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920 North Seminary Avenue ● Woodstock, IL 60098 815-338-2110  

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Over One Hundred Years of Caring...


When Reverend Thomas Arnold founded the original Woodstock Children's Home in 1886, could he have imagined that more than 125 years later his organization would have expanded to what it is today?T. B. Arnold

These humble beginnings are now known as Hearthstone Communities, a not for profit, faith-based charitable organization devoted to serving children and seniors.

The Hearthstone Senior Living Community and the Hearthstone Early Learning Center are located on a beautiful 15-acre campus in Woodstock, Illinois.

Hearthstone Communities is one of Woodstock's oldest organizations. In 1886, the Rev. T. B. Arnold, Woodstock Children's Homea minister of the Free Methodist Church and also the denominational publisher, was moved by the plight of orphaned children whom he observed on the streets of Chicago. Out of his compassion, he began caring for children in his own home, and incorporated in 1888 as the Chicago Industrial Home for Children. In 1891, Rev. Arnold moved his "family" of children to Woodstock, Illinois, and the organization became known as the Woodstock Children's Home.


This move to Woodstock was made possible by the gift of a farm from Mrs. Roxey Stevens, who had become interested in the work of Rev. Arnold.  Until the 1920’s, the home cared primarily for orphaned children and served as an adoptive agency.  Gradually, in the early 1920’s, there was a shift in the emphasis, and by 1927 many of the children were court commitments as a result of broken homes.  By the 1970’s, the State of Illinois began utilizing foster homes to care for its children, and the Children’s Home became a day care center.


J.D. KelseyThe first Superintendent of the Chicago Industrial Home for children, the Rev. J. D. Kelsey, was concerned about the related problems of caring for the elderly, and in 1903 founded the Old People’s Rest Home on property adjacent to the Children’s Home.   The Kelsey Building was the original structure.  The Maxwell Building was added in the 1950s. Further additions in 1971 and 1975 increased capacity to 138 residents, at which time the Kelsey Building was demolished.  The atrium on the South side was built in 1985 through private donations.  Meanwhile, the board of directors saw a need for a retirement home for active seniors and approved construction of Carefree Village in 1983. 

The campus now provides a complete continuum of care for all levels of seniors.  Independent seniors can live in duplex homes, rent cottages or enjoy independent apartment living.  As those residents’ needs change, they can continue living in their apartment via assisted living or receive rehabilitation, short and long term skilled nursing care, sheltered care or memory care all on the same campus.



Full History of Hearthstone Communities




Free Methodist minister, Reverend T. B. Arnold, noticed orphans roaming the streets of Chicago and began caring for them in his home. He and his wife, Tress, soon had 18 children living with them. (April 1945 Woodstock Friend Newsletter, p.6)

Arnold & Family



(September 22) Rev. Arnold founded and incorporated an orphanage called the “Chicago Industrial Home for Children.” (Fall/Winter 1999 Woodstock Friend Newsletter and Sept. 22, 1988 Board of Director’s Meeting Minutes)

(October 22) TB Arnold presented the certificate of incorportation to the Board of Directors. (Records of Business done by Board of Directors of the Chicago Industrial Home for Children, page 11)


Arnold's Chicago Home


A farm house with three acres of land  in Woodstock, IL was donated by Mrs. Roxey D.  Stevens. (Board of Director’s Meeting Minutes Nov. 13 1890, and Fall/Winter 1999 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)

1891 The Chicago Industrial Home for Children moved to Woodstock was re-named “Woodstock Children’s Home”   (Per T.B. Arnold’s granddaughter, Jane Masters) and the orphans from Chicago were the first residents. (Fall/Winter 1999, 2000 Woodstock Friend Newsletter).  Infants
1903 Rev. J.D. Kelsey was named Superintendent of Woodstock Children’s Home and served until 1928.  (Book 2 -  Business Transactions of Children’s Industrial Home for Children 1902-1923)




(April) The Board of Directors approved the purchase of the 15 acre Allen property and home located on N. Seminary Avenue, adjacent to the Woodstock Children’s Home, for $4,000. The home was called “The Kelsey Building” and became the site of the original “Old People’s Rest Home,” founded by Reverend J. D. Kelsey. (Book 2  Business Transactions of Children’s Industrial Home for Children 1902-1923)

1st Woodstock Children's Home






Allen Home-1st Old Peoples Home

1911 Woodstock Children’s Home remodeled. (Book 2  Business Transactions of Children’s Industrial Home for Children 1902-1923) Remodeled Children's Home

Children from “broken homes” admitted.

Children's Home Staff













Kelsey Building was remodeled and enlarged which increased capacity to 24.  (Book 2  Business Transactions of Children’s Industrial Home for Children 1902-1923)



C. E. Maxwell named Superintendent and served until 1937.


Old People's Rest Home 1921






The Woodstock Children’s Home and Old People’s Rest Home were united under one administration.

Herbert C. Gensch named Superintendent and served until 1947. (April 1947 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)



W. E. Maxwell was named Superintendent and served until 1959.

Click here to read about the Singing Mouse of 1936

Children of the Woodstock Children's Home









(Early), A new Woodstock Children’s Home building was erected on the site that is now Hearthstone Village. 




Pictured at right are Children Dining in the 1950s

New Woodstock Children's Home







Dining Room




Maxwell Building was built as a new “Old People’s Rest Home.” Along with the Kelsey building, this increased capacity to 55. (Jan. 1950 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)



Maxwell Building 1950s






First cottage unit was built to house independent living seniors. (Nov. 1954 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)


Quilting Bee


Two old Army barracks, used as emergency housing for veterans and their families immediately following World War II, were purchased for the sum of $610 and were then moved, intact, and placed next to the Maxwell Building. They were remodeled by adding a brick veneer exterior over the tar paper outer walls, plastering the interior walls, and installing new painted woodwork. Heat was piped from the main building’s plant. They consisted of three apartment units to be occupied by independent seniors. These dwellings were originally located near the old South Street Memorial Hospital in Woodstock. (Nov. 1954 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)


Peeling Apples




Purchased the Todd Seminary for Boys athletic field and a dormitory known as Grace Hall (built in 1920). Building was purchased in February for the price of $20,000 with funds from the sale of a 104 acre farm that had been donated to the Woodstock Children’s Home by Mrs. Nettie Harrison. (2000 Founder’s Day issue Woodstock Friend Newsletter)

Harrison House

Grace Hall renamed Harrison House, and began housing teenagers. (Feb. 1957 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)






Mr. Clifford Redding named Executive Director (served until 1987, consultant until 1988).  Name changed from “Old People’s Home” to “Sunset Manor.” (1978 Woodstock Friend Newsletter 75th Anniversary issue)




Added qualified Director of Casework Studies to staff. (Jan. 1964)


Quad apartment units built next to the Maxwell building, increasing number of independent living units to 12. (1978 Woodstock Friend Newsletter Anniversary issue)

Senior Quad Apartments




“Day Plan” announced for Woodstock Children’s Home. (March 1965 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)

First group home known as “Kishwaukee Cottage” was opened on 5 ½ acres just West of town to allow siblings to remain together in family atmosphere. (Oct. 1965 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)

Kishwaukee Cottage


Spruce Cottage for boys was opened in July and Cedar Cottage, a group home for girls, opened in December. (June 1971 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)


The Women’s Auxiliary was organized. (March 1971 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)

Spruce Cottage







Cedar Cottage


The Woodstock Day Care Center opened for pre-school aged children in February in the original Woodstock Children’s Home building. (Spring 1980 and Jan. 1997 Woodstock Friend Newsletters) 

Woodstock Day Care Center 1972

Pine Cottage for adolescent girls opened in August. (June 1972 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)


On-campus classrooms opened for children having difficulties with learning in public school.

Pine Cottage

Phase 1 expansion of Sunset Manor began with a new two story wing added to Maxwell building and a “Memorial Garden” dedicated in May, 1973. When the addition was completed, the Kelsey Building was vacated.  (Sept. 1971 Woodstock Friend Newsletter and 1978 Woodstock Friend Newsletter Anniversary issue)

Sunset Manor

Manor Garden





Ten duplexes built on campus for independent retirement living, now known as Hearthstone Court. (1978 Woodstock Friend Newsletter Anniversary issue)


Phase 2 addition to Sunset Manor completed (Kelsey building demolished to make room) which increased capacity to 130 beds including intermediate and sheltered care. (Dec. 1974, Sept. 1975 and Fall 1978 Woodstock Friend Newsletter Anniversary issue)




Board of Directors decided to phase out residential program for the care of children. (Sept. 1975 and Jan. 1976 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)



Dedication of Sunset Manor and Kelsey Memorial Court. (Fall 1978 Woodstock Friend Newsletter Anniversary issue)








Manor Activity





Woodstock Day Care Center constructed on the former Todd Athletic Field. (Fall 1980 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)


Woodstock Day Care Center opened in September. (Fall 1981 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)

Day Care Center

Day Care Center





Chicago Industrial Home for Children and Sunset Manor merged to become Woodstock Christian Care. (Summer 1982 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)


Administrative offices for Woodstock Christian Care moved to Harrison House. (Spring 1983 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)


Dining Room

(March) Original Woodstock Children’s Home building at 840 Seminary Avenue torn down to make room for an apartment building for independent seniors. (Spring 1983 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)

Teardown of Children's Home

Carefree Village, an apartment building for independent seniors, was constructed (later renamed Hearthstone Village). (Fall 1983 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)

Carefree Village Dedicated


Carefree Village opened and the first residents moved in on Dec. 12. (Winter 1985 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)

Carefree Village





Sunset Manor sunroom/entry constructed. (Winter 1986/87 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)


Clifford Redding retires after 28 years as Superintendent and plaque was added to Carefree Village renaming it the “Redding Building”. John Rice was named new Executive Director (served until 1996). (Summer 1987, Winter 1988 Woodstock Friend Newsletters)

Sunset Manor Sunroom/Entry

Dallas Larson named President/CEO (served until 2003).


A 3,000 sq. foot addition was added to the Woodstock Day Care Center and the building/business was renamed Woodstock Early Learning Center (WELC).  (Nov. 1997  Woodstock Friend Newsletter)


WELC addition was completed and dedicated as the “Arnold Center” in September 1999 at Founder’s Day Event. (Nov. 1997 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)

WELC Playground

Woodstock Christian Care was incorporated and changed name to Woodstock Christian Life Services. (March 1998 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)


First annual McHenry County Senior Fair, co-sponsored by Hearthstone and the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Industry, took place at the McHenry County Fair Grounds. (July 2000 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)

1st Senior Fair
2002 The Medicare unit was established at Hearthstone Manor in January, to accommodate short-stay residents recuperating from an illness or injury.



Traditions of Woodstock, a state of the art unit for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, opened in Hearthstone Manor in November. (Fall 2002 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)



McHenry County Senior Fair renamed Hearthstone Senior Fair and relocated to the grassy area in front of Blain’s Farm and Fleet on Rt. 14 in Woodstock. For the first time, the event was used as a fundraiser for the Senior Services division of WCLS. (Prior to this time, it was strictly a community service event). Approximately 800 guests attended the fair.


Terrance Egan named President and CEO of Woodstock Christian Life Services. (Fall 2003 Woodstock Friend Newsletter)

Terry Egan

The first Little Hands, Big Dreams Gala dinner and auction fundraiser, benefitting Woodstock Early Learning Center, was held at Bull Valley Golf Club. Approximately 160 guests attended the event which netted more than $41,000 due to a generous donation from a benefactor.


A WCLS endowment Fund was established through the McHenry County Community Foundation.


Building redecoration and sprinkler system installed at Hearthstone Village.


Hearthstone Village received assisted living license which allowed independent living residents to stay in their apartments as they required more assistance.


The Little Hands, Big Dreams Gala dinner and auction fundraiser was renamed Little Hands, Big Hearts and moved to Boulder Ridge Country Club in Lake in the Hills, IL. More than 240 guests attended the event.


New playground installed at Woodstock Early Learning Center. Part of the construction included a “community build” where staff and volunteers constructed a play structure and sand box for use by the younger children.

ELC Playground

The Hearthstone Senior Fair moved indoors to McHenry County College with a wellness fair, business expo, entertainment, food, bingo and more.



Approval was received by the City of Woodstock to remove Harrison House to make way for a new duplex community for independent seniors, the Prairie Homes of Hearthstone. The building was removed May 5th.

Woodstock Christian Life Services begins doing business as Hearthstone Communities.

Building of the Prairie Homes of Hearthstone begins.







ELC Playground

2011 Construction kickoff held for the Mary and Carl Mueller Rehabilitation Center. MuellerRehabCenter


Please feel free to contact us if you note an error on this page or have any photos or information to contribute.

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Last modified: 06/19/13