Founded in 1902, Stoddard began as a dream for a retirement home for Baptist ministers, their wives and/or their widows. Stoddard received initial funding through the heirs of Miss Maria T. Stoddard, a widely known Washington philanthropist of the late nineteenth century.
About 1890, Miss Stoddard, by the terms in her will, had donated a tract of land in the area of Florida Avenue and Nineteenth Street NW for the erection of the retirement home.
The residents of the first structure were eight elderly persons who entered a location at Hamilton Street and Good Hope Hill in southeast Washington. This early period of operation was called “Stoddard Baptist” and was known as the “Southeast” phase of the facility which we know today.
Since 1902, until this final phase of the 20th century, Stoddard has always been led by men and women of vision who have constantly increased the effort to serve the wider community. After the “Southeast” phase, the Board of Trustees acquired a property at 324 Bryant Street in northwest Washington which became known as the “Willard Estate.” The leaders of the facility at the time were the Reverend W. D. Jarvis, the Reverend Acquila Sayles, Mrs. Minnie Robinson, and Mrs. Susie P. Robb.
During the years on Bryant Street, the Home experienced steady growth and a widening mission of service to the community. For many years during the period of the Bryant Street location, the Board of Trustees was led by the Reverend William H. Jernagin, a pastor of Mount Carmel Baptist Church and an unflinching spokesman for civil rights. It was during Reverend Jernagin’s tenure as Chairman of the Trustees that the Home became a member agency of the original Community Chest of Washington, D.C. The “Bryant Street Period” ended in 1961.
As the needs for the shelter and care of the aging increased in the city, the trustees of Stoddard, under the leadership of the Reverend John L.S. Holloman, began to realize the limitations of the Bryant Street location, but the precipitating factor in the move from Bryant Street was the desired use of that location by the District of Columbia to build the Katie C. Lewis Elementary School. So began the “Newton Street Era.”
115th Anniversary Celebration
Because the District of Columbia appropriated part of the land for street construction and Miss Stoddard’s will specifically forbade the sale of the land, the trustees of the proposed retirement home entered into negotiation with the city and with the Stoddard heirs. A cash settlement, which in reality was a “sale,” was the result of these negotiations. The trustees used the money to purchase a four-acre tract of land with a structure already in place, located at Hamilton Street and Good Hope Hill in southeast Washington. Thus, began the “Southeast” phase of the Stoddard Baptist Home. In 1902, eight elderly persons came to reside at the Hamilton Street location. Mrs. Laura Queen, a member of Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, became the Home’s first superintendent. Through the efforts of the churches, furnishings for the building were acquired and additional acreage was purchased. The first permanent location of the Home was on a ten-acre farm plot and was directed by Mrs. Queen. The Board of Trustees was standardized and its members were:
- Reverend George W. Lee, President
- Reverend Walter H. Brooks, Secretary
- Reverend J. Anderson Tyler
- Reverend Robert Johnson
- Reverend W. P. Gibbons
- Reverend W. J. Howard
In 1914, the Stoddard Baptist Home was incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia.
Northwest Presence (Bryant Street)
In 1915, the Home entered into another phase of its growth. During that year, the Home received the “Dillard Estate” land at 324 Bryant Street NW and a larger building specifically designed to meet the purposes of Stoddard was constructed. When the new Home was dedicated at this site on April 15, 1915, Mrs. Minnie Robinson was named superintendent and the Board was enlarged to include the Reverend W.D. Jarvis, Mrs. Susie P. Robb, who became secretary, and the Reverend Aquila Sayles, who served as president. During the years on Bryant Street, the Home experienced steady growth and a widening mission of service to the community. For years, during the period of the Bryant Street location, the Board of Trustees was led by the Reverend William H. Jernagin, the pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, who was an unflinching spokesman for Civil Rights. It was during Reverend Jernagin’s tenure of office that the Home became a member of the original Community Chest of Washington. The Bryant Street era ended in 1961.
Northwest Presence (Newton Street) – Historic Mt. Pleasant
As the needs for shelter and care for the aging increased in the city, the trustees of Stoddard, under the leadership of Reverend John L.S. Holloman, began to realize the limitation of the Bryant Street location, but the precipitating factor in the move from Bryant Street was the desired use of that location by the District of Columbia to build the Katie C. Lewis Elementary School. So began the “Newton Street” era. Led by Dr. Holloman, the Board of Trustees purchased the property at 1818 Newton Street NW for a cost of $250,000 and retired the mortgage within six years. It was during Dr. Holloman’s presidency that the Endowment Fund was established and at the time of his death the Fund was valued at $125,000. At the Newton Street location the Home accommodated 60 residents. It was operated by a professional social worker, as well as clerical and maintenance staff under the administration of an Executive Director.
Led by the late Mr. John D. Hunter, the first layman to serve as Board President, Stoddard forged ahead as Mr. Hunter spearheaded the development of the current 164-bed nursing and medical care facility, leading the board through planning, zoning, relocation, construction and start-up phases of the Stoddard Baptist Nursing Home. He was instrumental in providing the technical assistance needed to obtain the Housing and Urban Development mortgage, as well as recruiting the management company to operate the facility. Under Mr. Hunter’s influence, knowledge and foresight, after 12 years of operation, Stoddard Baptist Nursing Home is self-managed – making it one of the premiere long-term care facilities owned and solely operated by African Americans. Serving with Mr. Hunter was the late Brigadier General Joseph F.H. Cutrona (Ret.), an able and compassionate Catholic layman, who served as Vice President of the Board for more than 20 years.
In October of 1986, Stoddard admitted its first nursing home resident. Today, Stoddard Baptist Nursing Home is a 164-bed facility offering secure, state-of-the-art, compassionate and high quality nursing and medical care.
Among those individuals who have pioneered for Stoddard and have yearned for its success are Reverend R.L. Patterson, Reverend Raymond R. Robinson, Reverend John D. Bussey and Reverend Leamon W. White, who have been presidents of the Board of Trustees. Mrs. Shelly M. Jackson, Mr. Leon Ferguson, and Dr. Eula Delaine have been executive directors of the Home. The longtime secretary of the board was the late Mrs. Alma C. Hawkins.
Northeast Presence (18th Street)
In July 2010, Stoddard expanded its services for seniors and to the greater community by attaining the management and operations of the former Washington Center for Aging Services, now known as Stoddard Baptist Global Care.
Located in the Woodbridge Community, Stoddard Baptist Global Care is able to care for 254 seniors who are no longer able to live independently, and employs over 400 professionals. Stoddard Baptist Global Care at one point in time also operated the Center Card Adult Day Care, which will be relocating in 2016.