Masonic Villages History
For more than 145 years, the Masonic Villages have been pursuing a vision of excellence to meet the needs of others. Below is a brief overview of the Masonic Villages history and how we became one caring family.
The Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill originated as The Masonic Home of Pennsylvania, founded in 1871. Previously located in Philadelphia, this haven for poor and sick Pennsylvania Freemasons relocated to Montgomery County in 1976 and currently offers continuing care retirement services for more than 270 residents.
Meanwhile, in the center part of the state, the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown was founded as the Masonic Homes of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in 1910, offering services to aging Freemasons and their spouses. The 1,400-acre campus has grown into a continuing care retirement community, including a health care center, children’s home and residences for more than 2,035 individuals.
In the eastern part of the state, the Masonic Village at Warminster was founded in 1929 by the Grand Chapter of Pennsylvania, Order of the Eastern Star, as the Eastern Star Home-East, and affiliated with the Masonic Homes of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in 1998. It presently provides nursing care and personal care accommodations for more than 60 residents.
To provide services to those living in western Pennsylvania, the Masonic Village at Sewickley, formerly the Valley Care Nursing Home, was founded in 1984. It joined the Masonic Homes of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in 1999, and residents and staff of the former Eastern Star Home-West moved into the village in 2001. This continuing care retirement community is home to more than 500 residents.
On Jan. 1, 2004, the Masonic Homes became the Masonic Villages of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
To meet the growing need for active adult retirement communities, the Masonic Village at Dallas, our newest community, was founded on March 9, 2005, on the grounds of the Irem Country Club and Golf Course, which was established by the Irem Shrine in 1923. It is home to more than 120 residents.
In 2005, the Masonic Villages’ board of directors and the Irem Shrine entered a joint venture to develop a retirement community located high atop the Endless Mountains Region of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
The master plan for the community included the potential for up to 305 retirement living apartments and villas, depending on the demand. The groundbreaking for Phase I of the new community, including 38 villas and 45 apartments, was held on July 14, 2006. On Jan. 17, 2007, the first residents moved into their new villas. In October, the first residents moved into the apartments.
The Masonic Village at Dallas partnered with community organizations to offer its residents more options and amenities. A relationship with Misericordia University provides numerous recreational, social, educational and cultural opportunities, as well as access to wellness facilities. Through preferred provider agreements with health care service providers nearby, residents also gained priority access to personal care and health care services as well as priority admission to any Masonic Village across the Commonwealth. A new 26,868-square-foot clubhouse completed construction in May 2009.
The Clubhouse has become a hub of activity on the campus, featuring a pub and restaurant, a patio for golfers looking for a mid-game snack and a Grand Ballroom for wedding receptions and other special events. The lower level includes smaller meeting rooms, an entertainment room, locker rooms, offices and spaces available for rental use.
The Masonic Village at Elizabethtown was founded as the Masonic Homes of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in 1910. The site was chosen because the Pennsylvania Railroad bordered the property; its ease of access to Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Lancaster; availability of local ministers of every denomination; ample pure water supply; and large acreage for cultivation, as well as woods and pasture land. First providing a home and services to aging Freemasons and their spouses, a few years later, in 1913, the first children were accepted for care, beginning what is now called the Masonic Children’s Home.
The first adult residents were served in congregate home settings. In 1916, the Philadelphia Freemasons Hospital opened, providing nursing and personal care services; this building has been expanded and renovated and is now known as the Masonic Health Care Center and Freemasons Building. The first retirement living apartments and cottages were opened in 1989.
As health care delivery and lifestyles changed over the years, so did Masonic Homes. In 2004, the community changed its name to Masonic Village to better reflect the vast array of services it offers to people of all ages.
The 1,400-acre campus has grown into a continuing care retirement community, including residences for more than 2,035, people from apartments, townhomes and cottages to studios and suites, and a home for adults with developmental disabilities. Additional services include home care, home health, pharmacy, hospice, outreach, transitional care, adult day care, child care, a farm market, wellness center, Veterans Grove, Formal Gardens, pools, ponds, ballrooms, walking paths and countless other amenities for the community to enjoy.
Founded as The Masonic Home of Pennsylvania in 1871, this facility was originally a haven for poor and sick Pennsylvania Freemasons and their family members, relocating in 1976 from Philadelphia to Montgomery County. To fulfill the original vision of the Pennsylvania Masonic founders, which was to offer three Masonic Homes across the Commonwealth, plans began in 2002 for the Masonic Home of Pennsylvania and the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania to merge to become one Masonic Homes family.
A task force formed to review daily operations to enhance services provided at all locations. A survey of members in the five-county area nearest to the Masonic Home of Pennsylvania and the Masonic Eastern Star Home-East in Warminster to determine that there was sufficient interest in services at both facilities. The decision was made to move forward with the union.
The Lafayette Hill community became part of the Masonic Villages on Jan. 1, 2004. In 2006, renovations to the health care and personal care areas were completed, which included a new dining room for personal care residents and an updated one for health care residents. A new therapy suite and spa also were built. By summer 2007, 21 new retirement living apartments, were converted from 13 previous personal care apartments and a retirement living dining room and bistro were constructed. The Kenneth Mills Auditorium, bowling alley, recreation room and administrative offices were refurbished during this phase. The second part of this phase included upgrades to the remainder of the retirement living apartments. In 2015, a new 80,000+ square foot building, which includes four stories and 60 apartments in four floor plans, was constructed, along with an upgraded façade.
Founded in 1984 by the Valley Care Association, the campus was purchased in 1999 by the Masonic Villages of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in an effort to expand services to the western part of the state. The Valley Care Association and the Masonic Villages shared the same vision: to build a quality continuing care retirement community. That vision resulted in the Valley Care Masonic Center.
From 2000 – 2002, a new personal residence building, the Star Points Building, was built adjacent to the Valley Care Masonic Center and featured 60 personal care apartments, a dining room, medical clinics, a gift shop, a child care center and a mutlipurpose assembly room. In 2001, the three phase-construction of 227 retirement living apartments, 35 villas and a clubhouse with a bank, convenience store, library, dining room, salon and computer resource center was completed. In 2006, eight additional villas were added. In 2002 – 2003, the Valley Care Masonic Center was renovated to provide larger locker and break rooms, as well as new laundry rooms, conference rooms, a lobby and offices for staff. The Barley Wellness Center, named in honor of William S. Barley who generously donated the funds from his estate, was built adjacent to the Star Points Building during this period.
In 2014, renovations to the Valley Care Masonic Center and the construction of a 66,000 sq. ft. addition were completed. Renamed the Sturgeon Health Care Center in honor of Past Grand Master Thomas K. Sturgeon, the 110,000 sq. ft. building is laid out in eight 16-bed units, called “neighborhoods.” It includes 88 private rooms and 20 private suites with two dedicated memory support neighborhoods and a Transitional Care Unit for short-term rehabilitation. In 2017, a Veterans Garden was added to honor our country’s heroes. In 2019, construction was finished on 10 additional retirement living villas.
Founded in 1974 as the Eastern Star Home-East by the Grand Chapter of Pennsylvania, Order of the Eastern Star, this community was purchased by the Masonic Villages in 1998. The Masonic Village at Warminster today offers 43 nursing accommodations and 19 personal care accommodations. Eighty-five staff members are employed at this location.
In 2001, the Masonic Village at Warminster became an official Eden Alternative® site. The visible signs of Eden include several pets and plant life and intergenerational activities with local schools. Throughout 2002-2003, the facility received an extensive renovation to provide a better quality of life for current and future residents of the village.
In 2004, the Frey Southhampton Masonic Center was built, attached to the existing building. The 2,835 square foot assembly/lodge building provides seating for 300 people and space for resident programming and staff education. Various area Masonic groups meet there, as well.