San Diego County
FREDERICKA HOME FOR THE AGED
The inception of the Fredericka Home
is due to the genius of Mrs. Emma R. Saylor, to whose indefatigable zeal and
tireless energy the gratifying success of the institution is attributable. The principle contemplated, which is
incorporated in the rules governing the home, is that of cooperative
partnership, which secures an absolute independence for the inmates as is
compatible with effective government.
The ambition of the founder was to
establish a great colony of old people of both sexes, to create a retreat with
the home atmosphere predominating, yet with various interests that would bring
out their best, securing to them by the careful and sympathetic use of their
activities, the greatest possible amount of interest in life and giving them a
proprietary right in the home they are helping to create.
By a careful selection of members,
admitting only those willing to cooperate and enter fully into such a union of
interests and activities, Mrs. Saylor believed that each could be provided with
a maximum of comfort for the minimum of expenditure, and so make it possible
for the aged of slender means to participate in the advantages of a community
where the peculiar needs of the old are studied and provided for and which
would also offer those of larger means a field of benevolence while they
themselves could enjoy the benefits of a well conducted home.
For such an institution no more
ideal site could have been chosen than that now occupied at Chula Vista, which
has been rightly termed the “Riviera of the Pacific.” The buildings stand in the heart of a
fifteen-acre rancho and command a magnificent view of the mountains, the ocean,
and the bay of San Diego. The privilege
that the members have of building a two or four-room bungalow near the main
buildings, designed for two or more members, is a delightful one and gives the
occupants of these cottages a privacy and exclusiveness very much desired.
The Fredericka Association, a subsidiary
organization to the home, was also founded by Mrs. Saylor, initiating a
contributory system of insurance, which credits to the subscriber any amount
given, which shall be available for entrance money in the event of such
subscriber desiring to become a member later in life. The members of the association not only
secure themselves against a lonely, homeless old age, but are doing their share
to make the colony the greatest institution of its kind in the world.
The optimistic ambitions of the founder
are gradually being realized. She has
planned a wonderfully beautiful, complete and harmonious home and has
demonstrated that her ideas can be made a practical reality, for nowhere is
there another retreat for the aged where there is less cause for dissatisfaction
or discord or less restriction. The
ideal climate, with constant sunshine and blooming flowers, makes the place
their Mecca, adding to their years, which are made brighter and happier by
being passed in natures’ finest environment.
The Fredericka Home and Association
was founded by Emma R. Saylor in June, 1908, Mrs. Belle M. Bailey and Mrs.
Sarah Raymond being her associates and co-workers. The Home was formally opened July 7, 1908, on
which day Mrs. Saylor opened a temporary home at 1596 National Avenue, San
Diego. The dedicatory services were of
the most impressive character, and on July 16, 1908, Mrs. Jennie Mason was
admitted as the first resident member.
In September, 1908, two notable admissions to the membership of the
association were recorded when Mr. and Mrs. Henry Timken, who were people of
large means, became identified with the work and hopes of the home. From the first day they were most enthusiastic
adherents and evinced definite expressions of their faith in large and generous
On October 12, 1908, the association
and home were incorporated. A
constitution and by-laws were adopted and the following were elected directors: Henry Timken, capitalist; Ralph Granger,
banker; Emma R. Saylor, philanthropist; E. J. Swayne, financier; Judge A.
Haines, attorney-at-law. Mrs. Emma R.
Saylor was appointed managing director.
About this time Mrs. Henry Timken
purchased from Mrs. Jennings Verity, at a cost of ten thousand dollars, a
beautiful home at Chula Vista, standing in the midst of a ten-acre orchard,
which has since tripled in value and is a source of revenue to the home. This property Mrs. Timken presented to the
association for the permanent home for the aged, Mrs. Verity donating the
complete house furnishings, farm wagons, implements and horses. Before Mrs. Timken could participate in the
joy of her beneficence, to the profound regret of all who knew her, she passed
away December 23, 1908.
Mrs. Saylor named the home
“Fredericka” after Mrs. Timken, whose beautiful character exemplified the
meaning of the name, peace, and it is a fitting title for the Home of the
Aged. After the death of his wife, Mr.
Timken erected at his own expense, as a memorial to Mrs. Timken, the new east
wing, which contains a number of large bedrooms with bathrooms adjoining, a
large dining room and kitchens, and also added a steam heating and hot water
plant. A sad fatality pursued these two
most generous friends of the home, for before the new wing was completed, Mr.
Timken’s life was brought to a close on March 16, 1909. His children, however, carried forward the
project, completing the building and furnishing the handsome mission dining
room and kitchen.
After Mr. Timken’s death his
daughter, Mrs. A. S. Bridges, succeeded him on the board of directors. On the resignation of Ralph Granger, George
Burnham was elected in his stead, and in 1914 Dr. R. B. Irones
replaced George Burnham on the directorate.
On January 1, 1909, the association
moved its resident members to the new home at Chula Vista. The new wing was completed and dedicated to
its donors March 27 and 28, 1909. In 1914
five acres of adjoining property were added to the home at a cost of ten
thousand dollars, J. B. Coleman, a member of the home, and Mrs. Saylor giving a
generous donation toward the purchase price.
On the property there is a building containing nine rooms and two baths,
which is used as an annex. The grounds
have been laid out as a park, with trees, flowers, fountains, drives and walks.
The first cottages were built and
donated by Mrs. Helen Leatham, Mrs. E. M. Sharp, and Mrs. A. S. Bridges, and
were named for some loved one whom they wished to honor. Each year several two to four-room cottages
have been added, built by resident members of the home for their own use or by
interested members of the association.
Almost from the first day of its
founding Mr. and Mrs. Henry W. McNabb became interested in the home and
arranged for the building of two cottages after their death and also for the
construction of a modern hospital. On
July 10, 1913, Mr. McNabb lost his wife and shortly afterward made arrangements
which enabled him to carry out her wishes.
In 1914 the beautiful McNabb Hospital was completed, Mr. McNabb
presenting the gift to the home at the dedication on June 14, 1914. This is one of the most modern hospitals and
sanitariums on the southern coast, containing a scientifically perfect operating
room, an electro-hydrotherapy room, and an X-ray and laboratory
department. The hospital is operated
exclusively for members of the home requiring hospital care.
In 1916 the sons and daughters of
Mrs. and Mrs. Henry Timken gave two hundred thousand dollars as an endowment to
perpetuate the work of Mrs. Saylor. At
the request of the donors, two additional members were voted on the board of
In 1924 the old main building was
replaced by a handsome modern structure containing many rooms, baths, and
private lavatories, besides spacious reception rooms, a library, chapel,
billiard room and office.
On June 21, 1928, E. J. Swayne, who
had served as a director since the home was incorporated, after building an
attractive stucco bungalow for his wife and himself to occupy at the home,
became a resident member. His stay at
the home was regretfully brief, for on March 23, 1929, he passed away. On April 28 of the same year Daniel W.
Saylor, the husband and able assistant of the founder, also passed away. A. S. Bridges, long a director of the home,
departed this life May 8, 1929.
At the beginning of 1931
twenty-eight bungalows, containing fifty-two apartments, had been constructed
on the grounds surrounding the main building, nestled among flower beds and
orange trees, which make the environment very inviting and give added comforts
and privacy to the members occupying them.
The board of directors is composed
of Mrs. A. C. Bridges, Mrs. Emma R. Saylor, A. Haines, G. A. Davidson, George
J. Bach, M. F. Heller and William Eldred.
Mrs. Saylor continues as managing director, with office in the Electric
Building at San Diego, and E. T. Trommald is
secretary. Dr. F. E. Ashcroft and Dr. W.
S. McCausland comprise the medical staff.
by V. Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: California of the South
Vol. III, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 439-443, Clarke Publ.,
Chicago, Los Angeles,
© 2012 V.