Peabody Singing Tower

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Source: NMHS Newsletter Feb 1999

 

Peabody Retirement Community

 

Peabody Chapel was constructed in 1937 as a memorial to James and Estelle Peabody by their son Thomas Peabody.

(Frances Kipp, Peabody Historian, wrote the first history of Peabody for the 50th Anniversary. An updated edition honors the 65th Anniversary. Much of the material for this article comes from the 65th Anniversary booklet entitled PEABODY RETIREMENT COMMUNITY - THE ENDURING COMMITMENT. The editor thanks the author and the administration at Peabody.)

James Peabody came to North Manchester in 1902 with his son

 
[Continued on Page Two] Page One
 

   
   

Thomas to start a business. James was born in 1859 in Allen County and spent his boyhood years there. His father, John L. Peabody ran the Pioneer Sawmill at Arcola and James B. and his brother, S. J. followed in the sawmill business at Columbia City until 1881. At that time, James B. went his own way, buying tracts of trees near Peabody, Indiana, manufacturing buggies in Fostoria, Ohio and, later, spending four years traveling in the Western States.

In July, 1899, he returned to the sawmill business, purchased 500 acres of woodland in Wabash and Grant counties, built a large band-mill at Lafontaine and sold lumber on domestic and foreign markets. In April, 1901, the company purchased the Hardwood Lumber Company in Wabash.

South House was the original building constructed in 1931 and transferred to the ownership of the Presbyterian Synod of Indiana.
 
Page Two
 
   
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

North House was built in 1938 to provide space for additional residents.

On April 6, 1931 a transfer of property (a residence built on the former North Manchester fairground) was made to the Presbyterian Church Synod of Indiana after the Trustees accepted the Peabody gift. This is the building known as the South House. The Reverend Edmund Lindsay became the Superintendent. Construction of buildings has expanded the facilities continually through the years since that time. By 1933, Superintendent Alexander Sharp was reporting to the Trustees that the Home was filled and a waiting list existed. A bequest from Simon Peabody, the brother of James, made an addition possible in 1934 which doubled the size and included an infirmary and a hospital.

After the death of James Peabody, Thomas constructed the Chapel and the Memorial Tower which were dedicated in 1937 as a memorial to his parents. The Tower is constructed of Indiana limestone and granite. It features bronze ornamental grillwork at the top and a beautiful bronze door. The Tower was rebuilt in 1994. It is the mausoleum for Estelle, James, Thomas, Mary and Mary K. Peabody.

The North House, a mirror image of the first building, was completed in 1938 to provide room for the increasing number of

[Continued on Page Four] Page Three

 

applicants. In 1939, Dr. Hugh Ronald became Superintendent and Mr. Peabody erected a home for him and his large family on the grounds. It was occupied by the family by Christmas, 1940.

In the beginning the Chapel was located on the second floor of the South House, along with the dietary staff and the administrative offices, while the residents lived on the first floor. Long ago residents moved into furnished rooms and shared a community bathroom located in the hallway. Now the structure of the Home has changed and residents enjoy the more personal touch of having their own furniture and a private bath.

The increased longevity of members in the Home made a nursing wing necessary. This wing was dedicated October 27, 1951 to Mary and Thomas Peabody. Another wing was added in 1960, and the Luse

 
Page Four
 

   
Wing was added in 1970. The Visser Wing dedicated in 1978 added 40 beds to the Health Care program. It also provided temporary housing for residents, making possible the complete renovation of South and North Houses. The renovation made two rooms where there had previously been three, reducing the occupany level.  

This remodeling took four years. A new color scheme was chosen and the furniture was reupholstered to match. This preserved the antique furniture and the general feel of the rooms. Remodeling included the dining room. The formal square tables were replaced by more gracious round tables which made for easier conversation. In the past, a bell would signal residents that it was time to dine. Now there is no bell ringing and residents can come within an hour of the announced time.

In 1987, a central nurses station was built in the Health Center by Don and Billie Grubb Strauss as a memorial to their parents.

With a developing demand for independent living units, a series of garden homes were constructed from 1984 to 1993. Lindsay Place

 

has 22 two-bedroom homes with connected garages. During 1989 to 1992, additional renovation brought the resident houses to modern standards, making some deluxe suites. New elevators were also installed. In 1991, construction began on a series of one and two-bedroom apartments. In 1994, the last of 35 units was filled with new residents of the Village of Peabody. The Director's Home became the "Craig House", the hospitality house for residents and families, as well as providing facilities for guests.

On August 21, 1994, Don and Billie Strauss and Joanne Strauss Crown, participated in the dedication of the Strauss Center built in memory of Daniel Arden and Eileen Mills Strauss. Now Peabody Retirement Community has a new entrance center which includes offices, a library, meeting rooms with audio and visual aids, a bank and centralized planning and administrative services. The Strauss Center has made it easier for both Houses to get together for activities. The aviaries in the Center donated by Ray DeLancey give joy to both residents and visitors alike.

The Strauss family's involvement with Peabody Retirement Community dates to the initial construction days and Don Strauss remem-

 
   
[Continued on Page Six] Page Five
 
   

   

bers as a youngster crawling under the subflooring of the still-under-construction Chapel in search of youthful adventure. "I'm probably one of the only residents of North Manchester who has been all the way to the top of the tower, right to the limestone escarpments," reminisces Don. Joanne Strauss Crown says "As a young girl I can remember visiting my mother's aunt, Nora Brown, and my father's uncle, Frank Strauss, who were Peabody residents." Later her father became a resident of the Health Care Center.

Many special services have been added over the years as Peabody developed. In 1940 the Circle in Oaklawn Cemetery was purchased for burial of Peabody Home members who chose that as a last resting place. A beauty shop began operation in 1957, and creative and physical therapy was initiated in 1964. The first van, purchased in 1972, increased capacity for transportation to stores, medical appointments and other trips. The fleet now consists of one van, two station wagons, two cars and one bus equipped for wheelchairs. Air conditioning was completed in the spring of 1987 just in

An aviary was built as part of the Eden Way alternative care concept.
 
   
Page Six
 
   

   

time for a very hot summer.

Programs and activities abounded through the years. Sunday Chapel services and weekly Bible study have been offered since the Home was built. Musical programs using the organ and pianos are given by members and by visitors. A variety of concerts and other programs are presented by many community, church, school and club groups. Gardens have always been around the Home, from the first experimental vegetable garden, to the individual plots faithfully tended by the members.

Crafts of all kinds have been important and bazaars were often part of dedication programs and became annual affairs after 1953. Now auctions are more popular. In March 1979, a gift shop was opened so that handiwork of members could be purchased at any time. For many years, members received and dressed old dolls gathered by the Salvation Army of Ft. Wane, so that needy children might have Christmas gifts. Eleanor Steele Blocher endowed a fund so that each year Peabody residents and staff can buy and wrap Christmas toys for some children of North Manchester.

The Eden Way of Peabody is an alternative care concept implemented in December, 1995. It seeks to create an environment in which people can live and spiritually flourish, creating a fertile soil for the human spirit to grow. The Eden goal is to combat feelings of loneliness, helplessness and boredom for nursing home residents by surrounding them with pets, plants and children. Children from the schools in the county have been interacting with the residents for many years. The children from Blessed Beginnings day care, just off the campus, are bi-weekly visitors. The Adopt-A-Plant program helps to bring the gardens indoors.

 

Finances are always a major responsibility. After the original gifts and bequests of the Peabody family, large additions to the endowment fund were rare. The annual contribution of the Presbyterian Church Synod was based on a percentage of the Synod's Benevolent Fund. This was divided between operational expenses and a "Worthy Presbyterian Fund.". established in 1947 to provide assistance to Presbyterians who could not meet the entrance fee.

The Trustees released the Synod from on-going obligations to the

 
   
[Continued on Page Eight] Page Seven
 
   

   

Home in 1968 but the Presbyterian Church Synod remains committed to the Home because, "the Synod still has an obligation to support the Home in light of the original gift." Since 1957 the Smock Foundation in Fort Wayne have given support and made contributions toward construction projects.

The Trustees reluctantly changed the entrance policies to meet the continual increase in costs of operation and life care has not been offered since 1979. Entrance fees are now computed on an actuarial basis, a "Pay as you Stay" plan.

The day to day operation and care of residents has always depended on the employees of the home. In 1931 Peabody opened with a total of six employees. Today there are more than two hundred dedicated workers. An Indiana State Nursing Home license was received in 1958. Medical Service was contracted with Manchester Clinic in 1977 and there are now consultants in Pharmacy, podiatry and optometry.

The Peabody Retirement Community Mission Statement summarizes the story well: We provide gracious service for older adults and selected services to others with compassion and respect for the dignity of individuals, their families and the communities we serve, in the name of Jesus Christ.

 
   

Tom Peabody, Traveler

In 1902, Thomas Peabody drove into Indiana with the first automobile for this section of the state. Thomas, who was an automobile enthusiast, enjoyed motoring about North Manchester in his Oldsmobile "one-lunger." This was back in the days when all the horses one met on the road would either get up on their rear legs and paw the air, or even worse, turn from side to side and upset the buggy and its passengers.

In later years, he discovered an almost duplicate model of his car. Pleased with himself for restoring the new car into good running condition, he occasionally dressed in a linen duster and goggles, which were the style of the time and drove the new model 1903 Oldsmobile about the town. (That duster and the goggles, along with

 
   
Page Eight
 
   

 
     
 

Thomas's gloves and gold-headed cane are all in the local museum.)

The 1903 Oldsmobile was willed to the Smithsonian Institution following Thomas's death in 1944. The car, which is in very good condition, is on permanent display as a part of the Road Transportation Home. "There are still quite a few of these cars in existence, but not as many as the Model-T, which was made in greater numbers," said Roger White, Division of Transportation of the Smithsonian. "The car, when bought brand new in 1903, retailed at $650."

The Thomas Peabodys were also global travelers and made many voyages. So many, in fact that when they returned to their home, Mary would mail out cards announcing they were at the "Journey's End." This was their name for the homestead in North Manchester.

One of Thomas's earliest foreign tours was to the old world. On this trip he visited Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Belgium and the British Isles. While this four-month journey was primarily for pleasure, Thomas also devoted some of his time to the interests of the Peabody desk factory. (Our local Historical Society Museum also holds one of the steamer trunks used on his overseas voyages)

The next voyage that Thomas set out on was a tour around the world. For this trip, he and five hundred others chartered the steamship 'Cleveland' and set out to visit Gibraltar, Italy, Egypt, India and various other points of interest. While in Egypt he saw many interesting sights, among them the Sphinx and the pyramids. Perhaps the most interesting to him, however, was the mummy of Rameses II. "This trip was made for recreation and education," Thomas commented in 1909. The steamer concluded the circumnavigation of the world in San Francisco, after being at sea for nearly four months.

Yet another voyage was made for their honeymoon, as a young Thomas and Mary traveled to New York by Manhattan Flyer and left for South America on the steamship "Laurentic.' On this trip in 1912, they first visited Havana, Cuba, then traveled to points in the West Indies, the Isthmus of Panama and other regions, expecting to be gone for at least five weeks. The couple saw the newly installed Panama Canal and reported that it was a gigantic project and quite a sight to

 
     
 
Page Nine
 
     

   

see. They also visited the ruins of Mt. Pelee on Martinique Island, which had erupted a few years before in a great volcanic explosion. The family also made seasonal trips to Los Angeles, California, (January to April or May) and to Walloon Lake, Michigan (June through August). They enjoyed their winter months basking in the brilliant California sunshine with James and Estelle Peabody, Thomas's parents. Walloon Lake, Michigan, is where the family stayed in their lake-front cabin for summer vacation..

On one particular trip through Southern California, a hair raising incident occurred in the auto. Thomas logged the event in his travel journal as follows:

"Before reaching San Luis Obispo, we crossed four mountain ranges, each of most wonderful scenery. There were scarcely two straight roads in one place, a constant turning of sharp curves with a mountain on one side and a steep precipice on the other. The road was scarcely wide enough for one auto, with only two feet of space on either side of the wheels. Another auto met us as we were coming down grade and they were coming up.

I was going to take no risk, but put my right front wheel within two feet of the edge, and cleared him in the front, but raked him with my rear fender. My fender was in bad shape and I lost my rear hub cap, but this, I thought, was better than going down the bank. As neither of us stopped, I do not know what I did to his car, but, as my Rambler resembles a battleship in weight, it is safe to guess that he got what was coming to him."

(Much of this article comes from PEABODY RETIREMENT COMMUNITY, The Enduring Committment by permission of Peabody)

 
   
 
 
   
   
   
     
     
     
 

 

 

 

 

 

North House was built in 1938 to provide space for additional residents.

On April 6, 1931 a transfer of property (a residence built on the former North Manchester fairground) was made to the Presbyterian Church Synod of Indiana after the Trustees accepted the Peabody gift. This is the building known as the South House. The Reverend Edmund Lindsay became the Superintendent. Construction of buildings has expanded the facilities continually through the years since that time. By 1933, Superintendent Alexander Sharp was reporting to the Trustees that the Home was filled and a waiting list existed. A bequest from Simon Peabody, the brother of James, made an addition possible in 1934 which doubled the size and included an infirmary and a hospital.

After the death of James Peabody, Thomas constructed the Chapel and the Memorial Tower which were dedicated in 1937 as a memorial to his parents. The Tower is constructed of Indiana limestone and granite. It features bronze ornamental grillwork at the top and a beautiful bronze door. The Tower was rebuilt in 1994. It is the mausoleum for Estelle, James, Thomas, Mary and Mary K. Peabody.

The North House, a mirror image of the first building, was completed in 1938 to provide room for the increasing number of

 
 
[Continued on Page Four] Page Three
 

     
 

applicants. In 1939, Dr. Hugh Ronald became Superintendent and Mr. Peabody erected a home for him and his large family on the grounds. It was occupied by the family by Christmas, 1940.

In the beginning the Chapel was located on the second floor of the South House, along with the dietary staff and the administrative offices, while the residents lived on the first floor. Long ago residents moved into furnished rooms and shared a community bathroom located in the hallway. Now the structure of the Home has changed and residents enjoy the more personal touch of having their own furniture and a private bath.

The increased longevity of members in the Home made a nursing wing necessary. This wing was dedicated October 27, 1951 to Mary and Thomas Peabody. Another wing was added in 1960, and the Luse

 
   
     
 
Page Four
 
     

     
  Wing was added in 1970. The Visser Wing dedicated in 1978 added 40 beds to the Health Care program. It also provided temporary housing for residents, making possible the complete renovation of South and North Houses. The renovation made two rooms where there had previously been three, reducing the occupany level.  
 

This remodeling took four years. A new color scheme was chosen and the furniture was reupholstered to match. This preserved the antique furniture and the general feel of the rooms. Remodeling included the dining room. The formal square tables were replaced by more gracious round tables which made for easier conversation. In the past, a bell would signal residents that it was time to dine. Now there is no bell ringing and residents can come within an hour of the announced time.

In 1987, a central nurses station was built in the Health Center by Don and Billie Grubb Strauss as a memorial to their parents.

With a developing demand for independent living units, a series of garden homes were constructed from 1984 to 1993. Lindsay Place

 
 

has 22 two-bedroom homes with connected garages. During 1989 to 1992, additional renovation brought the resident houses to modern standards, making some deluxe suites. New elevators were also installed. In 1991, construction began on a series of one and two-bedroom apartments. In 1994, the last of 35 units was filled with new residents of the Village of Peabody. The Director's Home became the "Craig House", the hospitality house for residents and families, as well as providing facilities for guests.

On August 21, 1994, Don and Billie Strauss and Joanne Strauss Crown, participated in the dedication of the Strauss Center built in memory of Daniel Arden and Eileen Mills Strauss. Now Peabody Retirement Community has a new entrance center which includes offices, a library, meeting rooms with audio and visual aids, a bank and centralized planning and administrative services. The Strauss Center has made it easier for both Houses to get together for activities. The aviaries in the Center donated by Ray DeLancey give joy to both residents and visitors alike.

The Strauss family's involvement with Peabody Retirement Community dates to the initial construction days and Don Strauss remem

 
     
 
[Continued on Page Six] Page Five
 
     

     
 

bers as a youngster crawling under the subflooring of the still-under-construction Chapel in search of youthful adventure. "I'm probably one of the only residents of North Manchester who has been all the way to the top of the tower, right to the limestone escarpments," reminisces Don. Joanne Strauss Crown says "As a young girl I can remember visiting my mother's aunt, Nora Brown, and my father's uncle, Frank Strauss, who were Peabody residents." Later her father became a resident of the Health Care Center.

Many special services have been added over the years as Peabody developed. In 1940 the Circle in Oaklawn Cemetery was purchased for burial of Peabody Home members who chose that as a last resting place. A beauty shop began operation in 1957, and creative and physical therapy was initiated in 1964. The first van, purchased in 1972, increased capacity for transportation to stores, medical appointments and other trips. The fleet now consists of one van, two station wagons, two cars and one bus equipped for wheelchairs. Air consitioning was completed in the spring of 1987 just in

An aviary was built as part of the Eden Way alternative care concept.
 
     
 
Page Six
 
     

     
 

time for a very hot summer.

Programs and activities abounded through the years. Sunday Chapel services and weekly Bible study have been offered since the Home was built. Musical programs using the organ and pianos are given by members and by visitors. A variety of concerts and other programs are presented by many community, church, school and club groups. Gardens have always been around the Home, from the first experimental vegetable garden, to the individual plots faithfully tended by the members.

Crafts of all kinds have been important and bazaars were often part of dedication programs and became annual affairs after 1953. Now auctions are more popular. In March 1979, a gift shop was opened so that handiwork of members could be purchased at any time. For many years, members received and dressed old dolls gathered by the Salvation Army of Ft. Wane, so that needy children might have Christmas gifts. Eleanor Steele Blocher endowed a fund so that each year Peabody residents and staff can buy and wrap Christmas toys for some children of North Manchester.

The Eden Way of Peabody is an alternative care concept implemented in December, 1995. It seeks to create an environment in which people can live and spiritually flourish, creating a fertile soil for the human spirit to grow. The Eden goal is to combat feelings of loneliness, helplessness and boredom for nursing home residents by surrounding them with pets, plants and children. Children from the schools in the county have been interacting with the residents for many years. The children from Blessed Beginnings day care, just off the campus, are bi-weekly visitors. The Adopt-A-Plant program helps to bring the gardens indoors.

 
 

Finances are always a major responsibility. After the original gifts and bequests of the Peabody family, large additions to the endowment fund were rare. The annual contribution of the Presbyterian Church Synod was based on a percentage of the Synod's Benevolent Fund. This was divided between operational expenses and a "Worthy Presbyterian Fund.". established in 1947 to provide assistance to Presbyterians who could not meet the entrance fee.

The Trustees released the Synod from on-going obligations to the

 
     
 
[Continued on Page Eight] Page Seven
 
     

     
 

Home in 1968 but the Presbyterian Church Synod remains committed to the Home because, "the Synod still has an obligation to support the Home in light of the original gift." Since 1957 the Smock Foundation in Fort Wayne have given support and made contributions toward construction projects.

The Trustees reluctantly changed the entrance policies to meet the continual increase in costs of operation and life care has not been offered since 1979. Entrance fees are now computed on an actuarial basis, a "Pay as you Stay" plan.

The day to day operation and care of residents has always depended on the employees of the home. In 1931 Peabody opened with a total of six employees. Today there are more than two hundred dedicated workers. An Indiana State Nursing Home license was received in 1958. Medical Service was contracted with Manchester Clinic in 1977 and there are now consultants in Pharmacy, podiatry and optometry.

The Peabody Retirement Community Mission Statement summarizes the story well: We provide gracious service for older adults and selected services to others with compassion and respect for the dignity of individuals, their families and the communities we serve, in the name of Jesus Christ.

 
     
 

Tom Peabody, Traveler

In 1902, Thomas Peabody drove into Indiana with the first automobile for this section of the state. Thomas, who was an automobile enthusiast, enjoyed motoring about North Manchester in his Oldsmobile "one-lunger." This was back in the days when all the horses one met on the road would either get up on their rear legs and paw the air, or even worse, turn from side to side and upset the buggy and its passengers.

In later years, he discovered an almost duplicate model of his car. Pleased with himself for restoring the new car into good running condition, he occasionally dressed in a linen duster and goggles, which were the style of the time and drove the new model 1903 Oldsmobile about the town. (That duster and the goggles, along with

 
     
 
Page Eight
 
     

 
     
 

Thomas's gloves and gold-headed cane are all in the local museum.)

The 1903 Oldsmobile was willed to the Smithsonian Institution following Thomas's death in 1944. The car, which is in very good condition, is on permanent display as a part of the Road Transportation Home. "There are still quite a few of these cars in existence, but not as many as the Model-T, which was made in greater numbers," said Roger White, Disivion of Transportation of the Smithsonian. "The car, when bought brand new in 1903, retailed at $650."

The Thomas Peabodys were also global travelers and made many voyages. So many, in fact that when they returned to their home, Mary would mail out cards announcing they were at the "Journey's End." This was their name for the homestead in North Manchester.

One of Thomas's earliest foreign tours was to the old world. On this trip he visited Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Belgium and the British Isles. While this four-month journey was primarily for pleasure, Thomas also devoted some of his time to the interests of the Peabody desk factory. (Our local Historical Society Museum also holds one of the steamer trunks used on his overseas voyages)

The next voyage that Thomas set out on was a tour around the world. For this trip, he and five hundred others chartered the steamship 'Cleveland' and set out to visit Gibraltar, Italy, Egypt, India and various other points of interest. While in Egypt he saw many interesting sights, among them the Sphinx and the pyramids. Perhaps the most interesting to him, however, was the mummy of Rameses II. "This trip was made for recreation and education," Thomas commented in 1909. The steamer concluded the circumnavigation of the world in San Francisco, after being at sea for nearly four months.

Yet another voyage was made for their honeymoon, as a young Thomas and Mary traveled to New York by Manhattan Flyer and left for South America on the steamship "Laurentic.' On this trip in 1912, they first visited Havana, Cuba, then traveled to points in the West Indies, the Isthmus of Panama and other regions, expecting to be gone for at least five weeks. The couple saw the newly installed Panama Canal and reported that it was a gigantic project and quite a sight to

 
     
 
Page Nine
 
     

     
 

see. They also visited the ruins of Mt. Pelee on Martinique Island, which had erupted a few years before in a great volcanic explosion. The family also made seasonal trips to Los Angeles, California, (January to April or May) and to Walloon Lake, Michigan (June through August). They enjoyed their winter months basking in the brilliant California sunshine with James and Estelle Peabody, Thomas's parents. Walloon Lake, Michigan, is where the family stayed in their lake-front cabin for summer vacation..

On one particular trip through Southern California, a hair raising incident occurred in the auto. Thomas logged the event in his travel journal as follows:

"Before reaching San Luis Obispo, we crossed four mountain ranges, each of most wonderful scenery. There were scarcely two straight roads in one place, a constant turning of sharp curves with a mountain on one side and a steep precipice on the other. The road was scarcely wide enough for one auto, with only two feet of space on either side of the wheels. Another auto met us as we were coming down grade and they were coming up.

I was going to take no risk, but put my right front wheel within two feet of the edge, and cleared him in the front, but raked him with my rear fender. My fender was in bad shape and I lost my rear hub cap, but this, I thought, was better than going down the bank. As neither of us stopped, I do not know what I did to his car, but, as my Rambler resembles a battleship in weight, it is safe to guess that he got what was coming to him."

(Much of this article comes from PEABODY RETIREMENT COMMUNITY, The Enduring Committment by permission of Peabody)