Part 3 of 3
Submitted by Joan Bittner Fry
From History of Maryland Classis of the Reformed Church in Maryland by Rev. Guy P. Bready (1938)
The establishment of an old folk’s home at Hagerstown was a Synodical Project from the beginning, but it has a special meaning for Maryland Classis for the reason that the funds for its founding and maintenance were given by a delegate elder from one of its Charges; because it is situated in Maryland Classis territory and a majority of the members of its board are either members of Classis or are members of its congregations.
The project had its beginning in 1924, when Mr. George C. Pearson, delegate elder from the Cavetown Charge, asked Classis to overture Potomac Synod to establish an old folk’s home somewhere within the territory of Synod. The overture, which reached the Synod in due time, received favorable attention, but Synod took no action to proceed with the undertaking because there was no immediate prospect of adequate financial support.
After Mr. Pearson‘s death, it was found that he had bequeathed almost his entire estate to the Synod for the support of a Home. In Salisbury, North Carolina, in 1930, Synod elected a board of directors, which soon secured a charter and proceeded to administer the funds received from the estate in accordance with the wishes of the donor. By April 15, 1931, the amount received from Elder Pearson’s estate was $82,761.22.
After a number of locations had been considered, the board of directors purchased a property in the southwestern suburbs of Hagerstown for $14,950. The old folk’s home, under the name of “Homewood” was dedicated June 7, 1933, in the presence of members of the Potomac Synod. February 1, 1937, Rev. Walter R. Hartzell became the home’s first superintendent. The president of the board of directors was Rev. Scott R. Wagner of Zion’s Church in Hagerstown. Mr. Eugene A. Spessard of Cavetown, the late Mr. Pearson‘s home, was secretary of the board.
Homewood at Frederick first operated as a nursing home in 1979 in the former Francis Scott Key Hotel in downtown Frederick. It moved to its current location in 2000. Homewood at Crumland Farms provides residential options for independent and assisted-living retirees, as well as those in need of health care services.
Since 1932, Homewood communities have been revolutionizing the way people view aging. America’s older adults are more active than ever, so Homewood has adapted to their changing needs by creating amenity-rich campuses that cater to virtually every preference. Homewood was founded in 1932.
Today, five communities are owned and operated by Homewood Retirement Centers, Inc. Those five are Homewood at Williamsport in Williamsport, Maryland; Homewood at Crumland Farms in Frederick, Maryland; Homewood Communities at Plum Creek in Hanover, Pennsylvania; Homewood at Martinsburg, in Martinsburg, West Virginia; and Homewood at Spring House Estates in Everett, Pennsylvania. From humble beginnings, this enterprise has touched many people thanks to the generosity of a true Christian, Mr. George C. Pearson.