The Anathan House was a recreational center for elderly people. It was likely the first senior center in the Pittsburgh area and one of the first such facilities nationally.
The National Council of Jewish Women-Pittsburgh Section started the Council Lounge for Older People in 1949 in a rented room on the second floor of 5824 Forbes Avenue in Squirrel Hill. The initial funds came from Bessie Anathan, who purchased $5,000 in raffle tickets during an early fundraiser for the project. The lounge was non-sectarian and open to anyone over the age of 60. Early activities included games, productions, movies, and lectures with many of the programs arranged by those who frequented the facility.
By the early 1960s, the Council Lounge for Older People had outgrown its accommodations on Forbes Avenue. Bessie Anathan purchased the former Maimonides Institute building at 1620 Murray Ave. and donated the building to the NCJW-Pittsburgh Section to create the Anathan House, which was dedicated in September 1963. The new Anathan House also became the administrative home of the NCJW-Pittsburgh Section.
In an effort to reduce duplication of services for the elderly, the United Jewish Federation sponsored a self-study in the early 1970s of the Anathan House and similar services offered by the Y-IKC. The self-study led to a merger of the two programs in early 1974.