In 1872, a group of twenty four Oswego women joined to address concerns about the well-being of the community’s less fortunate women who were in need of help but had no support. In an era when there were no governmental agencies providing help like Social Services, Medicare and Medicaid, these twenty-four women were determined to give to these ladies what they could no longer provide for themselves. The founders solicited the help of important men in their lives to invest and manage the finances. Property was donated and funds were gathered.
The founders contracted A.J. Warner, a Rochester architect who was at the time working on the addition of the Richardson-Bates house. You can see a few of his original architectural drawings displayed in our first floor hall. The Greene Brothers built the home using these simple drawings. There were two coal stoves in the basement that heated a two inch cement slab under the sub-floor. Since this was before electricity and electric blowers, the tower allowed a draft to pull the heat through the building through vents in the main halls. Transoms over the doors allowed the heat to circulate through the rooms. The massive brick walls both on the exterior and interior halls held the heat in the winter and cooled the building in the summer.
Rain water was transported through an innovative interior gutter system into a cistern in the basement. The laundry was (and is still) in the basement. The founders made sure the space was pleasant with large windows and wainscoting on the walls. The laundress would hang the voluminous skirts and linens on lines in what is now our courtyard. The kitchen also had a coal fired cook stove but the space had wonderful cross ventilation and high ceilings to help keep the area comfortable for staff.
The building was dedicated on February 14, 1875, just three years after conceived. The real work then began! The founders then raised the funds care for their ladies. They would hold dances and teas to fund heating, medicine and maintenance. They held ‘pound parties’ where all invited brought ‘pounds’ of food for the larder. They had a live-in matron whose room was the first door on the right of the front door. This room opened to the ‘hospital’ (yes, we were here even before the hospital!) where the more infirm were housed. These two rooms are now our semi-private rooms. The matron oversaw staff until the 1980’s and was answerable to the Boards.
This home has seen many wars, many economic hardships and global changes- both good and bad- over the years but nothing can obscure the long and rich history of the Ladies Home with its permanent foundation of the value of providing that little extra help so you can help yourself.
We are an Adult Home licensed and regulated by the Department of Health. The Administrator works directly with our Board of Directors and manages and maintains the Home ensuring all Department of Health and other regulations are met.
The people the resident will work closest with are the Resident Care Aides (RCA), Activity Coordinator and the Cooks. The RCA assists our ladies with personal care and assists with medication. They also make beds, change sheets, dust, vacuum and do the laundry. The Activity Coordinator handles Personal Allowance Accounts and organizes daily activities. Cooks prepare food according to RDA guidelines using dietician approved menus designed to provide optimal nutrition and lots of dessert! There is often other staff on board including a nurse, maintenance and housekeeper.
Our staff is devoted to providing comfort, individualized care, ensuring the wellbeing and safety of every lady, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.
We cannot forget to mention other very important people who wholeheartedly support our ladies- our volunteers! We have so many dedicated people whose hearts are huge and giving.
The Ladies Home of Oswego maintains the purpose for which it was built over 140 years ago. Any additional revenues are distributed directly toward the cause of the Ladies Home, making this the only not for profit adult home in Oswego County. Residents are charged according to their means, a manageable, low-rate monthly fee that allows the Home to address the needs of the residents.
The Ladies Home is affiliated with: