salvation Army officials. For instance, she organized a softball team that played on Sundays in violation of the group’s rules. Salvation Army officials thought Fuller was wielding too much power and was insubordinate. As a result of the disagreement, she split from the group at age 59 and founded her own relief organization on Huntington’s Washington Avenue. The Stella Fuller Settlement became the city’s largest haven for the disadvantaged and homeless. She would play a prominent role with the settlement for the next 37 years. Stella Fuller died in 1981 at the age of 97. The settlement closed its doors in 2009, and the building that housed it burned down in 2012.