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Lemuel Johnson Curtis (1814-1888)
Lemuel Johnson Curtis envisioned providing a home for widows and orphans while he was still a vigorous and successful industrialist. Long associated with the lay leadership of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Curtis consulted with the then rector, the Rev. Henry G. Deshon, and the vestry of the church.

In a will dated May 22, 1875, Curtis bequeathed the bulk of his estate to St. Andrew's to establish and maintain such a home. But Curtis grew impatient and decided he wanted to see the home built during his lifetime. He purchased land on Crown Street Heights and the first Curtis Home building was completed. The three-story red-brick building, designed for both children and women, was completed in 1884.

The Curtis Home was incorporated by the State of Connecticut General Assembly in March, 1885. Two years later, in April, 1887, Curtis revised his will so that the bulk of his estate went directly to the corporation. 

Lemuel Curtis died on January 10, 1888. On the same date, a city horse barn burned down. The two events were considered so important that the Meriden Daily Republican published an extra edition. During the intervening 10 years, between the completion of the first building and Curtis' death, the original Curtis Home building was not large enough to house the number of clients who needed care.

The day-to-day operations were conducted by a Board of Managers consisting of women representing various churches. They supervised admissions of the children and women and also managed the building. They were known as "The Ladies Board" and served as an admission board well into the 1940s. The Ladies Board became The Curtis Home Auxiliary. The vestry of St. Andrew's was responsible for the finances.

Residential Care HomeThe estate of Lemuel Curtis provided $700,000 for The Curtis Home. The corporation trustees - the vestry of St. Andrew's - decided that the original building should be used exclusively by the children and a new residence was to be constructed for the elderly women. The cornerstone was laid in 1894 when the construction of that residence began. Its distinctive exterior of buff-colored bricks prompted its designation as "The Yellow Building," and it has been known as The Yellow Building, Ladies Building and HFA and now the RCH, Residential Care Home. The building today, now called the Residential Care Home, is essentially unchanged - from its parlor, dining room and chapel on the first floor to the 34 private rooms on the second and third floors.

In 1904, a trade school building was constructed, which later became the infirmary and now is the Crown Terrace Apartments. The present Children's Building was completed in 1973, when the original children's building was torn down. The St. Elizabeth Center nursing home was complete in 1985 and the new school in Cheshire became operational in 1998.

Today, in order to concentrate on the needs of its elderly clients, the Curtis Home no longer provides care for children.  The Curtis Home provides several levels of specialized care for the  elderly, and through its strategic planning efforts, is positioning itself to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. 

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The Curtis Home
380 Crown Street
Meriden, CT 06450-6497

Tel: 203.237.4338
Fax: 203.630.1127
Elderly Program: 203-237-4338
E-mail: info@thecurtishome.org

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