The End of an Era: Holden Center closes at UM Village


LAWRENCEVILLE – After 86 years, a landmark at the United Methodist Village closed its doors.

The United Methodist Village Board of Directors and administration announced the closing of Holden Center, the oldest section of the Lawrenceville campus in late January.
Officials at the Village noted that changes in long-term care led to the closure. “As the government has become increasingly involved in the regulation of long-term care, more and more changes have been forced upon the industry,” the Village noted in a press release. “After a small fire in 2004, residents were moved off the third floor while the residents on the remaining floors stayed. In 2005, because of added government mandates, it was clear the remaining residents would also no longer be able to stay. Holden Center was then assigned to be used for administrative offices and storage.”
They also noted that continued cuts in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and increased costs of operating the 86-year-old facility made the closure necessary. “The needs of the residents which has been the top priority of the Village” was placed above all else.
For resident 98-year-old resident Rosemary Hague, the Holden Center is full of memories. Hague moved into the Village in 1999, but her mother-in-law, Flossie Hague came to the Village 22 years earlier. “People moved in and enjoyed life,” Hague said. “I can recall residents making pottery and other craft items and there was a great deal of activity.”
Hague and her husband, Rev. Virgil Hague, who served as Director of Development, were mission representatives for McCurdy School from 1970 to 1982. McCurdy, along with Red Bird Mission, were two missions of the former Evangelical United Brethren Church, that became United Methodist missions following the 1968 merger with the Methodist Church.
Approaching her 99th birthday in April, Hague still played piano for worship in the Nettleton Chapel, named in memory of former UMV administrator James Nettleton, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1986.
“I played the good old hymns,” she said. “I didn’t try the classical stuff.”
A Service of Thanksgiving and Leave Taking was held in January at the Nettleton Chapel with Rev. Cynthia Jones, Kaskaskia River District Superintendent, officiating. Several items have been given to area United Methodist congregations while others will be brought to a new worship space within the new buildings of the Village.
The United Methodist Village began in 1908 as the Old Folks Home in Smithboro. In 1915, the building housing the facility burned and residents were moved to rented quarters at Greenville, and then Litchfield and Lebanon.
In 1918, a home in St. Francisville served as the new facility for eight years prior to the building of a three-story building located on a five acres donated by the Lawrenceville Chamber of Commerce.
Meeting in Special Session at Lawrenceville M.E. Church on May 25, 1926, the former Southern Illinois Annual Conference voted unanimously to borrow to empower the conference trustees to borrow $70,000 for “the use of the Old Folks’ Home at Lawrenceville and to secure the same by placing a bond issue” against the donated five acres. The special session also approved that the Old Folks Home trustees were empowered to sell off the St. Francisville property and property held in Clark County to be used for Old Folks Home in Lawrenceville.
In 1953, wings were added to the three-story building and the building became known as the Holden Center.
Because of the pressing need for nursing care, Wesley Center was built in 1967, and Dycus Center in 1974. A 28-bed Alzheimer Unit was completed in 1990. In 1991, the Village Playhouse was opened to assist employees and the community with daycare needs.
In order to meet the demand for independent living, the Village has built or acquired a number of apartments, cottages and houses called Southern Meadows. In 1994, the Village added McKiou Center (now called Southern Meadows Estates), an independent living apartment complex.
The United Methodist Village purchased the Lawrenceville Manor, 2101 James Street, Lawrenceville, Illinois on March 1, 2004 and changed the name to The United Methodist Village North Campus in 2006. The North Campus is a 98 bed Skilled Nursing Facility.
In the early part of 2009, the North Campus added a chapel onto its south side so its residents would be able to attend services.
In 2011, the Village began converting a wing at its main campus to accommodate residents with memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s.