Easterseals Local History

Easterseals Capital Region & Eastern Connecticut has a long and proud record of delivering extraordinary care and programs to some of the most vulnerable in the community. For 75 years, we have been a leader in expanding access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities for those with disabilities and our veteran population striving for full access and inclusion.

Incorporated in 1948, Easterseals Capital Region & Eastern Connecticut had humble beginnings in a small space on Franklin Avenue in Hartford with two paid staff, a handful of dedicated volunteers, and essential equipment contributed by various service clubs, foundations, and corporations. The organization, initially called the Hartford Community Workshop, had a primary caseload focused on treating patients with tuberculosis which later evolved to rehabilitation services for individuals with disabilities. From these simple beginnings, the organization has grown exponentially to become one of the primary providers of vocational and rehabilitation services, as well as veterans’ services in the state. 

Some milestones reached along the way include:

  • The incorporation of the Hartford Easter Seal Rehabilitation Center on Franklin Avenue in Hartford in 1948.

  • In 1954, Easterseals expanded to a larger, more prominent Harford location on Holcomb Street.

  • In 1976, Easterseals invented the HeadLite, a firefighting headlamp designed and produced in an Easterseals sheltered workshop program and manufactured by the organization for over 20 years.

  • In 1983 the organization was certified as a Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facility, a designation the organization continues to hold today.

  • In 1991, Easterseals moved to its current location on Deerfield Road in Windsor, Connecticut and its building maintenance service, currently known as EnviroClean, was developed to train and employ people with significant disabilities.

  • In 1998, to better reflect the growth of the services and geography served, the organization changed its name to Easter Seals Greater Hartford Rehabilitation Center.

  • In 2008, EnviroShred was founded as an Easter Seals Social Enterprise Business.

  • In 2009, as a result of the reorganization of some Easterseals affiliates in Connecticut, the organization took on programs and services in Eastern Connecticut, and subsequently changed its name to Easter Seals Capital Region & Eastern Connecticut, which was changed again in 2017 to reflect the national branding of Easterseals from two words to one.

  • In 2018, Easterseals Capital Region & Eastern Connecticut began providing transitional housing to veterans in need at its Rocky Hill location.

  • On Veterans Day in 2021, Easterseals Veterans Rally Point, a national model and center of excellence opened to serve veterans, active-duty military, guard, reserve, and families


Today, the organization provides a wide range of high-quality programs for nearly 1,500 patients, clients, and families every year. With our services in education, healthcare, and employment, we provide essential services and on-the-ground support through all stages of life. Click here to see our wide array of programs.

Easterseals Capital Region & Eastern Connecticut is one of 70 independent affiliates in the US. Through our national network of affiliates, Easterseals provides essential services and on-the-ground supports to more than 1.5 million people each year — from early childhood programs for the critical first five years, to autism services, to medical rehabilitation and employment programs, to veterans’ services, and more. Our public education, policy, and advocacy initiatives positively shape perceptions and address the urgent and evolving needs of the one in four Americans living with disabilities today. Together, we’re empowering people with disabilities, families and communities to be full and equal participants in society.

For complete Easterseals Capital Region & Eastern Connecticut history, click here.

Easterseals National History

Easterseals founder Edgar Allen

In 1907, Ohio-businessman Edgar Allen lost his son in a streetcar accident. The lack of adequate medical services available to save his son prompted Allen to sell his business and begin a fund-raising campaign to build a hospital in his hometown of Elyria, Ohio. Through this new hospital, Allen was surprised to learn that children with disabilities were often hidden from public view. Inspired to make a difference, in 1919 Allen founded the National Society for Crippled Children, the first organization of its kind.

In the spring of 1934, the organization launched its first Easter "seals" campaign to raise money for its services. To show their support, donors placed the seals on envelopes and letters. Cleveland Plain Dealer cartoonist J.H. Donahey designed the first seal. Donahey based the design on a concept of simplicity because those served by the charity asked "simply for the right to live a normal life." The lily - a symbol of spring - was officially incorporated as the National Society for Crippled Children’s logo in 1952 for its association with new life and new beginnings.

Click here for the full Story of Easterseals.