San Diego County










            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 gifts.

            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 directors. 

            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.




Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.

Source: California of the South Vol. III, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 439-443, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles,  Indianapolis.  1933.

© 2012  V. Gerald Iaquinta.