It all began on a hot stormy afternoon, August 17, 1960. What had been planned as an outdoor ground breaking ceremony for a new “home for the aging” on 40 acres of property on Montclair Road quickly had to be moved across the street to Grace Methodist Church as torrential rains flooded the area of the groundbreaking. Methodists from the North Alabama Conference and the Alabama-West Florida Conference had raised funds to build a 160-bed domiciliary to be called Fair Haven.
More than five years of planning and fundraising efforts, spearheaded by Bishop Clare Purcell, led to the opening of Fair Haven on Friday, October 13, 1961, some 13 months after the ground breaking. The first resident was an 85-year-old gentleman who moved into Fair Haven along with his 65-year-old parrot. Throughout the written articles about the planning and opening of Fair Haven, a continual theme of “creating home” was mentioned repeatedly. Dr. W. Nelson Guthrie, Sr., who served as secretary in charge of the building campaign, said, “The Methodist Church plans in every sense to make this a real home though it belongs in the institutional class.” Further, Dr. Guthrie was quoted as having said, “We want our senior citizens to feel that they have come to Fair Haven, the name by which the home will be known, to Live rather than to Die.”
And so it is 50 years later now and Fair Haven and Methodist Homes Corporation continue creating home for older adults. In celebration of 50 years of service to older adults, Fair Haven Retirement Community will host a 50th Anniversary Tea on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, from 2:00-4:00 pm. You are invited! Feel free to join us for this special time of celebrating the past and the present and the beginning of another 50 years of service to God’s Older Children. For more information, please contact Mary Bess Price, Marketing Director at (205) 956-4150.