Over 120 Years of Care
What started as a small Christian welfare program for orphaned children in 1895, has evolved into a unique retirement community based on the contemporary continuum-of-care model.
The History of Bethany Home
August 1895 – Bethania Bornerjem (Danish for Bethany Children’s Home) opens its doors in Albert Lea, Minnesota.
July 1897 – At the annual convention in Blaire, Nebraska, the Synod votes to relocate the children’s home to Waupaca, Wisconsin. The Danish community of Waupaca raises $600 toward the project.
September 1897 – The United Evangelical Lutheran Church purchases 30 acres stretching from the banks of the Crystal River to the southeastern shore of Shadow Lake.
October 1899 – The new 40-resident children’s home opens.
1953 – Realizing that children are better served in foster care than orphanages, the Church directs that the children’s home be phased out and Bethany begin its new mission as a Christian home for the aged.
1954 – Bethany begins operations as a retirement home with 18 guests and a budget of less than $4,000.
August 1960 – Ground is broken for improved facilities on Shadow Lake.
October 1961 – Guests move in to the modernized home.
December 1961 – The new Bethany is dedicated “To the Glory of God.”
1980s – 1990s
1982 – The first phase of construction begins on the Shadow Woods Independent Living homes on the peninsula between Shadow Lake and the Crystal River.
1992 – The Pines, RCAC connects 20 apartments to the skilled nursing facility – creating a precursor to the assisted living model.
2004 – 40 independent living duplexes are occupied.
2007 – Bethany begins offering Outreach Services, benefiting the greater community.
2016 – 2017
Summer 2016 – Bethany purchases a retreat house on Shadow Lake Drive for family and friends to vacation throughout the year.
September 2016 – The Springs Wellness Center Opens.
November 2016 – Bethany adds 20 additional apartments to The Pines, RCAC Assisted Living.
June 2017 – Three story building opens up adding 18 short-term rehabilitative suites, 18 long-term dementia rooms, and 18 long-term skilled nursing rooms.
March 2018 – Connector opens up! The connector, referred to as “Main Street” has a library, game room, and bar available for residents and as spaces to rent to the community.
April 2018 – The Pines, CBRF dementia unit opens up. This addition added 37 rooms for assisted living, but lowered the skilled nursing census from 104 to 98. Studies have shown that many people in nursing homes need care but not skilled nursing care. Adding an additional level of assisted living costs families and the state less money but provides residents with the care they need.
July 2018 – With the waiting list for Shadow Woods Independent Living so long; Bethany purchased a home on Shadow Lake Drive available for rent. This house is a part of the Shadow Woods community.
2019 – 2020
2019 – Bethany lowered the skilled nursing bed census from 98 to 85.
2020 – Bethany raised the skilled nursing bed census from 85 to 100.
Today, Bethany Home is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Its corporate members include 27 area Lutheran Churches, two Episcopal Churches, one United Methodist Church, one Presbyterian and one Catholic Church.
Our license currently includes:
- 100 Skilled Nursing Home Beds
- 49 Assisted Living CBRF Rooms
- 40 Assisted living RCAC (Studio, 1-Bedroom, and 2-Bedroom) Apartments
- 41 Independent Living Units
- 1 Shadow Lake Retreat House
Our Community Faith Partners
Bethany Home is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, but is pleased to have a voting membership, or Member Congregations, that includes all denominations. Bethany and the Member Congregation partners share a similar vision of Christian housing and services for seniors, and disabled persons, who live on the Bethany campus, and also for those that serve in the community.
- Christus Lutheran Church, Clintonville
- Farmington Lutheran Church, Waupaca
- First English Lutheran Church, Appleton
- First Lutheran Church, Poy Sippi
- First Lutheran Church, Ogdensburg
- First Presbyterian Church, Weyauwega
- First United Methodist Church, Waupaca
- Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Plover
- Grace Lutheran Church, Larsen
- Hitterdahl Lutheran Church, Iola
- Hope Lutheran Church, Wautoma
- Immanuel Lutheran Church, Fremont
- Mount Morris Lutheran Church, Wautoma
- Nelsonville Evangelical Lutheran, Nelsonville
- North New Hope Lutheran, Rosholt
- Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Iola
- Peace Lutheran Church, Amherst
- Scandinavia Lutheran Church, Scandivavia
- Saint John Lutheran Church, Saxeville
- Saint John Lutheran Church, Weyauwega
- Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church, Waupaca
- Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, Waupaca
- Saint Olaf’s Episcopal Church, Amherst
- Saint Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church, Weyauwega
- Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church, Wautoma
- The Lakes Church, Waupaca
- Trinity Lutheran Church, New London
- Trinity Lutheran Church, Stevens Point
- Trinity Lutheran Church, Waupaca
- West Holden Lutheran Church, Wautoma
- Zion Lutheran Church, Appleton
- Zion Lutheran Church, Manawa
Directing Bethany Home’s Future
The Board of Directors shall have general control and general management of the Corporation as limited by vote of the Corporation or by law. They will have full responsibility for the budgetary and fiscal management of the Corporation. They shall possess all the powers which could be exercised by the Corporation at meetings duly called for the specific purpose.
It is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to transmit proposed changes in the facility’s mission statement, or proposed amendments to its articles of incorporation, constitution, or by-laws, affecting corporate membership, nonprofit status, dissolution clause, board elections, and board membership criteria to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for review and comment.