The History of the Farrar Home
The Farrar Home was incorporated in 1900 as a non-profit, adult home, run by a 9-member board of directors. It is clear that the history is a story of one man’s vision of a “home for deserving old ladies”, and the dedicated citizens of Malone who took up his cause.
Isaac Farrar was born in Fairfax, Vermont, in 1802. He came to the Malone area in the early 1840’s and pursued his occupation of farming until about 1880. He retired and moved into the village of Malone where he remained until his death in 1900. Throughout his adult life he maintained constant support for several dependent family members and friends who, no doubt, gave rise to the idea of a home for deserving old ladies.
When Isaac Farrar died, in accordance with his wishes, his home on Fort Covington Street was incorporated under the name of “The Farrar Home for Deserving Old Ladies”. A Board of Directors was established and plans were made for opening a home when sufficient funds would allow. The house was ultimately sold, and a well-built brick home with extensive property at the corner of Constable and Second Streets was purchased. Formally opened on January 6, 1910, this would become today’s Farrar Home.
The original Farrar Home had accommodations for five residents. It was immediately apparent that there was a great need for additional housing. Two years later, a large annex was completed providing an additional twelve bedrooms for the facility. The Home again expanded to a capacity of 30 residents in 1996. It was at this time that men were also welcomed in as residents and the name was changed to the “Farrar Home.”
Initially, to become a resident, the ladies would turn all of their assets and property over to the Farrar Home. In return, the Home was responsible for the “Life Care” of the resident. All living costs, including medical expenses, were the responsibility of the Farrar Home. At that time, residents could be cared for at the home until their care could no longer be managed. They were then transferred to a nursing home, with the Farrar Home responsible for the payment. In the mid 1980’s, The New York State Department of Social Services, abolished “life care” and new regulations mandated homes to charge a monthly rental fee. Homes were to be a social model, not a medical model. Strict regulations were put into effect to curb any medical or nursing care. Adult Homes with over 5 residents were under the rules and regulations of The New York State Department of Social Services. In the mid 1990’s, that changed and the regulating body became the New York State Department of Health.
The Farrar Home would not exist today without the generosity and support of a number of organizations and individuals. The Farrar Home Auxiliary was organized in 1908 and gave the Board financial aid for many years. The women of the Auxiliary held Silver Teas in Malone and surrounding towns and food sales and rummage sales. The present Farrar Home Christmas Teas are an outgrowth of these early fund raising events. One source for making money was the arduous task of tying old newspapers and magazines into bundles for a carload. In 1930 the Auxiliary had 165 active members and 343 associate members. Auxiliaries were also organized in St. Regis Falls, the Bangors, Chateaugay and Saranac Lake.
Another organization that played an important role at the Home was The New Idea Club of Malone. Its members were interested in making the quality of life better for residents. Club members would often provide furnishings, flowers and gifts. Occasionally the group prepared and served delicious dinners for all the ladies in the Home. After the dinner everyone assembled in the parlor for an evening of games, hymns, and poetry or piano recitals.
The work of these auxiliaries and the financial generosity of the communities were most important during the Depression years. The ladies that were able, worked in the house and garden, as they would in their own home. The garden was large and well taken care. The laundry was done in special tubs installed in the bathrooms and the residents could be seen hanging the clothes to dry. When possible, the ladies were also helped with the cooking and cleaning.
Among the many individuals who have made an important contribution to the Farrar Home is Letitia Greeno. Mrs. Greeno was not only a founding Board Member but, also, a tenacious fund-raiser. She wrote hundreds of letters to former Malone residents who had relocated to various parts of the United States and asked for contributions as small as five dollars. Due to her efforts, the Board received a significant gift of $25,000 from Mrs. Ida Man Ives in 1929 in memory of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Albon Man, who were born in Malone. A review of the Home’s financial history reveals many such bequests, truly demonstrating the special place the Farrar Home holds in the hearts of many Malone citizens.
As important as these bequests have been to the Farrar Home, it is the commitment of its Board members that has ensured its successful operation over the years. Individuals who took on the role of Board member spent countless hours managing the financial and physical needs of the Home. Most Board members served for decades at a time. Notably, from the beginning of the Farrar Home, there have only been seven presidents: Jeannette Hawkins, George Herbert Hayle, Willard D. Warner, William L. Allen, and Claude J. Clark Jr., who served 38 years, Hon. Robert G. Main Jr., who served 20 years, and Neil Seymour, who took over as President in 2005.
In recent years, another event that put the residents and staff of the Farrar Home to the test was the ice storm of 1998. The administrator, along with many of her family members and staff, spent 4 days in the facility keeping a generator running and caring for the residents. The house was full of people seeking shelter and / or working. The generator provided heat and electricity to half of the home. Every 4 hours it was switched to the other half. Power was limited, but provided enough to keep the Home running, and the residents comfortable. Amazingly, the residents seemed to have an easier time accepting the inconveniences. It was apparent that they had lived with less in the past and were here to tell about it.
Today, the Farrar Home is a 30 bed facility. The home is specifically designed to provide full time care and supervision for both men and women who are 60 years of age or older. All residents are expected to do as much as they can for themselves but will be aided in their areas of need. The goal is to have the residents reach their potential physically, mentally and spiritually to ensure their last years are fulfilling and dignified. Residents are treated with kindness, courtesy and the utmost respect. Over the years, this well-known establishment has been setting standards of excellence in the care of the elderly. Twice each year the home opens its doors to families and friends in the community. The Christmas Tea has been a long standing annual event and brings a festive start to the holiday season. During the month of July, the home also hosts a Summer Picnic. A delicious meal, great conversation and a variety of entertainment are provided for all to enjoy.
The Farrar Home looks forward to continuing to care for the elderly. The Mission Statement “To enhance, facilitate and optimize the mental, physical and spiritual well-being of the individual in a home-like atmosphere through caring” will remain our goal. We are seeing a dramatic increase in population for that age group, along with a demand for expanded services. People are living longer, healthier lives. Proper nutrition, exercise and appropriate activities are necessary to maintain a full life. In the future, we hope to provide a therapy room, which would be used for all kinds of programs, to help meet these needs. It has also been a plan to landscape around the Home, to allow for a safe walking area. This would also produce a comfortable place to enjoy the fresh air and for socializing with family and friends. Educational programs will be offered to keep the mind active and allow the residents to continue to learn. We will work to integrate the community into the Home and the Home into the community. These are some of the plans we have in place to assist our residents to be happy and healthy and live life to the fullest.
The Farrar Home continues to take pride in its commitment and service to the elderly in Malone and the surrounding areas.