In 1967, some area Methodists approached what was then New England Deaconess Association, about potentially expanding their work into Western Massachusetts. New England Deaconess Association had owned and operated a retirement community for more than 50 years in Concord, Massachusetts. At about the same time, the Pioneer Valley and Berkshire Baptist Associations were considering building such a home. The Laurel Park Association, a Methodist-related campground in Northampton, offered to turn over 12 acres of their land, valued at about $50,000, if Deaconess would build a home for the elderly on the site. In 1968, the three groups united and assets were gathered to build a million dollar project. The project was completed in 1970. Rev. Elmo Young, the District Superintendent of the Western Massachusetts Methodist Churches was invited to become the first Administrator and the doors of Rockridge opened.
Over the years, as trends in living have changed for people in the aging process, additions and upgrades have been completed on the property. In 2004, a new building opened that houses 30 apartments, a new dining room, library, fitness and other common areas as well as 12 cottage homes, connected via an indoor corridor. This expansion allowed Rockridge to offer both residential living and the ability to provide assistance to residents as their needs change.
October 2016 we opened our Moderate Income Apartment Rentals affectionally known as "Violette's Crossing" after Violette Young. There are 25 apartments for people needing independent living. Then in March of 2017 we were able to relocate The Gardens, our memory support that had been in operation for 10 years to the ground floor of Violette's Crossing. This purpose built space includes bright spacious hallways and an outdoor garden that is part of the design. This is a supportive environment that offers opportunities each day for personal meaning and a sense of community. Additionally, when we moved The Gardens we were able to open up more Residential Care suites for people needing financial assistance.
As times change and people look for new options and services, Rockridge continues to grow to serve the population in the way they want to be served.