In 1872, several dedicated and Christian ladies of the Trinity Methodist Church, inspired by Mrs. B. T. Vincent (wife of the pastor), dreamed a dream.
They envisioned a home for the care of "homeless aged and infirm women."
The Ladies Relief Society was formed and incorporated under the laws of the Territory of Colorado as a non-profit, charitable organization, and a Trust Fund set up for the purpose of providing such a home.
The first quarters were donated at E. 8th Ave. and Logan in 1874 and the cornerstone laid by the Masonic Fraternity in 1875.
The entire block of land on West 38th Ave. was acquired in 1897 and the present building completed in 1899. In the early 1900s the home sheltered forty women "alone in the world." Mrs. John Evans, wife of a Governor of Colorado, was on the Board of Trustees. Boarders were charged $12.00 a month, but by 1916 this had been raised to $25.00 a month, due to increased living costs. Requirements for "life-care" contracts were $500.00 and a "good black silk dress."
Through the years many interested and civic-minded businessmen and citizens have contributed much to the physical plant of the home as well as to the care and comfort of the ladies resident there. Every name deserves mention, but the list is far too long to be included here.
In 1919 the hospital was erected through a gift from Mr. & Mrs. Channing Sweet and later enlarged through a gift from Governor William E. Sweet. Portraits of these family members hang in the hallway of the hospital and the name over the entrance doorway reads the "Emeroy S. Sweet Hospital." Today this portion of the home is operated as an Intermediate Care Facility since it does not conform to present day codes for hospitals.
The Ladies Relief Society home is unique in the history of Colorado, and a pioneer of its kind in the entire United States. In fact, there are great doubts that its counterpart may be found anywhere.
This index has been compiled through the efforts of several people: Marguerite Barrett, who was "relief manager" of the home in the late 1970s; Kay and Al Jennison, Society members and active volunteers in the home from the time his mother became a Contract resident in 1964; Eula H. Rosvall, President of the Society, 1974-1979; Allene "Skotti" Bush, Treasurer, 1975-1979.
Although the Society provided "food, shelter and care" from its beginnings in 1872, unfortunately there are no existing records of those so helped. Susie Baker, who died in 1910, had lived in the home 23 years, so evidently was resident in the previous home in 1887. A Mrs. Mink or Minth? was admitted in 1898, and Margaret Cox in 1899, the year the present home was built. All other records start with 1900.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Card File – Handwritten, kept by Marie Counts, 1946- (this source not indicated on cards)
L-1 Ledger, 16" x 11", grey cover – Early admission
L-2 Ledger, 16" x 11", grey cover – Early admission records
L-3 Bookkeeping Ledger, dark red cover 1930s
L-4 Admission records, 1916, grey cloth cover, card stock
L-5 "Old Record Book," Life members & boarders, November 1914 – April 1922
L-6 Ledger, black w/red binding – contains one page only, listing residents 1915
L-7 Should be Journal – J-1, cash receipts, 1937-49
L-8 Ledger, approximately 5" x 8", grey, 1930s
FF File folders – that name or alphabet
M-1 Minutes of Board of Trustees – November 10, 1902 – June 9, 1914
M-2 Minutes of Society – December 1915 – March 1920
M-3 Minutes of Society – November 3, 1920 – November 2, 1927
M-4 Minutes of Board of Trustees – November 9, 1926 – October 14, 1930
M-5 Minutes of Board of Trustees – June 11, 1918 – September 18, 1923
M-6 Minutes of Board of Trustees – November 1915 – May 1918
M-7 Minutes of Board of Trustees – July 14, 1914 – November 9, 1915
M-8 Minutes of Board of Trustees – November 20, 1923 – December 18, 1925
M-9 Minutes of Board of Trustees – December 1925 – November 1926
M-10 Minutes of Society – July 1926 – September 1936
M-11 Minutes of Board of Trustees – November 1930 – January 1941
M-12 Minutes of Board of Trustees – February 1941 – August 1941
M-13 Minutes of Society – December 8, 1936 – May 11, 1955
M-14 Minutes of Society – August 10, 1955 – May 19, 1967
J-2 Cash receipts – March 1949 – 1954
J-3 Cash receipts – 1916 – 1917
S-2 Society Membership – 1917 – 1925
NN Nurses Notes
Records in Minute books consisted primarily of admission or death dates.
MR. followed by a year ('33, '48, etc.) are from Minutes of that year.
SPELLING OF NAMES
Keep in mind that handwritten records are often difficult to decipher – a series of up and down peaks can be read in a variety of ways – m's, n's, r's, l's, etc. We have done our best in translating, but no doubt errors occur.
Denver Public Library Online ©
Updated: July 28, 2008