Our History

Elim Park, Growing and Changing with the Times

elimpark-boarders1910-01-optAt the core of Elim Park is a deep, abiding faith in God and His wondrous works. Surrounding that core is a layer of people who, throughout the years, have given of themselves, of their time, talents, gifts and of their knowledge and wisdom.

Elim Park Milestones

May 15, 1906 · The idea for Elim Park was born at a gathering at the First Swedish Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York. The group planned to purchase “a home in the country” that would be used for summer guests.

December 1906 · The group agreed to the purchase of a farm comprising 80 acres, a 12-room house, several barns, tillable land and a chestnut tree forest in Shelton, Connecticut.

June 23, 1907 · Elim Park Baptist Home, a rest home for people of all ages, was dedicated.

1908 • Instrumental in cleaning and getting the home ready for opening was a young missionary from Sweden, Mary Melby. Fresh from service as an advocate for new immigrants at Ellis Island, Miss Melby served as Elim Park’s first superintendent, refusing any pay. Mary Melby humbly dedicated her life to Elim Park, returning her monthly pay to the home’s budget and remaining its superintendent until 1921. She passed away in 1925. Her tireless work for Elim Park — as well as her unswerving faith in God — are remembered and respected to this day. For many, Mary represents the type of people who have served at Elim Park over the years.

1911 · Elim Park became a year-round Home for the Aged with 15 residents ranging in age from 50 to 83. Hundreds still came to Elim Park during the summer months.

1920s · Many changes, both large and small, were made, including the purchase of a large tent for summer meetings, additional bedrooms and bathrooms, enlarging the dining room and the hiring of a full-time nurse.

1932 · Elim Park celebrated its 25th anniversary and continued expansion.

elimpark-earlycolor-01-opt1943 · The original building, dubbed “The Lodge,” was fully renovated. By 1946, 48 people — including staff — were living at Elim Park, then still a working farm, producing 70 quarts of milk daily, 125 pounds of butter monthly, and selling an abundance of eggs to the local community.

1950 · Elim Park’s first Open House was held and went on to become a monthly event. This became a turning point for the organization, as the building at Shelton would require significant upgrades in order to meet State regulations, and if upgrades could not be made, Elim Park would have had to let most of its residents go.

1956 · Elim Park celebrated its 50th anniversary and began making plans to move to Cheshire.

March 16, 1958 · The new Elim Park in Cheshire broke ground and the new building was ready for dedication and occupation by June of 1959. The much-needed new building would serve as “an appropriate memorial to a great service wrought by God’s unfailing grace and kind providence.”

1960s-1970s · Yet another era began for Elim Park with continuing expansion: the Chapel and a new wing were completed in 1961; the nursing care wing was expanded to 30 beds in 1969; a new addition with a 60-bed Skilled Nursing Facility, larger kitchen, a new dining room, physical therapy room, and recreation room, were dedicated in October 1973. A full-time recreation director was hired in 1971 to create a state-certified recreational program. In 1979, the Rev. Glenn Havumaki joined Elim Park as chaplain.

1980 · Elim Park grew to be an important part of the Cheshire community. The annual Open House and Christmas Festival became landmark events, drawing hundreds of people from the town and surrounding communities. It became clear by the early 1980s that as people were living longer, older adults needed more choices for their retirement years. Many in the Christian community and beyond were looking for safe, attractive housing for the active years of their retirement. Elim Park Place Independent Living was planned.

June 5th, 1982 · On the occasion of our 75th Anniversary Open House, heavy rains and flooding interrupted the celebration and the doors of Elim Park were opened to those from the town whose homes were flooded, and to stranded travelers. Those who needed help found food, shelter, and warmth within Elim Park.

January 1985 · Elim broke ground for the new residential neighborhood, Mallard Mill, with 40 independent living apartments. Other buildings would follow soon thereafter.

1990s · Village Green, with neighborhood with 20 apartments and a beautiful Community Center, was opened. Brooksvale followed in 1995 with 38 apartments and in 1998, Andrews Knoll increased the Elim Park community with an additional 40 apartment homes.

2000s · In 2002, the Mountain View neighborhood added 40 new apartments and a restaurant-style dining room, and in 2004 Spring Meadow added the last 40 apartments.

2010s · In 2012, we welcomed people to Riverbend, our newest neighborhood with 40 new apartments and a restaurant-style dining room.

Today · Elim Park has a grand total of seven independent living neighborhoods containing 258 apartments. Our upcoming dining enhancement, Oasis, is planned and will bring several new dining venues to Elim Park.

Learn more

To learn more about Elim Park, or to make an appointment to visit us, please contact a Retirement Counselor at 203-272-7550, or call toll-free at 800-994-1776, or email us at info@elimpark.org.