Independent Living Center Celebrates 25th year, Second Generation Residents
Twenty-five years ago, Emma Kenitzer became the first resident of Beaver Dam Community Hospital’s Stone Terrace Independent Living apartment building.
Her first couple nights, Emma was actually the only resident in the 30-apartment facility built adjacent to Beaver Dam Community Hospital at 819 S. University Ave. in Beaver Dam.
Fast forward 25 years as Emma’s son Eugene Kenitzer and his wife of nearly 60 years, Juanita, prepare to celebrate their seventh anniversary of living at Stone Terrace this Thanksgiving. Stone Terrace still offers the same amenities it did when Emma first moved in, but now there’s a waiting list, and each of the public areas bustle with activity.
“Eugene was having health problems at the time and going to the doctor often,” said Juanita about the decision to move to Stone Terrace. “And I don’t drive, so I thought all the traveling was getting ridiculous. We had already thought highly of Stone Terrace after his mother’s time here, and the fact it is connected to the hospital so we can see our doctors without having to go outside is amazing. We’re very happy here.
“I think it’s neat we’re a second generation at Stone Terrace.”
Construction of Dodge County’s first retirement living center, Stone Terrace, began as the result of a 1987 survey by Dodge Health Services, part of Beaver Dam Community Hospitals, Inc. to assess the needs of the community.
Results of the survey uncovered the need for a housing alternative geared specifically to healthy seniors. Ground breaking began on Sept. 25, 1987, and occupancy began in July 1988, with Emma Kenitzer as the first occupant.
After a would-be burglar broke into her home in 1987, Emma decided living alone was no longer for her and that it was time for her to find a new place to live.
Emma liked Stone Terrace’s connection to BDCH, its warm, indoor parking and the choice of having meals provided for her or to cook in her own kitchen.
In addition to the three daily optional meals, Stone Terrace also offers maintenance, housekeeping, and management staff, providing independent living without the worries and costs of home ownership.
“At that time, independent living facilities for the elderly were scarce,” Eugene said. “Considering the amenities that were included, it was a no-brainer for her. She made up her mind by herself and let us know she was going to be moving.”
A few years after Emma became Stone Terrace’s first resident, Irene Neitzel moved in, with son Larry and his wife Shirley heavily involved in the process.
“My mother really liked it here. In fact, she was just up the hall from where we are now,” said Larry, who just celebrated his 59th wedding anniversary with Shirley. “When we were moving her in, I told Shirley ‘This would be a nice place to retire.’ And that’s just what happened.”
Larry has a hard time getting around and values Stone Terrace’s location adjacent to BDCH. In addition to the other amenities, the Neitzels also appreciate the facilities’ social opportunities.
“Everyone here is very nice, and they look out for each other, like a great big family,” Shirley said. “Larry likes to go out to the library, and I’m out a lot, so he doesn’t have to be in an apartment by himself, he can get out and socialize. It’s good to not be alone.”
The Neitzels and Kenitzers helped Stone Terrace celebrate its 25th Anniversary earlier this year as all residents enjoyed a formal dinner party.
As part of the celebration, Kim Miller, President and CEO of BDCH, gave a short presentation on Stone Terrace’s history, including newspaper articles and photos of various events from previous years. Several current residents also graciously opened their doors for tours through their homes during an open house.
Looking forward, a complete refurbishing and update is being done as apartments vacate to provide a pleasing, modern and comfortable environment.
“This is the place for us,” Larry said. “When we looked around, there was nothing else that had the total package like Stone Terrace. It’s our home.”
For more information about BDCH’s Stone Terrace, call (920) 887-6693 or visit www.bdch.com.