1912 - 1993

Incorporated February 21, 1918


IN THE BEGINNING, A CIRCLE...............................................................................                                              (1912 - 1917)

In the year 1912, the Worthy Matrons of District 20, Order of the Eastern Star, met at Sister Anna Wurst's home (Cardinal Chapter #140).  Their 1912 Worthy Grand Matron, Sister May W. Elliott (also a Past Matron of Cardinal Chapter #140) along with the Deputy Grand Matron of District #20, Sister Emma Engelhardt (Past Matron of Arra Chapter #160), were invited to attend.  The The purpose of the meeting was to sponsor a project which would commemorate their Worthy Grand Matron's year of service to the Order of the Eastern Star.  Several matters were discussed:  Sister Emma Engelhardt proposed a "Hospital Circle," to which Sister May readily agreed.  This "Hospital Circle" was to visit Masonic-related members in city hospitals.  From this nucleus, 75 years later, stands our Hamilton County O.E.S. Home in 1993.

The 1912 Grand Proceedings contained a letter, dated March 5th, which was sent by Sister May Elliott to each Deputy Grand Matron:

                                                            "At each of your inspections I ask you

                                                            to make the following announcements:


                                                            The Eastern Star Chapters of Hamilton

                                                            County have organized an O.E.S. Hospital

                                                            Circle for the purpose of visiting members

                                                            of Masonic or Eastern Star families who

                                                            must be sent to any of the hospitals in

                                                            Cincinnati for treatment.

                                                            The object is not charity, but GOOD CHEER.

                                                            By writing the Chairman, Miss Emma Engelhardt,

                                                            Mrs. Martha Van Slyck, Secretary, or Mrs.

                                                            Anna Runk, Treasurer, you insure your 'loved

                                                            ones' dear friends to help them wile away

                                                            the long, weary hours that much necessarily

                                                            come to 'strangers in a strange land.'


                                                            The members of the Circle are ready and

                                                            anxious for the work they have taken up and

                                                            hope to be able to give you a good report of

                                                            their visitations in a short while.


                                                            The Brothers are asked to make this announcement

                                                            in their lodge and help us spread the good work."

All Masonic Lodges in Cincinnati received a letter sent in 1913 requesting the Worshipful Master to appoint a committee to visit the O.E.S. Hospital Circle's meetings and advise the Circle of any Masons who needed a hospital visit.  At first eight lodges responded:  one year later 17 lodges were added to the O.E.S. Hospital Circle roster, with a total of nearly $800.00 in donations.

Between 1912-1913, forty patients received attention from the newly formed Hospital Circle, with a membership in the Hospital Circle of 237.  Until 1922, the total number of visits were:

                                                            Hospital Cases.......................2,908

                                                            Home Cases..........................1,565

                                                            Active Members of Circle.......2,473

                                                            Associate Members................1,399

                                                            Masonic Representatives...........807
























Charter Members and Organizers of O.E.S. Hospital Circle

    Upper Row - Annie Bell, Jettie Doughman, Lillie Menzel, Sallie Hoke (Fairmount #352), Mayme Walker

    Center Row - Clara Monaghan, Lillie Dames, Anna Springmeier, Emma Engelhardt

    Lower Row - Margaret See (Sycamore #314), May W. Elliott, P.G.M. (Cardinal #140), Florence Rudolph,

                          Anna Wurst (Cardinal #140)











THE NEED FOR OUR OWN HOME...............................................................................                                          (1918 - 1965)

A change in direction occurred in 1917 when the Hospital Circle was notified that a Mason was denied admission into one of the Cincinnati Hospitals (the rules forbidding entrance of patients afflicted with incurable diseases).  With this problem at hand, a movement was started to create a combined Home and Hospital in Hamilton County to be under the supervision of the District #20 Chapters.  At a Hospital Circle meeting on September 6, 1917, a committee of five was appointed by Sister Emma Engelhardt to make plans for such a Home.  By October, there were 18 Chapters represented by 29 members with the original committee, resolving with a motion by Brother Erich Geske to incorporate for $25,000.00, and that the institution be known as The Hamilton County Order of the Eastern Star Home and Hospital.

The Charter showed the incorporation date as February 21, 1918.  Of those signing the charter, the first slate of officers for the Home were:  President James F. Stout; Vice President, Martha Van Slyck; Secretary, Hattie Simon; and Treasurer, Elizabeth Metcalfe.  All signers of the Articles of Incorporation were constituted as members of the Board of Directors.

Three thousand certificates of stock were printed which were sold for $2.00 a share.  Two separate funds were established, (1) the property fund, consisting of all money realized from the sale of stock; and (2) the maintenance fund, derived from donations, from which all expenses were to be paid to keep the property fund intact.

The first Board of Directors met at Third Protestant Church on Walnut Street.  By April 13, 1919, the audit showed a balance of $2,335.00 on hand, $2,000.00 of which was invested in Liberty Bonds.

Arrangements were made for the first outing at Madison Park, Oakley, on August 9, 1919, with many attractions, proving both a social and financial success, netting $2,806.00.

The number of Directors on the Board was increased from fifteen to thirty members so all District #20 Chapters could be represented.  By the end of 1919, assets for the Home were $6,231.40.











Hamilton County O.E.S. Home and Hospital Association, 1917


By 1920, a third Board of Directors was elected comprising of:  President, Emma Engelhardt; Vice President, James F. Stout; Secretary, Mary D. Blair; Treasurer, George Schmidt; and Financial Secretary, Sister D. Hartkemeier.  An outing held this year netted around $4,000.00, the monies then invested in Victory Bonds.

The 1921 Board consisted of:  President, Emma Engelhardt; Vice President, James F. Stout; Secretary, Ella Vornheder (to serve as Worthy Grand Matron, 1926, and Past Matron of Westwood Chapter #290); Treasurer, George Schmidt; and Financial Secretary, Mary W. Blair.

August 20, 1921, the annual outing was held at Carthage Fairgrounds, netting over $9,000.00.  In July 1922, a Charity Ball was given which was a financial and social success.

At the March 1922 Board meeting, Alex Frank (Chairman of the Property Committee) reported that his committee had investigated five different propositions for building a home:  (1) an outright gift of approximately four acres of land on Carthage Pike to be donated by Brother and Sister Brammerlin (however, this property was undeveloped so it was considered unadvisable); (2) Home of the Cloister Sisters on Melrose Avenue; (3) Park Hotel property at the end of College Hill's trolley line; (4) a large residence on Woodford Road; and (5) the DeBrul property on Colerain Avenue.

After carefully investigating each, the committee recommended the College Hill property.  The Directors met at 10:00am on April 2, 1922, on this property after considering it the best location, then called a stockholders meeting on April 6 at Third Protestant Church for ratification of the Board's decision.

Brother Harry Engelhardt, serving as attorney for the Board, purchased the O.E.S. Home property on April 7, 1922, for a purchase prices of $27,500.00, with a deposit of $20,000.00 and a promissory note for $7,500.00 with 5% interest.

Another outing was held on July 29, 1922, this time on the grounds of the Home, netting $11,000.00.

Remodeling of the building began immediately, with the firm Bentel and Highland being awarded the contract (the Bentel family being active with Westwood Chapter #290).

The Hamilton County O.E.S. Home, the first in the State of Ohio, was formally dedicated on Annual Outing Day, August 11, 1923, at 3:00pm, by Harry S. Johnson and Emma Engelhardt, President of the Board.  At that time the Home was complete with new furnishings and entirely free from debt.  The Board met for the first time at the Home on August 20, 1923, and the first resident was received on October 21.

The purchase of 134 feet of ground directly West of the Home was made in May 1928.  The Home's kitchen was fully renovated, equipped with electrical appliances and steam tables, in May 1934.

After Brother James Stout's year as President of the Board followed Emma Engelhardt's tenure as President (1919-1939), the longest term of any individual.  Sister Kate Siegman (Golden Rod Chapter #55) served as President of the Board from 1939 - 1942.

By 1941, hospital coding laws and regulations restricted the District from continuing the Home and Hospital as originally incorporated.  Thus in September 1941, the Home's name was changed to "The Hamilton County O.E.S. Home," to serve only as a "rest home and nursing facility" as decreed by State regulations.

Sister Elsa Ziegler (Past President of Aid Society, Past Matron of Westwood Chapter #190 and Deputy Grand Matron in 1937) served as Board President from 1942 - 1953.  Sister Bettie Laudeman (Past Matron of Pleasant Ridge Chapter #378 and Deputy Grand Matron in 1938) served as President from 1954 until 1960.


A NEW ERA, A NEW BUILDING...............................................................................                                             (1966 - today)

During these years it became apparent that our old building had outlived its usefulness.  Throughout this time the Home was remembered by our members in their wills, special gifts, and memorials.  These monies were carefully invested in government bonds and building associations.

In 1960, Brother Nat Binder (Past Patron of Sycamore Chapter #314) became President of the Board.  During that same year, the Home was the recipient of a legacy towards construction of a new building from Brother Edward H. Hoffeld (Past Patron of McKinley Chapter #143).  Brother Ed had been a Board member for many years, and his generosity toward the Home during his family's lifetime was greatly appreciated.  The plaque that now stands in our new Home reads:

                                                            "This Building is designated as a memorial

                                                            to Anne E. Hoffeld, Past Matron of McKinley

                                                            Chapter #143, in grateful appreciation of a

                                                            very generous gift from her husband, Edward

                                                            H. Hoffeld, Past Patron, McKinley Chapter

                                                            #143, designated in his will to be used

                                                            toward the construction of this Eastern

                                                            Star Home."


A special meeting was held on June 11, 1961, by the Executive Board to discuss remodeling our new building.  The Building Committee consulted architects and preliminary plans were presented.  Proxies were sent out to each stockholder in August 1963, and approval was given on October 5, 1963, to construct a new Home.  The firm of Glaser and Myers and Associates was approved by the Board as the architectural firm.  Bids were submitted and the general contract was awarded to Robert Redwine and Son.


Sister Martha W. Newell (Past Grand Matron, 1957, and Past Matron of Ohio Chapter #218) accepted the chairmanship of the Fundraising Campaign.  The committee asked each District #20 member for a three-year pledge of $1.00 per month to help amortize our loan.  Large gifts (originally of $100.00 or more) were recognized by the donor's name placed on a bronze plaque in the lobby.














Cover photograph for 1966 Hamilton County O.E.S. Home dedication booklet, June 1st



At the annual Gift Day (formerly the Annual Outing) on June 27, 1964, ground was broken on the site by Martha Messinger, a 1936 Past Matron of Dorcas Chapter #277, who was a resident of the Home for many years.  The cornerstone for the new Home was laid November 15, 1964 by the Grand Lodge of Ohio, Free and Accepted Masons, under the direction of the Grand Master, Brother Edgar L. Ott.  With Sam G. Hall as Marshall, a parade preceded the ceremony in which the State, District and local officers of O.E.S, Syrian Shrine Temple units, Hanselmann Commandery, DeMolay Chapters, and Master Masons of College Hill Lodge #641 participated.  In the Cornerstone placed for the new building were the following items:


                                    (1)    The Holy Bible

                                    (2)    First Financial Report, May 3, 1919

                                    (3)    Newspaper pictures of Directors of the Home, 1922

                                    (4)    Picture of 1964 Board of Trustees

                                    (5)    Picture of the Aid Society Officers

                                    (6)    Copy of the Constitution for the Home

                                    (7)    Roster, 1964 of 20th District Association

                                    (8)    Roster, 1964 of 1st Masonic District Association

                                    (9)    Ohio O.E.S. Diamond Jubilee Souvenir Book autographed by the

                                            1964 Grand Officers, Past Grand Matrons and Past Grand Patrons

                                            present at the 75th Session of Ohio Grand Chapter

                                  (10)    A photograph of the groundbreaking

                                  (11)    A photograph of Barbara Dice's 100th Birthday

                                  (12)    A copy of 1963 Audit Report

                                  (13)    By-Laws and list of Past Presidents, Aid Society

                                  (14)    A copy of Home Reporter

                                  (15)    A copy of Hilltop News


The official dedication of May 1, 1966, was honored by Worthy Grand Matron, Sister Cathryn W. Wilson; members of the Grand Chapter; Past Grand Matrons; Past Grand Patrons; the Grand Master of Masons in Ohio, M.W.B. George Desilver; Judge Chase M. Davies, Mayor Walton Bachrach; and other distinguished guests.  The Board members who served on the new building committee were:  Louise C. Kadon, General Chairman of the Building Committee (Past Matron of Hyde Park Chapter #313); Margaret Hawthorne Topie, Co-Chairman, Furnishings (Past Matron, Mt. Healthy Chapter #365; Deputy Grand Matron, 1940); Francis Diehl, Finance (Past Patron, Fairmount Chapter #352); and May Crow, Admissions.  Chairman of the Building Dedication was Sister Mollie Clark (Past Matron, Westwood Chapter #290).  Nineteen residents from the old building moved into the new Home that year.  During this stage, the 1966 Home provided for 44 of the originally planned 125 beds, and limited admissions to O.E.S. members from District 20 being over 65 years of age (similar to admissions for the original Home).


At the time of the 1966 dedication, 35 chapters from District #20 participated (ten of which are now closed):  Violet #45; Golden Rod #55 (closed); Alba #104; Cardinal #140, McKinley #143, Arra #160; Walnut Hills #213 (closed); Ohio #218 (closed); Dorcas #277; Hoffner #286; Westwood #290; Cleves #295; Hyde Park #313 (closed); Sycamore #314; Marion #318; Columbian #339; Fairmount #352; Sapphire #362 (closed); Mt. Healthy #365; Madisonville #373 (closed); Marvin #376; Pleasant Ridge #378; Sayler Park #387 (closed); Winton #389; Daylight #399 (closed); Ida #416; Norwood #421; Avon Noon #434 (closed); Wyoming #435; College Hill #469; Cincinnati #484; Hanselmann #503 (closed); Martha #511, Mariemont #525; and Colerain #573.



THE HOME AND ITS FUNCTION FROM 1966..............................................................................                                         

From a staff of 23 listed in the 1966 Dedication Program that worked at our Home (covering 44 beds), today's staff numbers 61 full-time and 33 part-time staff (excluding Auxiliary volunteers) to cover 70 beds.  The Front Office Secretary works under the supervision of the Business Manager with modern computerization of all records and payroll.  The Social Services Director and our Administrator share neighboring offices next door to the Front Office.  Near the Chapel door is an office for the Dietary Department, while in the Nursing Unit is where the Director of Nursing, Assistant Director of Nursing , the Nursing Supervisor, and their staff are located.  The Activity Director and her assistants work near the Lower Level Activity Room which is located near the Beauty Shop.  The Laundry/Housekeeping Services and Maintenance Crew are also located on the Lower Level of the Home, all comprising important components in running day-to-day operations.

Many of these functions listed above were added during the 1970's.  The number of employees in 1978 was approximately 39, which included one porter, seven in the Housekeeping Department, 10 kitchen staff, three GLPN's, five LPN's, six Nursing Aides, one RN, one office clerk, one part-time weekend office clerk, one bookkeeper, one part-time guard, one University student serving as a part-time Activity Director, and one full-time Administrator.

The first major social event held in the new building was for Past Grand Matron, Sister Marguerite W. Steele, on September 25, 1966.  Sister Marguerite (who served the Grand Chapter as Worthy Grand Matron in 1953, and Past Matron of Mt. Healthy Chapter #365) served the General Grand Chapter in 1966 for the Appeals and Grievances Committee.

Nat Binder's term as President of the Board ended in 1968, followed by Margaret Hawthorne Topie serving from Spring 1968 until 1971 when Dr. George Flowers (Past Patron, Golden Rod Chapter #55 and also Past Patron, College Hill Chapter #469) served until 1974.  Sister Eva Hornung (Past Matron of Hanselmann Chapter #503) and Grand Representative of New York in 1971-1974) served the Board as President until the Fall of 1978.  Since then, our current President of the Board, Sister Elizabeth Russell Whitaker (Past Matron, Pleasant Ridge Chapter #378) is fast approaching the record-number of years as President that Emma Engelhardt served (20 years, from 1919-1939).  Sister Betty took on the reins of leadership during the latter part of 1978 and she has served in a most professional manner, overseeing many changes at the Home during the interim.

Architectural drawing of Apartment and Chapel addition on western side of the   Home, 1976; dedicated June 4, 1978












The Tenth Anniversary was celebrated for the present building on November 23, 1975.  At that time it was announced that the Board was looking into further expansion.  Sister Katherine Hohmann, a member of Daylight Chapter #399, offered to underwrite the cost of the architectural fees, together with a Chapel and a two-bedroom apartment in conjunction with the Home which she would occupy.  This was to be dedicated to her husband, Judge William P. Hohmann, Past Patron of Daylight Chapter #399, a member of the Board and a legal advisor to the Home.  The Board accepted this donation.  In June 1976, the Board proceeded with the expansion of two new wings to add 10 rooms per wing for a total of 26 beds, the two-bedroom apartment, a Chapel, and a meeting room under the Chapel which is now the Activity Room.  Included in this phase was the renovation of handicapped-access for the First Floor restrooms to conform with new building code requirements.  Dedicated on June 4, 1978, these renovations were proudly opened during the tenure of Board President, Sister Eva Hornung.  Of special note are the two beautiful stained-glass Chapel windows, one of which was donated by the Aid Society and the other by the Girls' Club of the Home.

Other additions to our Home during the 1970's and 1980's occurred because of fire and safety regulations as well as for the comfort of our residents (i.e., air-conditioning).

Over the years the Home has changed some policies.  Because of rising costs and longevity of residents, it was no longer feasible to enter into Long-Term Contracts.  In 1983, unable to fill beds to offset the budget needed to keep the Home running, the Board determined that Masons and their families could apply for admission.  In order to keep our philanthropic status, we now have an open-admission policy.


SPECIAL EVENTS, FUNDRAISING, AND SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS..........................................                                         

Changes have also occurred in ways that the Home has raised funds.  During the early years the Home had its annual outing on the grounds.  This evolved into "Gift Day" which continued until the late 1970's.  The early 1980's saw the emergence of the popular "flea market" venue.  Organizations such as the 34/20 Club, later evolving into the PHP organization, "People Helping People," hosts many events for the Home:  the annual Corn Roast during August; a winter social; and other money-making ventures such as trips to Las Vegas, with tax-deductible donations going to the Home.  Originally, the first Corn Roast was sponsored by the 1953 Circle.

A 1980 money-making trip that helped fund the Home was led by Past Grand Matron, Sister Marguerite W. Steele, and her husband, Brother Albert from Mt. Healthy Chapter #365.  They led travelers on a cruise from New York City to Bermuda for a 7-day adventure and to meet fellow O.E.S. members.  This trip netted the Home $1,687.50.  More recent excursions are October bus trips to an Edinburgh, Indiana shopping mall sponsored by the annual Trim-A-Tree fundraiser.  These projects help keep the costs reasonable for our residents.

Over time the original Hospital Circle, which was the seed for our Home, found itself duplicated by many individual chapters and lodges throughout Cincinnati.  By 1983 the officers, led by then President Sister Ann Boehm (Past Matron of Sycamore Chapter #314 and Deputy Grand Matron in 1991), dissolved the Hospital Circle.  The intent of the Hospital Circle still survives by its many subsidiaries that have evolved since.

A long-running organization that has supported the Home over 70 years is the Aid Society, founded on October 17, 1923.  Its purpose then, as now, was to raise funds to aid in the maintenance of the Home.  Each chapter has one representative, and all Eastern Stars as well as friends are welcome.  At first, meetings were held on the third Wednesday of the month preceded by a luncheon served by one of the chapters.  Today the Aid Society meets on the second Wednesday from September through May.  Each year the Aid Society raises substantial donations derived, in the beginning, from the annual outing under their direction.  Today funds are raised from the luncheons served (with bakery items and fancy goods on sale), as well as by hosting the annual May social and the September product-test.  The 1993 President is Sister Thelma McGill (Past Matron, Daylight Chapter #399; Grand Representative of Maryland 1989-1991).

A new fundraiser that will be published in the near future is a Hamilton County O.E.S. Home Cookbook titled, Til We Eat Again.  An Auxiliary member, Jean Morgan, helped the Home in developing this book.  Another recent fundraiser was the October 1992 "Tall Stacks" boat ride on the Ohio River which raised funds and was a successful social event as well.









The Auxiliary-sponsored Gift Shop, dedicated at Grand Family Day, 1990, houses a menagerie of items for sale to benefit the Home

Two special organizations gave birth in the Home during the early 1980's.  In 1983, the Matrons of the 1957 Circle, in honor of their Past Grand Matron, Sister Martha W. Newell, dedicated their money-making efforts for the Home by coordinating the first to be annual "Martha W. Newell Trim-A-Tree Party."  The party, held on December 18, 1983, collected contributions that totaled $5,557.46.  The second Trim-A-Tree, hosted by the 1983 Past Matrons, was held in December 1984, and they contributed $5,429.95 to the Home.  Each year the Trim-A-Tree celebration is hosted by the junior-past Matrons of District 20.  The money donated to the Home from Trim-A-Tree has helped to purchase many items such as a whirlpool bath, a large-screen TV, an industrial carpet sweeper, landscaping the gardens, and other special items.

The other special organization that gave birth in the 1980's was the Volunteer Auxiliary, founded by first President of the Auxiliary, Sister Elizabeth Bryan (later Mrs. Thomas Rich, Past Matron of McKinley Chapter #143; Deputy Grand Matron in 1988).  An orientation meeting was first held on January 16, 1984, for the Auxiliary, with Betty Bryan as Chairperson.  She was then elected President, serving from February 26, 1984, until February 1986.  The second  President, Sister Penny Walker (Past Matron of Pleasant Ridge Chapter #378; Grand Representative of Main 1993-95) served from 1986 until 1988.  The third President, Sister Jean Manning (Past Matron of Arra Chapter #160; Grand Representative of New Mexico, 1989-91) served until her term ended in February 1990.  Sister Carol Schroer (Past Matron, Hoffner Chapter #286) served as President from 1990 until 1992 (she is also President of the Association of Chapters, District 20 during 1993).  The current Auxiliary President is Sister Ruby E. Keel (Past Matron of Hoffner Chapter #286; Grand Representative of Scotland, 1982-85).

The Auxiliary sponsors a Sewing Circle, Front Desk receptionists, gift shop clerks, and a host of other volunteer duties throughout the Home.  The volunteers are feted annually at the February dinner in their honor where "Volunteer of the Year" and "Chapter of the Year" awards are given.  Each year the Auxiliary also gives large donations to the Home raised primarily through sales at the Gift Shop.  This beautiful shop, renovated in 1990, is well supervised by Sister Norma Meinking (Past Matron of Mt. Healthy Chapter #365; Grand Representative of Minnesota, 1969-1972) and assistants.  The Gift Shop houses a variety of specialty items, toilet articles, and seasonal and novelty toys for all ages.

Another program which the Auxiliary promotes is the Home's Secret Pals.  Each resident is matched up with a volunteer who acts as a "secret pal" for one year for the resident until the pals are revealed on the Saturday before Easter at a special party.  Besides this party, the Auxiliary helps to promote other special events like birthday parties, Christmas with Santa, New Year's Eve celebrations and Oktoberfests.

Grand Family Day was another innovation during the 1980's, first beginning as a day to honor the Worthy Grand Matron on her official visit to the Home.  This celebration has evolved into a major event involving the entire District, including the Chapter line officers, Auxiliary volunteers, and special entertainment.  Starting in 1985 with the Gazebo in the western courtyard gardens (designed and built by Brother Michael F. Rice, Past Patron of McKinley Chapter #143 and Board member) to 1993, something special has been added to the Home each year.

The "landmark" sign, dedicated at the 1992 Grand Family Day, was placed on the front lawn of the Home to emphasize our location on North Bend Road.  The sign was designed by architect, Brother Robert Bicknaver, in honor of his father who had been a resident at our Home, and funding for the sign was received from a special friend of the Home.  This sign was so outstanding that further funding was received to cover architectural drawings to enhance the lobby, offices and build a new canopy entrance.  The Board accepted the funding, and Brother Bicknaver's firm was appointed as the architects in conjunction with Art Crockett of Design Associates.  This latest renovation was dedicated at Grand Family Day, June 6, 1993.


MOVING TOWARD OUR 100th ANNIVERSARY.........................................................................                              (1993-2018)

Today our Home is based upon the philosophy of maintaining and enhancing each individual's dignity and self-worth.  It combines the traditional service of a residential home for the aged with a modern psycho-social medical service concerned with diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.

Personal care services offered include the choice of either private or semi-private rooms, companionship with other residents, a large home-like atmosphere in the living areas including a fireplace and adjoining porch on the First Floor.  On the Lower Level are two enclosed landscaped courtyards.

Besides providing quality 24-hour nursing care and medical services, the Home offers specialties (podiatry, dental and ophthalmologic services) as well as a full range of recreational services for the residents.  We are located in the College Hill community near shopping areas, restaurants, Senior Citizen centers, bus lines, and hospitals.  A laundry service within the building is available for residents' personal use.  A beauty shop and snack machines are readily available on the Lower Level for easy access.  A large elevator connects the two floors.

Residents may retain their own family physician or utilize the Home’s physician.  Our medical director, Dr. Frederick L. Tanzer, consults with our Home’s interdisciplinary team of our Administrator, Social Worker, Activity Director, Registered Dietician, and Director of Nursing so that the best care can be provided to each individual.  These interdisciplinary careplans are reviewed every 09 days so that each resident’s status is kept current.  Some of the many interdisciplinary services provided are Occupational and Physical Therapy (with a Rehabilitation Aid to follow-up 7 days a week), and Speech Therapy.  To keep abreast of changing issues, employee workshops and nurses’ reviews are regularly provided.

Our Home has grown from the number of beds (44 to 70) to also the number of staff required.  Our Home maintains two levels of care:  (1) assisted living (on the First Floor) with 31 beds, and (2) the intermediate nursing care level (on the Lower Level) with 39 beds.  There is also a Hospital Room for residents who need more nursing attention.  The Home is qualified to care for Hospice residents as well as those who desire short-term, respite care.

Our Home is licensed by the State of Ohio.  We are a member of the The American Philanthropic Homes for Aging, The Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, and The Ohio Southwest Health Care Association.

Our Social Services Department provides assistance with problems of daily living and guidance in the adjustment to life here at the Home.  To encourage family involvement and suggestions, the Social Worker meets monthly with family members to discuss concerns and present resolutions regarding the residents’ total careplan.  This department provides a forum, called “Resident Council,” to enhance communication in the Home and spark productive problem-solving. 

Our admissions are coordinated through Social Services via a visit to the prospective applicant’s home by an RN and the Social Worker before he/she is admitted to our Home.  Not restricted to Masonic-related members, new residents are welcome from the community, out-of-state, or other facilities.  Eastern Star members who reside here receive a small discount for monthly fees. 

The Activity Department has been established to fulfill the social, recreational, intellectual and spiritual needs of our residents.  The program includes visits by pet-owners, musicians from local schools, movies, seasonal parties as well as sing-a-longs, ice cream socials and special trips.  Our Home owns a van equipped with access for two wheelchairs (with a wheelchair lift), and carries a total of nine riders.  Van trips to interesting Cincinnati locations as well as trips to shopping malls, movies, Cincinnati Reds baseball games (with  tickets donated), and educational venues are regular events.  Outside organizations such as the Public Library’s Bookmobile and Cincinnati Bell Telephone’s Speakers’ Bureau visit often. 

Eastern Star chapters and Auxiliary members plan many special events such as square dancing to entertain our residents.  Visiting clergy from various community churches lead services in the Chapel as well as the Auxiliary volunteers who lead weekday Bible study. 

Since Fall, 1989 McKinley Chapter #143 meets in the Chapel on the first Thursday each month (September through June) so O.E.S. member-residents may participate.  Masonic youth organizations regularly visit the residents as part of their volunteer philanthropy work. 

Our card room, renovated by Marie Marcus in a sports theme with autographed photos of famous players, is available for private parties for family members and friends of residents who wish to entertain.  Three pianos and two organs are available for enjoyment throughout the Home. 

Our Food Service Department offers attractive, nutritious meals in a home-like atmosphere.  Menus are planned by our registered dietitian with input from the dietary staff and residents.  Physician-ordered special diets are offered under supervision of our trained personnel.  A salad bar is a recent addition to our First Floor dining room.  A catering service is also provided by the Dietary Department offering party foods and trimmings for events either inside or outside of the Home. 

The Home maintains an Endowment Fund of which monies are used for capital expenditures, new equipment, building maintenance and major repairs, special resident activity programs, and other uses as deemed by the Board of Trustees.  Endowment monies are also used for future construction and additions.  A future project will be renovation of the Chapel as well as remodeling the residents’ rooms.  The Endowment Fund is distinct from the Home’s Operating Fund which is used for the day-to-day costs of operation. 

Contributions to the Home’s Endowment Fund are of necessity to maintain and enhance the quality of life for the Home’s residents and to expand services and programs for future populations.  Our Home relies totally on bequests and donations by individuals, chapters and clubs to survive its day-to-day expenses.  The Home does not receive such government money as Medicaid-assisted beds to subsidize costs.  Contributions to the Endowment Fund are individually acknowledged, as well as are special memorials, contributions of $500.00 or more (a bronze plaque placed in the Chapel), or bequests in a will. 

Our Hamilton County Eastern Star Home had a modest beginning in 1912 as a social endeavor by a circle of Worthy Matrons wanting to perform an act of “good cheer” for their hospitalized brothers and sisters.  It is our goal that future members of our Order will continue our mission of love and service for our Home as we live by the Golden Rule of our Order, “Love One Another.” 

Edited by Melinda Hockman Callahan, Secretary, Board of Trustees; Past Matron, Westwood Chapter #290; 1988 Aid Society President; 1990-94 Auxiliary Recording Secretary.

Revised May 20, 1993














1993 BOARD OF TRUSTEES (left to right):  Alberta Mountain; Verna Goetz; Ralph Miller; Dale Nichols; Leonard Hornsby; Louis Hoff; Betty Haungs;

Gertrude Jeffries; Michael Rice; Betty R. Whitaker; Jeanne Klein; Melinda Callahan; Mary Helwig; Nancy Boggs, Cindy Lasonczyk; Mildred Leedom;

Jean Manning; Janet Harris; William Layman.




                                                   President          Elizabeth R. Whitaker         Pleasant Ridge #378

                                                   1st V.P.            Michael F. Rice                  McKinley #143

                                                   2nd V.P.           Jeanne Klein                      Columbian #339

                                                   Secretary          Melinda H. Callahan           Westwood #290

                                                   Treasurer         Betty Haungs                      Cardinal #140



                                                   Large:              Louis Hoff                          Dorcas #277

                                                                          Cindy Lasonczyk                 Sycamore #314

                                                                          Mildred Leedom                  Norwood #421

                                                                          Jean Manning                      Arra #160


                                                   Trustees:         Dale Nichols                        Alba #104

                                                                                                                   Cincinnati #484

                                                                         Doris Foster                        Cleves #295

                                                                         Janet Harris                         Colerain #573

                                                                        Alberta Mountain                  College Hill #469

                                                                        Verna Goetz                         Fairmount #352

                                                                        Leonard Hornsby                  Hoffner #286

                                                                        William Layman                    Ida #416

                                                                        Gertrude Jeffries                   Mariemont #525

                                                                        Vera Weaver                        Marion #318

                                                                        Naomi Sharp                        Martha #511

                                                                        Edna Oyler                           Marvin #376

                                                                        Ralph Miller                         Mt. Healthy #365

                                                                        Virginia Greenlee                  Violet #45

                                                                                                                   Winton #389

                                                                        Mary Helwig                        Wyoming #435




Front Cover Photo and 1993 Home photos:  David C. Railey, P.P., Westwood #290 (photographs taken on May 22, 1993)


Back Cover Photo, circa 1922:  Archives, Hamilton County OES Home (originally Park Hotel property)


Inside Front Cover, Violet Chapter #45W.M./W.P. Photo:  1921 Annual Outing Souvenir Booklet, Hamilton County OES Home and

                                                                                      Hospital Circle


1912 Matrons’ Circle Photo:  1921 Annual Outing Souvenir Booklet, Hamilton County OES Home and Hospital Circle


1917 OES Home Board Photo:  1921 Annual Outing Souvenir Booklet, Hamilton County OES Home and Hospital Circle


1966 Home photo:  Dedication Program, May 1, 1966


1976 Architectural drawing:  Archives, Hamilton County OES Home


1993 Board photo:  John Haungs, P.P., Cardinal #140


This booklet was prepared and printed by LAKAMP PRINTING.


Text references were collated from the Archives of the Home, including the 1921 and 1935 Outing Souvenir Programs, the 1966 Dedication Program, anecdotes from both past and present Board members, and the many other members of District #20 who were contacted in person or by telephone.  Special thanks to Sister Betty Russell Whitaker, 1993 Board President; Sister Nancy Boggs, Hamilton County O.E.S. Home Administrator; and Past Grand Matron, Sister Marguerite W. Steele, without whose help this history would have been impossible to complete.












Western courtyard gazebo, dedicated at Grand Family Day, 1985 by Worthy Grand Matron,

Sister Marjorie Karth, and built by Brother Michael F. Rice (McKinley Chapter #143)


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As published in OES District 20 Yahoo Groups on March 14, 2009



by Betty R. Whitaker, Seven Hills' Chapter

As President of the Home for 27 years I have many stories that could be told!

Ever since the Home was closed I have been asked..."what is going to happen to the Home?" 

The property was sold by the Ohio Masonic Home to the City of Cincinnati.  The City is currently demolishing the building.  The property in turn is to be sold to the Neyer Company.  Neyer has plans to build offices, stores, condos and apartments on all three corners of Hamilton and North Bend.  Neyer demolished the Wigwam and had planned to start on that corner last year but apparently never accomplished financing for the project.  Their project was supposed to revitalize College Hill.

Thanks to Dee Niederschmidt (sp) of Mt. Healthy Chapter many of us have the brick with our name on it which we purchased for the Alzheimer's garden.  She gathered up many of the bricks and gave them to the individuals.

I think my saddest memory is thinking of PGM Marguerite Steele sitting in her apartment looking at the front yard and imagining a major sign for the front yard and a canopy entrance!  She contributed the funds for these two projects and it made her so happy when these were finally erected.

We had wonderful workers and dedicated volunteers at the Home over the years.

Melinda Callahan wrote a history of the Home several years ago and if anyone would want a copy I am sure she still has some available.

My thanks to all who helped me over the years.

Betty Whitaker
7 Hills Chapter

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OES Home Demolition - March 30, 2009



                                                    Front Entrance                                                                            Front Entrance - Different View




                                    Chapel & Front Entrance Gone                                                                    Parking Lot / Front Entrance




                                Back Wing (Card Room) still standing




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