Living Our Promise for 50 Years
This year, our community celebrates a very special milestone. Fifty years ago, we first opened our doors to the public as Quaker Gardens — a not-for-profit senior community founded on the promise of compassion and devotion for every person we encounter, through every season of life. Since then, we have been blessed to meet and care for thousands of individuals and families who have become part of our community, and our family. We cherish every person and family member we’ve had the pleasure of serving.
Over the past 50 years, our community has continued to thrive and grow. We’ve added new facilities, services and amenities to better meet the changing needs of our community members. We’ve improved our grounds and buildings. Now we’re close to completing a major renovation that will bring added comfort and modern conveniences to the people who live here and visit us. We’ve also recently transitioned from Quaker Gardens to Rowntree Gardens — a name that reflects our renewed commitment to live our promise every day, for the next 50 years and beyond.
To all our community members and their families, our guests, valued staff and partners — we invite you to join us as we celebrate 50 years of living our promise to the people we cherish. After all, you have played an important role in helping us become the thriving, welcoming and loving community we are today. And will be for generations to come.
Please, take a moment to view our 50th anniversary timeline, to see just how far we’ve come since we first opened our doors.
We opened our doors in 1965 as Quaker Gardens, one of the area’s few not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Communities. See how we’ve continued to care for community members with compassion and devotion.
Devoted, Loyal Staff
Rowntree Gardens’ devoted staff members have an average tenure of 13 years, and many have been providing dedicated care for 20, 30 and even 40 years.
50 Years of Living Our Promise
Meeting the Need1961
“Great projects do not spring full blown upon the world. Every great and good accomplishment was once a small idea… augmented by many helpful persons and acts. Such a project was the building of Quaker Gardens.”
— from “Except the Lord Build the House,” by Edith McBride
The Planning Stage1962
“I remember there was a long waiting list of prospective applicants for residency and that people had to get on that list while in their fifties in order to get in by retirement age.”
— Virginia Canfield, Board Member
Breaking New Ground1964
— Reverend Ezra Ellis, Minister of the First Friends Church of Whittier and original member of the Quaker Gardens planning committee and board.
First Community Member1965
Welcoming Community Members1966
Skilled Nursing Care1969
“When one of my friends became ill, the Health Center welcomed her immediately into their care. I was moved by their care with open loving arms.”
— Virginia Canfield
The Garden Room quickly becomes a favorite for the early-bird lunch crowd. From the beginning, Quaker Gardens’ menus featured delicious chef-prepared meals that made community members feel at home.
Room to Grow1972
An additional independent living residential building is completed, expanding the number of apartment homes available to the community. A dining venue is also added to the assisted living building, now known as The Cedars Assisted Living.
Celebrating a Decade1975
“Our staff is very loyal and dedicated, and many have been with us for a very long time. We have several staff members who started working at Quaker Gardens in high school, and who are still with us today — including our current Executive Director. Our Director of Housekeeping has been with us for 43 years, and counting.”
— Lloyd Jones, original planning committee and board member, in a 2015 interview
Expanding Our Community1979-1988
“I remember my grandfather was so thrilled to have an enclosed sunroom, which he turned into his office. This was a very modern feature to have back then.”
— Jeff Davis
Caring for Our Community1985
“The staff provides service beyond what is expected. Such kindness makes us all feel at home and well cared for.”
— Joanne Macy
The community also adds a second dining room known as the Patio Room, overlooking the beautiful gardens. On the suggestion of several staff members, the Patio Room is designed with a Monet theme. Community members enjoy the al fresco French-style dining as well as the lovely views.
Gardens Memory Care1995
Fun in the Sun2000
“The activities available for residents have tripled since I started with the community 43 years ago. It’s been great working for a community that is constantly trying to make the lives of residents better.” — Eileen Desjardins, Rowntree Gardens Director of Housekeeping
More than meeting CMS’s minimal requirements for a 5-star rating, the skilled nursing staff goes above and beyond to provide the highest possible quality of care for community members. The skilled nursing facility continues to maintain its 5-star status to date.
A New Identity2014
Half a Century2015
— Richard Nordsiek, Rowntree Gardens Executive Director