Our History

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History of United Church Homes

At United Church Homes, “Celebrating the Spirit” is not just a tagline, it’s a commitment. In fact, long before becoming United Church Homes, the organization was hard at work creating a community based on values like integrity, respect, dignity, spirituality, inclusiveness and compassion — values that create a solid platform for person-centered care.

Ever since 1916, when Matthew and Jane Smith donated 168 acres in Holland, Ohio, to build a “fair haven” for seniors, our calling as been to foster an environment of purposeful living. Today, United Church Homes is extending this hospitality to people of all faiths, gender expression and sexual orientations, as outlined by the United Church Homes board.

On May 25, 1920, when staff and residents moved to what would later be called “Fairhaven” in Upper Sandusky, the vision began to take root. Almost before building could be completed, word of the comfortable grounds and excellent care spread and applications poured in. What began as a home for seven residents was quickly amended and plans were made for an expansion. Today, the organization serves thousands of seniors in 67 communities and Fairhaven remains a beacon of light in the United Church Homes family of residences.

Through challenging times, our optimistic spirit and resiliency resulted in continued growth rather than decline, even through the Great Depression. Sound fiscal stewardship created a lasting legacy of responsible management that is a hallmark of the company. As we expand our ministry and search for ways to improve care, we also continue to celebrate not only the spirit of seniors, but the spirit of the organization as well.

Key points in our history include:

  • 1963
    The Board honors the memory of Matthew and Jane Smith and renames the Home of the Aged to Fairhaven, reflecting the original vision of providing a ‘fair haven’ for seniors.
  • 1964
    Chapel Hill is dedicated on June 21 after a gift of land from Mr. and Mrs. Clarence J. Swallen of Canal Fulton. It is the first time the Board seriously considers expansion outside the Fairhaven property and has the means to do so. Pleased to be able to serve the “eastern part of the state,” the Board begins intentional expansion.
  • 1966
    Riverview Community in Cincinnati opens its doors. Riverview is made possible by a bequest of 18 acres by Miss Helene Guntrum.
  • 1969
    The Board votes to acquire Trinity Community of Beavercreek in Dayton and continue work already in progress.
  • 1970
    The Altenheim of Indianapolis becomes part of United Church Homes. Almost immediately, plans are made to build a new community in order to meet the increasing demand for health care services.
  • 1974
    United Church Homes opens its fifth residential and health care community with the ribbon cutting at Trinity Community of Beavercreek. Later that same year, the newly completed Altenheim Community holds its ribbon cutting.
  • 1984
    United Church Homes expands its outreach to housing communities by co-sponsoring a new housing community in Canal Winchester, Ohio. Soon after, on May 1, 1985, United Church Homes enters into a joint partnership to assume ownership and management of Firelands Retirement Center, Inc.
  • 1992
    The Community at Parkvue, a residential living community, opens its doors. This is made possible by the care and support of Parkvue’s benefactress and founder, Mrs. Ruth F. Parker. Parkvue’s healthcare center opens in 1995.
  • 2000
    Four Winds Community and Patriot Ridge Community join the United Church Homes family.
  • 2008 and 2009
    The nation’s economic environment creates challenges for United Church Homes. Reluctantly, United Church Homes divests Riverview Community located in Cincinnati, Ohio and The Altenheim Community located in Indianapolis, Indiana, as well as a few Housing Communities.
  • 2010
    United Church homes experiences a financial recovery allowing us to look ahead and plan for the future.
  • 2011
    John Stoner, formerly vice president of financial services, is promoted to senior vice president and chief financial officer. This move signals a greater emphasis on strategic planning and financial repositioning of United Church Homes.
  • 2012
    The Rev. Kenneth Daniel is installed as president and CEO. An ordained UCC minister as well as an experienced senior living leader, Daniel’s vision is to align United Church Homes’ goals with long-term financial viability, while affirming the spiritual heritage of the organization.

The Future

United Church Homes will continue to grow and diversify our portfolio in key geographic regions, but our core mission will remain the same. As we expand our services in the residential and health care profession, we’re building on a rich commitment to personal and spiritual growth. For nearly a century, we’ve been celebrating the spirit — of seniors, of our team members and of our communities. In the decades to come, the celebration will continue.