As Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America celebrates its 65th anniversary, we will take a look back at our history in each issue of Community Matters.
From 1949 to 1955, Newton Presbyterian Manor grew quickly.
By October 1949, the house at 1100 E. Seventh was full, and Newton Presbyterian Manor had a waiting list. The board of trustees voted to rent another, larger house, at 1403 N. Main, as a stop-gap measure while they considered what to do next. The house at 1403 N. Main was called the Wood’s Annex, and a matron was installed there to oversee care of the residents.
The board was very interested in building. Architect Glen H. Thomas, a member of Wichita First Presbyterian Church, was employed to prepare plans for a unit in
In October 1950, the Synod approved those plans. At that same meeting, the Presbyterian Synod adopted a new method of support for missions which included the Kansas Benevolence Budget. A portion of the Kansas Benevolence Budget was designated for Presbyterian Manor and was used in part to support construction. M.R. Stauffer Construction was awarded the contract to Newton campus grows Quickly build the unit with a bid of $89,600. Ground was broken in February 1951 and the cornerstone was laid May 20, 1951.
Construction was completed in November and the building was dedicated Jan. 2, 1952.
“The Manor filled up immediately,” wrote Dr. George Nelson, who had served on the exploration task force and later led the planning committee. Actual cost on the first unit was $95,154.34, which was entirely paid as it was built.
Even before the first residents moved in, the board of trustees knew the demand remained high for the care and services provided at the Manor. It petitioned the Synod and approval was given in October 1951 to build a second unit in Newton. The groundbreaking was May 16, 1952. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur D. Jellison of Junction City pledged the cost of constructing a chapel as part of the unit. The total cost of construction and furnishings was $95,000, with all work paid for as it was completed. In 1954, bids were taken for a third unit in Newton, which was constructed and dedicated May 18, 1955.
During construction of the second unit, the need for a full-time superintendent was evaluated and Nelson was named to the position which he filled until his retirement in 1972.
In addition to the need for skilled nursing care, it became clear that there also was a need for housing for seniors who were not yet in need of full-time care. In 1953, Dr. J.W. Fields of Wichita, a member of the board, donated $6,000 to Presbyterian Manor to purchase the 12 lots across Seventh Street with the idea of constructing cottages on the lots.
Nelson wrote, “Nothing tangible with reference to a cottage developed until the summer of 1957.” Grace Derby of Manhattan agreed to build half a duplex. She was joined in the decision by Miss Nellie May, also of Manhattan. Miss May and her brother did not make their initial deposit until July 1958. Plans for the duplex were quickly developed and construction was completed in May 1959.