A bright and blustery day greeted the Perry Chamber of Commerce’s ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday morning at the Eden Acres campus of the Perry Lutheran Homes, where residents began receiving in-person visits March 1.
The Rev. Max Philips, chief executive officer of the Perry Lutheran Homes, welcomed about 50 guests and well wishers to the ribbon event, and he introduced a number of members of the Perry Lutheran Homes’ administrative team and board of directors.
With some 200 employees on its three campuses — the 57-bed Eden Acres campus, the 70-bed King’s Gardens campus and the 77-bed Spring Valley campus — the Perry Lutheran Homes is now one of Perry’s largest employers.
Phillips took a few minutes to reflect on the history of the facilities, recalling that the site of today’s King’s Garden building at 2323 Willis Ave. was once where the King’s Daughters Hospital stood, originally built with funds raised by a group of local women called the King’s Daughters and opened in 1914.
“For some of our residents, the circle of life began for them at King’s Daughters Hospital, and now comes full circle at the King’s Garden campus,” Phillips said.
The King’s Daughters Hospital served as the Dallas County Hospital until 1934, when a new wing was built at the Dallas County Care Facility, originally known as the county poor farm. The present Dallas County Hospital in Perry opened in 1954.
The Perry Lutheran Homes was established by the Lutheran Home for the Aged Association in 1956 and acquired the original King’s Daughters Hospital building the same year. Two expansions followed, in 1966 and 1973, and the old hospital building was torn down in 1978 after serving the community for 64 years.
Phillips also shared some of the history of the Rowley Masonic Community, now called the Eden Acres campus. The Rowley Masonic Home at 3000 Willis Ave. was built in 1957. Construction of a $20 million, 72,000-square-foot addition to the Rowley began in January 2014 on the 36-acre campus at 1300 28th St. and was completed in 2015.
“What the Masons have started at the Rowley Masonic Community, we will carry on together as Perry Lutheran Homes Eden Acres campus,” Phillips said. “In the bible, Eden was the first garden that God created. It signifies new life, incredible beauty and paradise with God as the master designer. God put Adam and Eve into Eden to care for and nurture the land. And God has put us at Eden Acres campus to do the same for our residents each and every day.”
Phillips also praised the Perry Lutheran Homes’ various outreach efforts in the community, such as the Serving Together our Elders with Passion (StepUp) Movement and the Meals on Wheels program of northern Dallas County.
All ribbon-cutting guests entered through the main entry on the east side of Eden Acres, where they enjoyed a brief health screening prior to entering the facility. The screening, along with the use of face masks and proper social distancing, showed the Perry Lutheran Homes were “taking all precautions to close off all other areas of Eden Acres campus to keep our residents safe and sound!” a spokesperson said.