Our History - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Our History

The history of Maple Knoll Communities, Inc. begins in 1848, when a group of concerned citizens of Cincinnati witnessed the untenable situation of elderly persons without families. Led by Mrs. Lydia Beecher, the stepmother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, this benevolent group created a home for these individuals and planted the seeds of what would become LifeSphere.

The history of this organization is a legacy of service to the community and to the welfare of older adults. Following this paragraph is a timeline that begins in 1848 and continues through today. In 1851, the Widows' Home published an annual report which contained the following statement:

We are building up an institution for future generations, and after we have passed away, will come the fruition of the good seed we have sown.

1848

Mrs. Lydia Beecher founds The Society for the Relief of Aged Indigent Women.

1851

The Society for the Relief of Aged Indigent Women changes its name to The Home for Aged and Indigent Women and incorporated.

1855

The Protestant Home for the Friendless and Foundlings is established by a group of Cincinnati ladies as a "refuge for destitute women".

1879

Abram M. Taylor, one of the first trustees of the Widows' Home, bequeaths money to establish a home for old men. He wants to consolidate the management of the Old Men's Home and the Widows' Home; the two organizations enter into an agreement.

1881

Mrs. Lauretta Gibson founds The Bodmann German Protestant Widows' Home.

1884

The Protestant Home for the Friendless and Foundlings changes its name to The Hospital and Home for the Friendless.

1916

The Bodmann German Protestant Widows' Home becomes the Bodmann Widows' Home.

1932

The Widow's Home and the Old Men's Home are officially consolidated and incorporate as the Widow's and Old Men's Home.

1950

The Hospital and Home for the Friendless becomes Maple Knoll Hospital and Home.  (Click here for more information.)

1973

The Maple Knoll Hospital and Home merges with the Widows' and Old Men's home under the leadership of Jerry D. Smart, president of the Widows' and Old Men's Home. Southwestern Ohio Seniors' Services, Inc. is introduced as the new corporate name for the merged organization.

1974

The Bodmann Widows' Home is merged into Southwestern Ohio Seniors' Services, Inc.

1977

Maple Knoll Village opens to seniors, providing independent living apartments and long-term nursing facilities.

1995

WMKV 89.3 FM, the flagship radio station of the LifeSphere network, opens in 1995 as the nations first educational public radio station to be licensed to a retirement community. The station features big band music and information regarding activities and services available to older adults.

1997

Sycamore Senior Adult Multi-Service Center, Inc. merges with SOSSI. Sycamore Senior Adult Multi-Service Center, Inc. includes Sycamore Senior Center, Anderson Senior Center, a home health agency and two elderly housing facilities, Mount View Terrace and Corbly Trace.

2000

SOSSI expands into Oxford Ohio, opening a new retirement community called The Knolls of Oxford. When completed in 2004, The Knolls also will include 80 cottages, 40 assisted living apartments and 50 nursing care units.

2001 Southwestern Ohio Seniors' Services, Inc. becomes LifeSphere.
2001 LifeSphere helps to celebrate the Grand Opening of the brand new Sycamore Senior Center with an up to the minute facility as well as fresh programs.
2002 LifeSphere celebrates the Gran Opening of the Life Enriching Gardens located on the campus of Maple Knoll Village.  The gardens, which include a Memory Garden, Enabling Garden, and a Children's Garden, seek to improve the quality of life for those who live and work within the facility.
2002 Maple Knoll Village proudly celebrates its 25th Anniversary of serving older adults within the Greater Cincinnati area.
2004 James M. Formal takes over as the new President and CEO of LifeSphere.  Mr. Formal sees his new position as an opportunity to position LifeSphere to be successful far into the future.
2005 The Knolls of Oxford and Miami University enter into an affiliation that will advance interaction between the two organizations.  Among the benefits of this agreement are: research and internship opportunities for students, new educational experiences, and increased intergenerational experiences for both parties.
2005 LifeSphere Home Health Services are recognized as a National Best practice Agency and are invited to take part in The National Hospitalization Study.
2005 In partnership with home builder Great Traditions Homes, Inc. construction begins on the New Westminster Cottages.  The 22 cottages are the largest in the history of LifeSphere.
2006 WMKV 89.3 FM signs an unprecedented agreement with FOX19 allowing WMKV to broadcast morning news.  Other changes within the radio station include the revival of classic programs such as Theater of the Mind, Mystery Playhouse and The Big Broadcast.
2007 Again with Great Traditions Homes, LifeSphere breaks ground on 56 new apartments called Kensington Place on the campus of Maple Knoll Village and 14 new villas called Redbud Trace on The Knolls of Oxford campus.
2007 Sycamore Senior Center celebrates 30 years of serving active older adults in 31 communities across the TriState.
2007 Thanks to a very generous donation of $1 million from resident Martin Hemsworth, the Maple Knoll Wellness Center is renovated and renamed the Ann and Martin Hemsworth Wellness Center on the campus of Maple Knoll Village.
2008 LifeSphere becomes Maple Knoll Communities Inc.
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