In this article, David McMullen, Executive Director of Development and Marketing at The GreenFields Continuing Care Community, writes about the history of The GreenFields.
What is known today as the Niagara Lutheran Health System began in 1956 with the founding of the Niagara Lutheran Home and Rehabilitation Center at 64 Hager Street on Buffalo’s East Side.
The Niagara Lutheran Home was founded by The Lutheran Council on the Niagara Frontier, a pan-Lutheran organization consisting of more than sixty Lutheran congregations in WNY. After looking for existing buildings to remodel, the Lutheran Council decided to build a brand-new home that could be expanded to meet future requirements. A major step forward occurred in 1955 when the board of directors of the Lutheran Church Home of Buffalo, located at 217 East Delavan, voted to transfer ownership of a parcel of land around the corner on Hager Street for the new home. The Niagara Lutheran Home admitted its first patients on July 9, 1956.
During the 1990’s the Niagara Lutheran Home entered an era of expansion. In 1990 the organization began operating the Niagara Lutheran Delaware Home and its 134 beds at 1040 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, in addition to the Hager Street facility. That fall, Jurgen Arndt was appointed administrator of the Niagara Lutheran Home and Executive Director of both homes by the Board of Directors.
In the mid 1990’s, Niagara Lutheran’s Board of Directors began to focus on the possibility of developing a continuing care community in Western New York, where various levels of senior care that might be needed would be provided on a single campus. January 1, 1996, marked the incorporation of the Niagara Lutheran Health System, with Jurgen Arndt as President/CEO, and the creation of separate Boards of Directors for each of its affiliates. It was also in 1996 that 52 acres of beautiful farmland on Broadway in Lancaster was purchased to become the location for The GreenFields.
The first phase of the project was a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, and on June 22, 1997, construction began. On October 2, 1998, 120 residents from the Niagara Lutheran Delaware Home were moved into their new home. The Niagara Lutheran Delaware Home was then closed, with its operations transferred to Greenfield Health & Rehabilitation Center.
Following the opening of GreenField Health and Rehabilitation Center, the next phase of campus development began, consisting of 92 residential apartments at GreenField Manor and 49 assisted living apartments at GreenField Court. The first residents moved into the Manor and Court in October 2001.
In 2006, the new GreenField Outpatient Rehabilitation Clinic was dedicated. Another expansion project soon followed with the groundbreaking in June 2006 for the Richard Seibold Chapel and Auditorium, adjacent to the GreenField Manor dining area. The Chapel and Auditorium was dedicated in December 2006.
In the fall of 2006 the 50th anniversary of the Niagara Lutheran Health System was celebrated with several special events, including a Festival Worship Service at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and a gala at Samuel’s Grande Manor.
Later in 2006 the Board Members of The Lutheran Church Home of Buffalo, which was located on East Delavan Avenue on the same block as the Niagara Lutheran Home, voted to become an affiliate of the Niagara Lutheran Health System, fifty-two years after they had donated the land which became the Niagara Lutheran Home.
In 2012, ground was broken for the memory care and enhanced assisted living facility, which was built as the new Lutheran Church Home, doing business as GreenField Terrace. The old Lutheran Church Home closed in February 2013, and the new GreenField Terrace opened its doors to residents.
On June 11, 2015, the corporate offices of the Niagara Lutheran Health System moved from 64 Hager Street into the new office building at The GreenFields. In December of that year, an era came to an end as the Niagara Lutheran Home & Rehabilitation Center was sold. The low Medicaid reimbursement situation made it very difficult for Niagara Lutheran to continue the cost-effective operation of the facility. The facility, renamed Humboldt House, continues to be operated as a skilled nursing facility under new ownership.
In April of 2016, another era ended with the retirement of President/CEO Jurgen Arndt following a highly-successful 42 year career with Niagara Lutheran. New President & CEO Chris Koenig joined Niagara Lutheran on April 19, 2016 after serving as Vice President of Post Acute Care for ECMC in Buffalo.
At The GreenFields Continuing Care Community, our mission is to provide for the physical, social, and spiritual needs of those we serve, in a Christian environment. We believe in the dignity and worth of each individual and that every resident of our continuing care communities should be encouraged to retain or regain the highest level of independence possible. As such, we provide a variety of care and service options – from residential living and outpatient rehabilitation to long-term skilled nursing and memory care – all so you can make the right choice for your needs.
Contact us to learn more.