Our Rich History From1864 to Present Day | OhioGuidestone


OhioGuidestone began in 1864. Then, we supported orphans of the civil war. This began our legacy of bettering lives.
Today, we treat thousands of families and children. Scroll through this timeline to learn more about how we got here.

  • 1864

    Berea resident, Wilhelm Ahrens founded the German Methodist Orphan Asylum, a home for orphan children from German Methodist churches whose fathers were killed in the War or in the quarries. When it opened, there were 9 children who lived in one facility in Berea, Ohio.
  • 1868

    The first orphanage building, made of native Berea sandstone, was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day 1868. It was a 3 story structure 45’x70’, large enough to accommodate 50-60 children.
  • 1874

    A new roof was placed on the building and another story was also added which gave the home more rooms for children.
  • 1890

    Trustees decided to construct a new building in front of the old one, 45’x70’, at the same height as the original structure. It cost $22,000 and made room for 50 more children. Cornerstone for this addition was laid on October 8, 1891.
  • 1903

    Third portion added – enabling us to care for 200 children. Up to that date, 516 children from 16 different states found a home at our orphanage.
  • 1905

    The Ott Memorial Manual Training School was built. Dedicated by Mary Ott, in memory of Henry and Ida Ott, it contained a shop for classes in wood-working, drafting, iron-working and horseshoeing. It included a gymnasium and a swimming pool. Later sold to Baldwin Wallace to be used for classrooms, torn down in 1982.
  • 1910

    In an effort to build on learning techniques to help the children become self-sufficient individuals, each child was given chores to complete such as laundry, feeding the animals, milking the cows, maintaining the coal furnace, cooking and cleaning.
  • 1918

    “Papa” Gustav Hauser began his superintendence in 1918. He was a retired minister and a good businessman, with strong parental skills. He taught the orphans life skills and gave them religious guidance. Many evenings, after dinner, he would read stories with biblical connotations. Every Sunday he escorted the orphans to church where they learned about […]
  • 1924

    The final section was added to the building to form a huge cross, seen from the air, and our name was changed to the German Methodist Children’s Home.
  • 1928

    In the 1920s, a decision was made to put children of similar ages into groups, creating a more home-like environment. This led to the construction of cottage -style homes, beginning with Mueller-Loeppert Cottage. Children attended public school, community church, and lived with house parents. Overall, this provided more family centered living and more community. In […]
  • 1937

    The Ladies Auxiliary was started which offered women the chance to make a positive difference in the lives of children by securing funds and donations from the community with festivals, parties, auctions, luncheons and bake sales.
  • 1937

    The home was no longer serving just orphans, but also troubled children with parents. The agency changed its name to the Methodist Children’s Home to reflect this change in services.
  • 1950

    On October 27, 1950, a fire broke out on the 4th floor of the main building. While all the children and house mother escaped, after the fire it was decided that children should not be living in the stone building. This marked the complete switch to cottage living.
  • 1958

    Dr. Phillips played a pivotal role during the shift in our focus. He was a Methodist pastor with a talent for getting people to work together for the greater good. As the Executive Director from 1958-1964, he is credited with leading the transition from orphanage to a residential treatment center. Despite opposing viewpoints surrounding the […]
  • 1959

    In 1959, in a world where divorce rates were rising and emotional problems were steadily increasing, the organization recognized a need for change. A study was done by the Child Welfare League of America, and based on the results, the agency’s focus was changed from an orphanage to a residential treatment center. As time progressed, […]
  • 1964

    Harry Gahn served as legal counsel and devoted trustee from 1913-1962. The Harry C. Gahn Administration Building was built in memory of his hard work and dedication to the home. This building housed a new on-campus school to better serve the kids and provide a safe, productive learning environment. The first class had 15 kids […]
  • 1964

    Reverend Letts played a pivotal role in the transition to a specialized treatment facility by spearheading advocacy and fundraising efforts. In the 1970’s, he garnered support for our programs locally and nationally; asking for charitable support through quarterly appeal letters; sending personalized correspondence to donors; and developing relationships with supporters. His work paved the way […]
  • 1972

    Reverend John Caddey became Executive Director. Caddey originally came to the home in 1963 as the Chaplain and Assistant Director. Under his leadership, the social and mental health programs expanded, the number of families and children served rose from 50 to 9,000 and several campaigns for the expansion of the campus were successfully conducted.
  • 1973

    The concept and use of foster homes was common well before the agency’s shift to residential treatment. Until the early 1970’s, foster parents only received children who were already being cared for at the Home. In 1973, as a result of federal funding, the Methodist Children’s Home began to recruit and train foster parents to […]
  • 1974

    By 1974, many boys were completing residential placement and were experiencing difficulties as they reentered into the community. In response to this need, the Aftercare Program was developed, to facilitate a smooth conclusion. A child leaving the treatment program received assistance adjusting to his home and school environment. Older boys leaving the group homes received […]
  • 1982

    Founded by German Methodists, the agency was run by The United Methodist Church until the early 1980’s. During this time, many conferences restructured their affiliation with Methodist organizations, such as ours, asking them to become independent non-profit agencies, in a covenant relationship with the church. To honor the church, the agency changed its name to […]
  • 1983

    First infant daycare room was opened to provide quality daycare, in a safe environment that would help them learn and grow.
  • 1984

    Family Life Child Care was established offering high quality care for infants to school age children. The program offered a safe, stimulating and high-quality program that prepared children for future educational success. Today the program is offered at 5 locations across Cuyahoga County.
  • 1984

    In June 1984, former orphans gathered together to dedicate a monument to commemorate the original German Methodist Orphan’s Asylum structures.
  • 1985

    We found that many girls were in need of the same behavior health services that were provided to boys, so we opened our first girls residential cottage. Prior to this year, Berea Children’s Home served only boys.
  • 1989

    Berea Children’s Home was named Institution of the year. Changes to our agency structure. A new mission had evolved to providing a ministry of healing and nurturing to children and their families in Ohio. This setting would enable them to grow and become more productive individuals.
  • 1992

    In 1992, Pro-Kids & Families Juvenile Diversion Program was developed to meet the needs of thousands of kids in the juvenile count system charged with unruliness, truancy, incorrigible behavior, and curfew violations. In this program, an assigned case manager works with families to develop individualized plans to improve behavior, and to empower parents and guardians […]
  • 1994

    As long time friends, volunteers, and supporters, the Snows helped the agency significantly, expanding our services and contributing over $800,000 in donations. In 1986 they started The Glenn & Jean Snow Endowment Fund for evaluation and research. In 1994, our on-campus school was named Snow School in their honor. The school provides a safe learning […]
  • 1995

    Essential to the organization, Community Service & Solutions programming, provided in the community or the family home was added in 1995. This unique model allowed the agency to treat children and families in a familiar environment and eliminate barriers to service. It is a cornerstone of our programming that continues today.
  • 2004

    Richard Frank began working at the organization in 1978 as a Business Manager and later as the Assistant Executive Director. In 2004 he became OhioGuidestone’s President and CEO. Under his leadership, he grew the organization from a small residential center to one of the state’s largest human services and community solutions organizations for children and […]
  • 2006

    As a result of a generous gift from the Reinberger Foundation, our Reinberger Chapel was constructed in 2006 and dedicated in May 2007. The construction on an on-campus chapel gave our agency a permanent space for spiritual reflection and other gatherings for children, families, and staff members.
  • 2009

    In 2009, a new, state of the art child care center was built to replace our flagship center in Berea. The 21,500 square foot facility includes a gymnasium and several playground areas appropriate for many different ages and abilities.
  • 2010

    On November 12, 2010, we hosted an open house for our new MidTown Cleveland Campus. This new Cleveland campus allows us to centralize our four midtown Cleveland offices into a new, 40,000 square foot downtown Cleveland Campus located on a 2-acre site. This new facility is home to over 200 staff with the capacity to […]
  • 2012

    The organization was renamed OhioGuidestone to better reflect the positive direction and solid long lasting foundation of the organization.
  • 2012

    In 2012, OhioGuidestone opened Stepstone Academy, the first charter school in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood. Through talented teachers, technology rich classrooms, individualized and group instruction, and Stepstone 360°, our comprehensive support services model that utilizes OhioGuidestone services for families, the school helps students overcome barriers to education and to excel academically.
  • 2013

    Personal and Family Counseling Services of Tuscarawas Valley formally affiliates with OhioGuidestone. This partnership will give the organization additional opportunities for growth, improving the ability to serve the Tuscarawas and Carroll County communities.

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