Kirkside Retirement Home a place of distinction
Roxbury — When Helen Gould, daughter of railroad magnate and Roxbury native son Jay Gould, first purchased Kirkside in 1896, it was a humble seven-room farmhouse with little to offer in the line of the luxury to which Miss Gould was accustomed. It wouldn’t take long before Helen transformed this vernacular rural berth into the magnificent feast of architectural styles that grace Roxbury’s Main Street today.
Miss Gould, later Mrs. Finley Shepard, would summer in Roxbury for the next four decades, drawn by her village of “peaceful days” and her beloved Kirkside. Philanthropy became synonymous with her name, and Roxbury and its residents would be the beneficiary of her ongoing generosity. Mrs. Shepard died at Kirkside in 1938. The spectacular Main Street mansion would undergo several incarnations over the next half-century — as a private residence, an inn, a retirement facility for ministers, and finally a retirement home for area residents. In 1980 Kirkside was faced with grim prospects: arrangements were underway to sell the residence to a private buyer, consigning the 11 surrounding acres known as Kirkside Park, to development and removing Kirkside from public hands. It was a group of determined citizens who banded together to save Kirkside and the park from an irreversible fate. They worked hard, stuffing envelopes and rallying the community, and succeeded in raising the funds needed to purchase the park and deed it to the town. The deed included the stipulation that it remain a public park in perpetuity, and so Kirkside Inc. was founded as a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the park and managing a skilled retirement facility dedicated to providing a high quality of life for our aging population.
Now nearly 30 years later, the grand dame of Roxbury’s Main Street, Kirkside, is the last facility of its kind in all of Delaware County. In a time of diminishing options for senior care, Kirkside can hold its head high to have weathered the last 30 years with the same grace and style that the architecture itself affords Roxbury’s Main Street.
Nestled between the majestic Gould Church with its classic Tiffany windows and the quiet beauty of Kirkside Park, Kirkside Retirement Home provides a transitional option for seniors who prefer to live in a homey country environment. In upcoming weeks you may receive a letter from Kirkside Retirement home, asking for your support in the challenging days ahead. Perhaps you’ll take time to remember, whether you are 20 or 80, that keeping the lights on at Kirkside is crucial to preserving that special quality of life for our seniors, our Main Street, and our community.
For more information, please call Carol Fancher at 607 326-4651.