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Harbor Crest History

Harbor Crest Home was the dream of twenty four prominent business leaders of the Fulton area long before an actual formal Board of Directors was organized.

A tract of land approximately five acres in size was purchased from Henry C. Valk for $12,000. The payment for the land was extended over a period of years without interest. This site is land fronting the Cattail Road and east of 17th Street in Fulton, Illinois.

In May of 1964, it was made public that the nursing home would be built. It was just a matter of when the building would take place and by whom.

Ray Rus was the first administrator of the home. His first office was located in the old water works office is now used as Fulton's food pantry.

Bids for the building of Harbor Crest were opened on April 22, 1965. They were opened at a public meeting with anyone that was interested being allowed to attend.

By the first part of July 1965 the ground had been staked out and digging for the footings and the basement area that would be located under the east wing soon began. This was a long show process because of all the rock that was encountered. The footings were actually poured on solid rock. The building was to be cement block and brick construction built on a concrete slab. The heat would be electric. The basement area under the main dining room was for storage and utility fixtures.

Since the flood of 1965 was so massive, there was some concern as to whether the nursing home would be affected by flood water at some future date. Surveys showed that the main floor of the nursing home was about ten feet above the highest level of the 1965 flood.

All outside work was to be completed by the fall of 1965, with the completion of the entire facility by the spring of 1966. They figured if they could get the outside work done in the fall, they would be able to work on the inside all winter long while the weather was more severe. The progress went well on the building. The first floor had been reached by October. It used a flexicore material to make the building more fire proof. The underground cable for electrical service had been put in as well as the telephone and water supply. If the building kept on track, by December 1st, the roof would be completed inside work could be done during the winter months. Work continued and by the following spring the end was in site.

The inside was finished and the Harbor Crest Auxiliary helped to ready the building for use as well as an Open House that was planned for May 30, 1966. In those weeks prior to the Open House, shrubbery was planted and the yard seeded. Pieces of equipment were put in place and by May 30, 1966 everything was ready to go. Mayor Warren Wiersema did the honor of cutting the ribbon. The new home that cost more that $250,000 was formally dedicated "to the loving care of our senior citizens".

The first eight residents were admitted on June 1, 1966 with Clarence Smith being the first one. In less than three months, Harbor Crest was operating at full capacity with an ever growing waiting list. Twenty seven full time employees were on the payroll as well as several part time workers.

It was soon thought that Harbor Crest needed to consider expansion to meet the growing need of services that the home provided. They were constantly running at capacity.

The ground breaking for the new addition took place on Saturday, May 8, 1975. Taking part in the ceremony were Ray Rus, Administrator, Lyle Barnhart, a member of the board and a city councilman representing the city, Glen Meyer and Kent Border, general contractors, Ed Meurs, board president and Mrs. Alvin Sikkema, auxiliary president.

The new addition was dedicated with an open house and a program that was held on August 3, 1977. The new wing connected to the south end of the building with a new entrance added. Near that entrance, there was a new administrator's office as well as a secretarial area. Not far from that was a room that offers privacy to residents and their families for business and other visits that needed seclusion. This will also serve as the board of directors' meeting room. The entire phone system was upgraded to handle the many phones throughout the facility. The addition provided rooms for thirty three more residents with one private room and the remainder as doubles. The new addition was decorated in a three color scheme of gold, green and blue. The hallways were all done with a painted area on the upper portion of the walls and the lower part covered with a heavy duty vinyl wallpaper. All the painting and wallpapering was done by Clifford Mohr and Son of Goose Lake, Iowa. This color scheme was done throughout the present facility also. The addition provided another dining room, a nurses' station with med room, a laundry room and a large activity room. There were several public restrooms, and storage areas added also. The large basement area included a maintenance room, a mechanical room and a very large auxiliary room. This very nice addition to our existing home was all funded locally, again showing the spirit and support of our community.

Harbor Crest continued to operate at full or nearly full for several years. A few years after the new addition was opened, Mr. Rus, the Administrator, was again over-seeing another building project. This time it was a very larger two stall garage with a nice work shop area. It was insulated, heated and provided much needed additional storage area. The exterior was of matching brick and it was a definite asset to the facility. After seeing this project to completion, Mr. Rus soon started thinking about retirement. He retired from the facility in late 1983, with many years of service and accomplishments to his credit.

And the years moved on and changes were made, not only in our interior physical appearance, but personnel came and went as well as residents. We became more resident oriented. The federal guidelines changed and several practices of the past were no longer permitted in the present day nursing homes. Gone were all the restraints and large confining geri-chairs. Gone were the one menu meals, with no other choices available. In came items from home, like a chair or dresser along with the pictures of the grand kids and your own bedspread if you wished to have it.

Bob Gale has been our Administrator since 1987. His job is not an easy one. Gone are the days when we had a waiting list and all the beds were full. Competition is on all sides of us. There are more nursing homes available now. Assisted Living areas are popping up in all directions and home health care has cut into our service considerably. And even though we deal with the day to day struggles that are brought on by a low census, our primary objective is to provide the best care possible for our residents. It is constantly reinforced that this is their home and we as employees are working for them.

In 2006, a new logo and motto were adopted by the management team of Harbor Crest Home. We have a symbol with nine tulips that is to symbolize the nine churches that represent our board of directors. On the nine tulips are six leaves that represent the six departments within the home. Our motto is "EXPECT RESPECT". We want this to apply to all aspects of the nursing home in our dealings with the residents, their families and each other in our working relationships.

In 2006, we also started what we call our "Wish List". Several of the employees got together and started fund raising to help purchase some of those much needed items that there were not funds for in the general operating money. The endeavors of these employees have been greatly rewarded. They received support from residents, their families, board members, churches, the community and surrounding areas and fellow employees.

Harbor Crest Home provides services to all persons without regard to race, national origin, or age. The same services are provided to all residents, with no distinction in eligibility for these services. EOE.

Harbor Crest Home

817 17th Street
Fulton, Illinois 61252


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