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Altenheim Opened, May 7, 1891

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▼ Newpaper Article

-from the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, Friday, May 8, 1891


The Home for the Aged Transferred to the Trustees.


And the Interesting Exercises are Enjoyed by Many Prominent People—Something about the Home. The Trustees and Managers.

Altenheim, the aged, for indebted to the liberality and philanthropy of Mr. Anton Reymann, was formally opened yesterday in the presence of an unexpectedly large crowd of ladies and gentlemen, the ladies being largely in the majority, owing, no doubt, to the hour at which the excretes took place. The institution is one of which the people of Wheeling may always be proud, and it will stand as a durable and fitting monument of the generosity and humane spirit of the founder.

There are very few cities of population of Wheeling that can show such an institution as "Altenheim," and it would be a credit to a much larger place. Mr. Reymann has long desired to found such a home, and in his travels in this country and Europe he visited many similar homes and examined their construction and arrangement. In fitting up Altenheim ho has had the benefit of this wide observation, and he spared neither trouble nor money to make this home aa complete ae any in the land.


Illustration of Altenheim from Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, May 8, 1891When Mt. Belleview hotel was found to be for sale, its eminent fitness for the purpose he had in view was apparent, and be lost no time in securing the property, and since it came into his possession it has been undergoing a of remodeling and renovation which makes it practically a new building, as well fitted for the uses of a home for aged women as if the architect had in the beginning had this in view. The surroundings are as charming as the wealthiest man could command for his home. Indeed, the view from the long porches would be hard to surpass for quiet beauty, and the premises themselves favored by nature in many ways, have been beautified under the supervision of Mr. Reymann, and with the aid of the experience and taste of Mr. W. F. Krieger and the helpful suggestions of the ladies and gentlemen into whose care the home came yesterday, until the most exacting can find nothing wanting. The home is substantial, well ventilated and conveniently arranged, and the furnishing is tasteful and comfortable in every respect. In short, it is a home in the best sense of the word.


The announcement that the formal transfer of the home to the Board of Trustees by Mr. Reymann would occur yesterday was expected to draw a large attendance to witness the exercises, but it was in nobody's mind that the people would be there in such numbers as they did come. Many drove out in private conveyances, while the Elm Grove road, which had generously placed the fare at the nominal sum of ten cents for the round trip, carried out five car-loads of people at two o'clock and three crowded ones at three, while on other regular trains many also went. Long before three o'clock the Home was as full of people as it could comfortably hold, and when the three o'clock motor arrived it became a veritable jam. 

Those who arrived early spent the time pleasantly in going over and inspecting the place, and all were in, in praise of the good taste enthusiastic which designed and the liberality which made possible such an addition to the public institutions of this community. Shortly after the arrival of the last delegation of visitors, when at least 500 people were in the house, the formal exercises of transferring the home to the Board of Trustees opened in the large and cheerful parlors. The audience crowded it almost to suffocation, and the porches outside held almost as many people, who listened through the open doors and windows.


Mr. Reymann, in making the formal transfer, made a brief but felicitous and appropriate address. He said:

Anton ReymannGENTLEMAN, TRUSTEES AND LADY MANAGERS: —This day has been set apart for the formal opening of the Altenheim and for its formal acceptance by you.

In transferring this structure with the surroundings to your care, to be used as a Home for the Aged, I beg to call your attention to the fact that, whilst I have erected a durable, healthy and commodious building, I find it takes not only strong walls, well-ventilated rooms and pleasant surroundings to make a home, but whether it be the humblest hut or a luxurious palace, it takes a father's care and a mother's love and patience to constitute a home; and when I consider the ready acceptance of this trust, the earnestness and good will with which you have already entered into your duties, I feel assured, that you will make out of this institution what the name itself indicates. "Altenheim,” a Home for the Aged, and to this end I wish you God speed.

When Mr. Reymann concluded there was hearty applause, and Rev. Dr. R. R. Swope, President of the Board of Trustees, responding, first formally accepted the trust and then eloquently digressed to speak of the liberality of the donor, the consideration for the helpless aged in all civilized countries, and the thoughts suggested by the present occasion. Dr. Swope said:


In the name and on behalf of the Trustees and Lady Managers I accept the care of this institution, pledging you, sir, that we will endeavor to conduct it in such a manner as will best secure the purposes you have in founding it. That purpose—to furnish a home where those whose life it in the sere and yellow leaf period may find the comfort, care and repose that nature then requires—is one of the most and deserving to which wealth appropriate can be applied.

Infancy and age, though separated by such a gulf of days, and each variety of experiences, have yet this in common, that they are alike periods of infancy and dependence. Helpless almost equally helpless age most alike have care-takers. And nature has so provided that those who minister to helpless infancy shall, when the inevitable see-saw of time depresses their vital functions, be in turn ministered to by those whom they have nourished. This is not due to any human law, not because of the personal worth of the parent, but is the result of a natural principle having its basis in the relation which exists between the parent and child.

But it will happen sometimes through those strange and mysterious occurrences that mark the order of human lives that the Indian summer of our days comes upon us and finds us without the natural guardians and caretakers whose loving and dutiful attention and physical vigor should then supply our lack. Old age is often alone, and it is a loneliness that is dark indeed. If you have ever found yourself in a queer city with its hurrying and crowds, and you felt that there was no heart there that was in sympathy and none who felt more than a sentiment of curiosity or passing interest in you, you have realized something of the feelings of those who have seen their generation pass away and who are left as Dr. Holmes pictures it, "the last leaf upon the tree."

It is to the credit of the human heart that it has recognized this condition, and how it has sought to provide for some extreme remedy. Homes are provided by public or private generosity in all our large cities where those who stand in need may have the ministering care which they require.

To-day we have met hero to inaugurate the opening of an institution of this character. The plan to found here an institution which shall be for aged women, a home in every sense of the most comprehensive word.

I congratulate the friends present, I congratulate the community on the acquisition of this building. I congratulate the donor for what he has done. His generosity will carry its own reward. It bleeses them who will find here a home, but far more does it bless him. The stone in the cemetery will crumble, its inscription become illegible, but this institution will remain an enduring and an ever abiding power memorial for good.

He wound up with a fervent of the blessing of the Almighty invocation on the institution. At the conclusion of the prayer the people crowded about the speakers to congratulate them on their happy remarks, and then all went to examine the beautiful home.


During the day refreshments were served by the ladies, and a great many people embraced the opportunity, the proceeds netting a neat sum as a nest egg in the treasury of the institution. 

Mr. Reymann has with his accustomed generosity offered to bear all the of the Home for one year, but expenses it is the earnest hope of the Trustees and ought to be the aim and determination of all public spirited citizens to relieve him of this burden. Philanthropic people will find Altenheim a good object to remember in their wills, or better still, to remember substantially in their life-time. Rooms can be or inmates given a life home in the house at a very slight expense. It is required that an applicant for admission to the Home shall be approved first by the Board of Lady Managers, and then by the Board of Trustees, and shall pay an admission fee of $300. This entitles one to a home there for life.
Several of the inmates already admitted have considerable musical taste, and it was suggested yesterday by one of the visitors that a wealthy person could not do a better thing than to present the Home with a piano.


The Board of Lady Managers of the Home is composed of Mrs. Anton Reymann, President; Mrs. N. B. Scott, Secretary; Mrs. Mary Franzheim, Mrs. H. F. Behrens and Miss Frederika Oesterling. The members of the Board of Trustees are Rev. Dr. R. R. Swope, President; Dr. A. F. 8tifel, Secretary; Mr. L. F. Stifel, Treasurer; Hon. N. B. Scott and Mr. Henry Bieberson. The Matron is Mrs. Amelia Hubert, late of a similar home in New York. There are already three inmates in the Home, while a fourth has been admitted and there are one or two applications awaiting the action of the authorities. Those already in the institution are Mrs. Rose Wood, of Martin's Ferry, and two sisters, the Misses Dyas. Miss Susan Newham, of this city, has been admitted, but has not yet entered the Home.

There are in the house about forty rooms. The bed rooms are light, cheerful and airy, and everything about the place is attractive and home like. Altenheim will doubtless be a favorite resort for visitors.


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