Mérida is located in the Northwest part of the state of Yucatán, which occupies
the northern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula. To the east is the state of Quintana Roo, to the west is the state of Campeche, to the north is the Gulf of Mexico, and far to the south is the state of Chiapas. The city is also located in the Chicxulub Crater. It has a very flat topography and
is only 30 feet (9 m) above sea level. The land outside of Mérida is covered with smaller scrub trees and former henequen fields. Almost no surface water exists, but several cenotes (underground springs and rivers) are found across the state. Mérida has a centro historico typical of colonial Spanish cities. The street grid is based on odd-numbered streets running
east/west and even-numbered streets running north/south, with Calles 60 and 61
bounding the "Plaza Grande" in the heart of the city. The more affluent
neighborhoods are located to the north and the most densely populated areas are
to the south. The Centro Historico area is becoming increasingly popular with
American and other expats who are rescuing and restoring the classic colonial
structures. The Los Angeles Times recently noted this surge of interest in
rescuing Mérida's historic downtown.
Hull House, Chicago's first and the nation's most influential settlement house, was established by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr on the Near West Side on September 18, 1889. By 1907, the converted 1856 mansion had expanded to a massive 13-building complex covering nearly a city block. The new structures included a gymnasium, theater, art gallery, music school, boys' club, auditorium, cafeteria, cooperative residence for working women, kindergarten, nursery, libraries, post office, meeting and club rooms, art studios, kitchen, and a dining room and apartments for the residential staff. Attracting thousands of people each week from the surrounding neighborhood, the expanded Hull House complex provided space for the settlement's extensive social, educational, and artistic programs. Under Addams's skillful leadership, Hull House achieved recognition as the best-known settlement house in the United States and became the flagship of a movement that included nearly five hundred settlements nationally by 1920.