Original Eden Home, South Presa Street in San Antonio
It all began in 1906 when Mr. and Mrs. Martin Schmidt, members of the Friedens Church in Geronimo, Texas, made a gift of $10,000 (valued today at $350,000) to the Texas District of the Evangelical Church (now the South Texas Association of the United Church of Christ) to build a home for the aged. In 1910, the “Old Folks and Pastor’s Home, Eden at San Antonio” officially opened on South Presa Street, housing up to 20 people. The chapel was added in 1922, and the home’s name changed to “Protestant Home for the Aged.”
Carl & Martha Lavin
San Antonio native, Carl Lavin recounts the story of how he and his wife first met and how their life’s path has, again and again, crossed that of EdenHill. In 1932, 14-year-old Martha Dippel, as the daughter of a traveling minister, relocated from Illinois to San Antonio when her father was hired to be the superintendent of the home. Under that roof, Martha would live out the remainder of her childhood. Only a few short years after her arrival, Lavin met Dippel one evening after a church function in 1935, and at least for him, it was love at first sight. He saw her brown eyes and thought, “Now, that is a beautiful woman!” After a two year courtship, the couple married in the original chapel that was part of the home in which Dippel’s family lived and worked. The organ (circa 1904, from Germany) that boomed the Wedding March on that matrimonial day in 1937 is still played in the new chapel at EdenHill in New Braunfels.
EdenHill Moves to New Braunfels
In 1956, “Eden Home for the Aged,” which is what the facility had been called since 1947, opened its new doors in New Braunfels. During years prior, the City of San Antonio had made plans to interrupt the South Presa Street location with a new system of highways. As the Eden Home Board of Directors prepared plans for a new home, the City of New Braunfels donated 6.75 acres for a campus. They broke ground in 1955, and the community still operates at this location.
Five Decades of Growth and Service
Over the next five decades, there would be continuing growth and several more name changes. By the mid ‘80s when the name had been changed to “Eden Home,” the campus had grown to include the Healthcare Center, the Bihl Rehabilitation Center, Eden Heights Apartments, and many new cottages and added rooms. In 1990, the first Assisted Living area was created. Due to demand, campus growth continued into the new century, and in 2001, the new chapel was dedicated; it showcases not only the organ, but the stained glass windows salvaged from the original chapel built in 1922.
New Name & Expanded Services
In 2009, the community embarked on its most recent evolution; they updated to their current moniker, “EdenHill Communities,” and began a dramatic campus redevelopment in order to meet the ever-changing needs of the residents and community. The revitalization includes the renovation of the existing campus and services, along with the addition of The Pinnacle at EdenHill: approximately 100 Independent Living private apartments, common areas, courtyards, dining venues, and a Wellness Center with personalized programs and a covered, heated swimming pool and spa.
New Independent Living Addition
Upon the projected completion in 2013, EdenHill Communities will be the only CCRC in the New Braunfels area, providing a full range of services including Independent Living, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, and Memory Care. Throughout their transformation, they intend to remain the beacon of leadership in their community and to continue the promise that began on South Presa Street in 1910—to provide quality and compassionate services to promote and respect the dignity and spirit of each individual. Lavin reflects on his experience at EdenHill: “It’s a wonderful place. It’s clean, and it does a great service to people. My parents and Martha’s parents—they all lived out their last years here. It used to be that if you didn’t have family, you were left alone. We are so glad there is a place like this.”
New Health Care Addition