Happy 125th Anniversary, Bethesda!

Jeff Waldman | April 17, 2014

Bethesda 125th LogoBack in 1889, before the discovery of penicillin or the advent of aspirin, Bethesda began serving the St. Louis community by providing care to those unable to care for themselves.

It was then that Mrs. Elizabeth Hayne started Bethesda with her husband, Roger Hayne, and their friend, Dr. Edward Saunders. They began by opening a home, the Bethesda Home for the Aged, to care for abandoned infants, unwed mothers and elderly women suffering from the devastating ailments of the day. The home, located on Russell Avenue near 9th Street, was funded on the $40 the founders pooled together to begin their work, serving 117 people that first year.

According to Elizabeth Hayne, Bethesda was born of prayer and faith, and was created on “an earnest desire to provide a home for aged women who were no longer able to support themselves and for the helpless little ones, rescued from lives of neglect and suffering.”

What a difference 125 years makes!

Although the altruistic mission of helping older adults about whom Mrs. Hayne wrote in her article continues to this day, the Bethesda of 1889 barely resembles the Bethesda of today – one of the leading and most reputable senior living, care and services organizations in the St. Louis area.

In fact, today’s Bethesda is not for profit, non-denominational, and serves the needs of thousands of older adults (men as well as women), their families, and the St. Louis metropolitan area annually through a complete continuum of services and living options.

A number of activities and events are in the works throughout 2014 to celebrate this amazing achievement:

If you are interested in learning more about these activities, or would like to participate in the human “125” aerial photograph, please contact Jeff Waldman at jrwaldman@bethesdahealth.org or Pam Dempski at pedempski@bethesdahealth.org .

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