History

On February 20, 1842 the founder of our Senior Center, Benjamin Church was born. He was raised by his father, Samuel Church and his mother Elizabeth Luther. His father had purchased property in 1837 which he had constructed into a model farm called Mt. Hope Farm. The farm had remained in the Church family until 1917 when R.F. Haffenreffer had purchased it.

In 1900 Benjamin Church had composed a will to fulfill his dream. At 58 years old he decided that he wanted to build a structure to house aged men of Bristol.  It was going to be known as Benjamin Church Home for Aged Men. The trustees of the will had to find a suitable location for the home. It had to be on the bus line, walking distance from the center of town but far enough to allow the development of a farm.  By March 15, 1909 the perfect home for aged men was ready to be open. The cost of the home had been a large sum of 21,000 dollars. Due to the depression the board had later decided in 1934 to permit women.
The operation of the home had been under the care of Samuel and Mary Steen for the past twenty five years.  By 1968 the Steen’s had notified F. Reginald Dimond that they would retire due to Samuel’s age and physical problems they could no longer fulfill their duties to run the house. On April 2 after the Benjamin Church Home had been open for sixty years a request had been made to the superior court. They were to allow the trustees to convey their real estate to the Bristol Housing Authority. The structure was then closed down from 1968 until 1973. The house was boarded up, vandalized and the valuable glass windows had been broken. The work of Regional F. Dimond had come to an end.
On October 4, 1969 a vote was taken to provide the money needed to place a memorial plaque in the recreation building of the Housing Department. A picture of Benjamin Church was to be located in a proper place along with a plaque addressing the Trustees. By September 21, 1971 The Benjamin Church Home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. With the house on the National Register it was eligible for the National Park Service Preservation grant. The next year The Benjamin Church Home was granted its first grant of 5,000 dollars that would enable the Trustees to refurbish the construction of the home.

During the same year in June, The Benjamin Church Senior Center was incorporated as a non-profit organization that was housed in The Benjamin Church Home. They had produced a group of board members to govern the center which was composed of fifteen volunteers. On September 1, 1972 the Senior Center had been open for occupancy. The Home is still used as a Senior Center today and has board members and volunteers to keep it running for our seniors in town.