St. John's History

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For over 100 years St. John’s has provided a wide array of living options and health care services for seniors.

history_photo1 for web.jpgFounded in 1889, St. John’s Home was established by a collection of German-speaking churches in Rochester (Lutheran and Congregational).  The churches sought to establish a home where their aging and vulnerable mothers and fathers would receive good care.  After the example of John (later called St. John by the church), the “Altenheim of the Johannes-Stift,” translated, “the Home for the Elderly of the St. John’s Association,” was created.  The first site was located at 547 Lake Avenue, however, as need outgrew space, horticulturist George Ellwanger donated his mansion near Highland Park to St. John’s in 1900. Over the years, the mansion was replaced, and in 1937, the name was changed to St. John’s Home for the Aged. 

1960 brought the addition of a new wing housing administrative offices, craft rooms, lounges, and an auditorium.  In addition, 71 resident rooms were also built.  In 1962, St. John’s Home for the Aged changed its name to St. John’s Home for the Aging and a new 64-unit apartment complex was built, with Buildings A,B,C, and D.  (The remaining building is the current site of ’s Day Care Center, which opened in 2002.)history_photo2 for web.jpg

In 1972, a complete health care center was developed, including 230 skilled nursing beds and specialty programs. A 170-bed health-related facility was built in 1975.  Also that year, Day Break Adult Day Services was opened, which was the first medical model day service in Monroe County, and the ice cream shop opened.  In 1995, construction began on a major renovation and expansion of St. John’s Home, resulting in the creation of the Hastings Building and the addition of new skilled nursing beds, bringing the total at the time to 475.

St. John’s Foundation was founded in 1992 to develop financial resources for the family of St. John’s services and programs, and to support other health-related programs for elders in the Rochester area.  Funds raised through St. John’s Foundation allow St. John’s to provide ongoing support for a myriad of social programs, creative and recreational arts therapy, spiritual and religious programs, concerts by regional and local musicians, and other activities that provide joy and enhance the lives of elders in all of our senior communities. St. John's Home celebrated the grand opening of St. John's Meadows, a beautiful new residential community offering a variety of lifestyle choices to Rochester's seniors, in October 1998.  

history_photo3 for web.jpgIn 1999, St. John's Meadows received the Merit Achievement Award from the National Council on Seniors Housing of the National Association of Home Builders. In particular, the judges commended the range of lifestyle options and living choices available to seniors on one campus.  Today, St. John’s Meadows in Brighton offers independent living in private, two-bedroom cottages and apartments, fine dining, and apartments with health care services at the Hawthorne.  Enhancements in the past years have included the addition of Meadowville Central, a garden “G” gauge railroad, a covered walkway connecting two of the four communities, and the introduction of LifeBio, a program that helps elders write their autobiographies. 

In 2003, St. John’s Home became Rochester’s and New York State’s only registered Eden Alternative nursing home. The mission of St. John’s Home was renewed in the context of the Eden Principles a year later. This brought a radical new approach to skilled nursing care, with a philosophy, organizational structure, and architecture that was crafted to remove institutionalization from long-term care. 

brickstone_web1.jpgIn 2006, planning began for a new community with the intention of developing senior living residences following the principles of New Urbanism. Among the benchmarks of a New Urbanism community are a diverse range of housing options, a community that is walkable, and an identifiable center or focal point of the neighborhood.   On August 13, 2008, St. John’s presented a formal proposal to the Brighton Town Board for Brickstone, a 102-unit senior housing community to be built on Elmwood Ave, immediately west of its St. John’s Meadows complex.  The name Brickstone refers to Brighton’s 19th century brick making industry. Construction began in 2011 and continued through 2013, with the first elders moving in to their new homes in 2012. 

green_home_web1.jpgOpening in February 2012, THE GREEN HOUSE® Homes in Penfield made history by creating a completely new concept in nursing homes--home-like facilities integrated into an existing community. St. John’s two Green House homes offer all the services of a traditional nursing home in a ranch-style home for 20 elders each, nestled within a neighborhood setting.  At this time, creation of these homes by St. John’s represented cutting-edge innovation for senior services industry as these were the first in the nation to be integrated into an existing community.

Today, St. John’s continues on its journey to lead and inspire a shift in society’s view of elderhood by embracing and celebrating life’s experiences.