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About Us

More than 125 years of caring

When Reverend Thomas Arnold founded the original Woodstock Children’s Home in 1886, could he have imagined that more than 125 years later his organization would have expanded to what it is today?

These humble beginnings are now known as Hearthstone Communities, a not for profit, faith-based charitable organization devoted to serving children and seniors. Both the Hearthstone Communities and the Hearthstone Early Learning Center are located on a beautiful 14-acre campus in Woodstock, Illinois.

Out of Compassion for Children

Hearthstone Communities is one of Woodstock’s oldest organizations. In 1886, the Rev. T. B. Arnold, a minister of the Free Methodist Church and also the denominational publisher, was moved by the plight of orphaned children whom he observed on the streets of Chicago. Out of his compassion, he began caring for children in his own home, and incorporated in 1888 as the Chicago Industrial Home for Children. In 1891, Rev. Arnold moved his ‘family’ of children to Woodstock, Illinois, and the organization became known as the Woodstock Children’s Home.

This move to Woodstock was made possible by the gift of a farm from Mrs. Roxey Stevens, who had become interested in the work of Rev. Arnold. Until the 1920s the home cared primarily for orphaned children and served as an adoptive agency. Gradually, there was a shift in the emphasis, and by 1927 many of the children were court commitments as a result of broken homes. By the 1970s, the State of Illinois began utilizing foster homes to care for its children, and the Children’s Home became a day care center. Today Hearthstone Early Learning Center serves an average of 100 children from Monday to Friday each week throughout the year.

Concern About the Elderly

The first Superintendent of the Chicago Industrial Home for children, The Rev. J. D. Kelsey, was concerned about the related problems of caring for the elderly, and in 1903 founded the Old People’s Rest Home on property adjacent to the Children’s Home. The Kelsey Building was the original structure and the Maxwell Building was added in the 1950s. Further additions in 1971 and 1975 increased capacity to 138 residents, at which time the Kelsey Building was demolished. The atrium on the South side was built in 1985 through private donations. Meanwhile, the Board of Directors saw a need for a retirement home for active seniors and approved construction of Carefree Village in 1983.

The Convenience of a Continuum of Care

The campus now provides a complete continuum of care for seniors, providing families with the highest level of personalized living in all levels of care. From independent living to assisted living to rehabilitation, short and long term skilled nursing care, sheltered or memory care, residents can transition from one level of care to another as their needs change all on the same campus. Today Hearthstone Senior Living Community is the Continuum of Care Retirement Community of choice in Illinois because of its expertise, experience, compassion and convenience.

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