Our History

Our founder, Rev. Nathaniel Bertolet Grubb, born in Frederick, Pennsylvania in 1850 had limitless energy and strong conviction. Pastor of the large First Mennonite Church, Philadelphia, he was a popular preacher throughout the Eastern District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite Church up to at least his 86th year. (He preached over 7,000 sermons.)

A man of action, Grubb obviously moved quickly when there was human need, but he also was a man of prayer and contemplation. He was described by a friend this way: “In him is no evasion, but practical Christianity of kind words and deeds, an unselfish and upright life.”

Some of his accomplishments as an innovative leader and organizer include:

  • Christian Endeavor
  • Young People’s Convention
  • President Eastern District Conference
  • English secretary Eastern District Conference
  • Founder and Editor The Mennonite
  • Founded Mennonite Home for the Aged
  • Ordained Ann Allebach in 1911
  • Commissioned Annie Funk to India
  • Member Publication Board General Conference Mennonite Church
  • Founded and edited the Schwenksville Item Newspaper
our founder Rev. Nathaniel Bertolet Grubb

Our Origins

Daniel Bertolet (1796-1868) a prosperous local Frederick farmer, brickmaker, and builder was “a man of strong convictions and a very thorough Bible student,” says his son Benjamin.”

In the fall of 1856, Bertolet and other leading citizens of Frederick called a meeting at Isaac Stetler’s store. There they devised a plan to establish the Frederick Institute as a classical day school to prepare men and women for college. A magnificent edifice, the building, and school were the pride of Frederick until the Civil War. Without students, the school closed.

Benjamin Bertolet, son of Daniel Bertolet, worked with Rev. N.B. Grubb to secure the building as the new Mennonite Home for the Aged.

Our Beginning

Dreamer and visionary, Rev. N.B. Grubb went out on a financial limb in 1896 when he negotiated to buy the defunct Frederick Institute following a public auction with no acceptable bids. He had no firm institutional backing except the last-minute go-ahead of his own congregation.

Rev. Grubb must have been a persuasive man. Donation of pennies and dollars began coming in from all over the community and all the congregations. Support was so enthusiastic that they ‘quit collecting when they had secured the needed $1,521.50 with only part of the conference solicited.” Meticulous accounts in ledgers, recorded every donation, whether money, two jars of jam, or a basket of turnips.

Without authorization, Rev. Grubb purchased the Frederick Institute; he did, however, have the last-minute approval of the First Mennonite Church, Philadelphia, who promised a solid contribution of $586. Grubb’s friends donated another $154. Purchased for $1,150, The Frederick Mennonite Home opened officially on September 1, 1896, about six months after Grubb’s maverick purchase.

Benjamin Bertolet was chosen as the first president of the Home’s Board of Managers “In recognition of the services rendered in consummating this project.”

“The spirit of benevolence has always been a noted characteristic of the Mennonite Church, and the care of the needy among their number is a cardinal principle of the church, though not always carried out in practice as it should be. The Home of Frederick is an outgrowth of this spirit of charity.” Rev. N.B. Grub, 1897

The first Annual Report was published in May of 1897. The name of the organization was The Mennonite Home of the Eastern District Conference.

“Our conference had previously appointed me a committee to present a plan for the better care of the old and homeless…Presenting several plans which I had thought would give the old people more comfort and less care…Conference did not then see its way clear to accept either of these plans.

Then in 1896 after I had purchased the property I offered it to the conference as a suitable Home for the Aged. At a special session of the conference in March of 1896 the property was accepted.” Excerpt from a speech given by N.B. Grubb, September 15, 1916

George L. Baringer, Frederick’s first resident, signed an agreement in 1896, after he donated $150, “all his property personal and real estate” to the home.

“In the first year, the Frederick family consisted of superintendent and matron Mr. and Mrs. John R. Scheid, and five inmates. These inmates are: Joseph Schimmel, Deep Run congregation; George Baringer, Flatland congregation; Esther Dotterer (a member of the Lutheran church as the time of her admission but since received into the Mennonite church); Mary Keeley, United Evangelical church; Edward Hoffman, First Mennonite Church, Philadelphia.” First Annual Report in 1897.

Administrators, Executive Directors, and CEOs:

Mrs. Sarah Oberholtzer, Mrs. Kate Allebach, Mrs. Mary Gottshall, 1896
Mr. and Mrs. J.R. and Sallie Scheld, 1896-1899
Mr. and Mrs. D. S. Fitzgerald, 1899-1902
Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Zuschnitts, 1902-1903
Mr. and Mrs. David Wells, 1903-1905
Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Zuschnitts, 1905-1908
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Kinsey, 1908-1917
Mr. and Mrs. George Dengler, 1917-1931
Mr. and Mrs. George Leatherman, 1931-1933
Mr. and Mrs. William and Rachel Babel, 1934-1953
Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Mumbauer, 1953 (May-July)
Mr. and Mrs. Harrison Unruh, 1954
Rev. and Mrs. Wilmer S. and Emma Shelly, 1954-1958
Rev. and Mrs. Larry Smith, 1959-1983
Mr. Robert Miller, 1983-1995
Mr. Keith Hummel, Jr. 1996-2005 Executive Director
Mr. John Hendrickson 2005-2021 Chief Executive Officer

Timeline of Building and Ground Improvements

1895     Rev. N.B. Grubb purchased the Frederick Institute for $1,150

1896     The Mennonite Home of the Eastern District Conference  officially opened on September 1, 1896

1906     A large veranda was added

1915     Wired for electricity (approximate date)

1923     Fire tower was erected

1928     The south wing of 24 residential rooms was added

1947     Purchase of property across the road and a 12-acre field to the south

1954     Administrator’s residence built for $17,000

1955     Purchased 7 acres to north and side of property

1957     New dining room, stainless steel kitchen

1957     $500,000 addition including: renovation of original building, elevator, chapel, new L-shaped annex of 39 rooms, land                         marking front pillars added, name changed to Frederick Mennonite Home

1971     50-bed nursing wing added

1978     First one-bedroom cottage built

1986     Three cottages (12 apartments) planned and built; “Bertolet House” purchased

1987     Addition of 10 more nursing beds

1988     Name changes to Frederick Mennonite Community

1989     Four more cottages (14 apartments) built

1992     Health center dining room expanded

1993     Oaktree Court and Oaktree Center: $10 million expansion including 63-unit apartment complex, dining room, kitchen,                    community center

1993     Auditorium projector and 3 of the stained glass windows donated by then resident, Catherine Krauss in memory of her                 husband Konrad Walter Krauss

2001     Aspen Village – 24 rooms and Magnolia House – 48 one bedroom apartments

2006     Oaktree Center and Dining Room/Café Renovation

2006     Adult Day Services opened, “Kit’s Corner”

2006     Magnolia Courtyard completed

2006     Villa Construction – 5 two story twins

2007     Digital Sign constructed and “Live Well With Us” tagline introduced

2007     Tree of Life added to Main Street

2007     Portico added to main entrance

2007     Flag Pole donated and installed by the residents

2008     Train Platforms Delivered

2008     Cedarwood Renovations

2008     Re-addressed residential living Cottages and Villas to flow with the rest of the campus

2009     Magnolia West Hallway, Living Rooms, Pennington Lounge, and Room Renovations and Re-dedication Ceremony Held

2009     Mission Statement added to Main Street and Core Values added to Rotunda and Aspen Entrance

2010     New Marketing Office

2010     New B cottage, Heritage Court

2011     Aspen added Snoezelen Room

2011     Renovating RL Kitchens

2011     Frederick Mennonite Community rebranded to Frederick Living

2012     Smoke and Tobacco Free Campus as of January 1, 2012

2012     Board Room transitioned to Brendlinger Learning Center

2012     Massage Room moved from Aspen to the Medical Suite

2012     Adult Day Center closed on July 31, 2012

2012     Acquisition of Liberty In Home Care, a joint venture with Tel Hai, FTH Services, Inc. on December 31, 2012

2013     Heritage Library becomes Marketing Conference Room and Selection Room

2013     Physical Therapy moves from Mag West to Mag East in the Magnolia Country Kitchen Conference Room and the former                  PT area becomes an office for Personal Care

2013     Main Street and Oaktree Center Signage added and the medical suite renamed to the Wellness Suite

2014     Bank moved from Rotunda to Oaktree Center

2015     Patio Apartments added in Added in former adult day services space

2015     Cedarwood Conference Room added in Magnolia East

2015     Residential Living mail rooms moved to three new locations and inside entrance added to Magnolia East

2015     Groundbreaking for the Meadows project

2015     Dining renovations – Frederick Bistro, Freddie’s Corner and Fireside created

2019     55 cottages added upon completion of The Meadows