A Brief History of Landis Homes
The Landis Homes story began in 1961 when the Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions gave its support to several Mennonite community leaders who had a vision to provide retirement living for senior adults, especially missionaries. The vision became a reality when Graybill Landis donated $100,000 as seed money and the Clayton and Ellen Landis family donated a farm in Landis Valley. A planning committee was appointed by the Board of Missions, followed by a subcommittee tasked with developing the retirement community.
The first residents moved to Landis Homes on February 18, 1964. “When I first saw the few buildings in the vast area of farmland, it was difficult to believe that this could be a retirement home,” one new resident recalled. From that small beginning Landis Homes has continued to grow to meet the increased expectations of changing times. By the fall of 1966 an increasing number of residents needed nursing care. Providing nursing care was an important part of continuing care for residents; without it many residents would need to move to a nursing home at another location.
In January 1967 planning began for the Dogwood nursing center. Construction began in 1968 and the first occupants were welcomed in 1969. With the opening of Dogwood, Landis Homes expanded the services offered into healthcare. Additional healthcare services were added in 1973 with the opening of what is now Ephrata House and in 1998 with the opening of the Heritage Memory Support Center.
In the fall of 2003 a new healthcare center, Oregon and Manheim Houses, replaced Dogwood. The new center included space for a rehabilitation and fitness center and a laundry facility. The vacated Dogwood building was renovated and reopened in the spring of 2004 as a centralized location for administrative offices, a café, a gift shop, and a hair salon. In the fall of 2004 a building located at One Homebrook Drive was renovated and opened as the Children’s Learning Center (which since closed in 2020).
In 2011, through action taken by the Landis Homes board, an umbrella organization known as Landis Communities was formed. Since that time, Landis Communities has become involved in many areas, including the creation of Steeple View Lofts, a fifty-five-plus community in Lancaster City, and the oversight of Welsh Mountain Home and Mountain View Terrace in New Holland. Landis Adult Day Services, Landis at Home and Children’s Learning Center are also part of Landis Communities. In 2019, Landis Adult Services served approximately 150 clients, and Landis at Home provided services to 362 clients either on the Landis Homes campus, or in the larger community. The Children’s Learning Center provided care and education for 51 infants and preschoolers.
Landis Homes is the oldest and largest entity of Landis Communities. In 2019, the retirement community campus serves about 850 residents and approximately 150 adult day services clients. More than five hundred full-time and part-time employees provide a continuum of services including residential living cottage homes, apartments, hybrid homes, residential suites, personal care, healthcare, and memory support.
Landis Homes continues a tradition of providing care to residents who outlive their financial resources. In FY 2015-16, residents received benevolent care amounting to more than $2.9 million.
Through all the growth over the years, the original vision of providing for retired missionaries continues. Today dozens of retired missionaries live at Landis Homes, representing many years of service to mission work in countries around the globe. Landis Homes continues to fulfill its mission of “serving aging adults and their families by honoring and enriching their lives in a community of Christ-like love” with a renewed vision to be “leaders in serving.”
In 2014, Landis Homes released “Growing Community 1994-2014.” This 170-page book is packed with more than 200 photos along with stories and other information about the most recent 20 years of Landis Homes as well as the beginnings of Landis Communities. The book is available at no cost in the General Store on campus. To download the book“Growing Community: 1994-2014.”
In 1994, the first 30 years of Landis Homes’ history was chronicled in stories and pictures in a book by A. Grace Wenger. Click here to download “The First 30 Years: 1964-1994.”
Explore the origins of ten early sites in Oregon, Pa., including the history of the Clayton and Ellen Landis farm which is the current site of Landis Homes. Click here to download the book.