Early History of Carlsbad by the Sea Retirement Community
Prepared by Orpha Froblom Boggs
(with assistance from Peggy O'Neal)
The history of Carlsbad By The Sea as a Christian home for retired Lutherans and others in San Diego County was started when an elderly Lutheran gentleman in San Diego had a quantity of securities and an intense desire to place them in his will in such a way that the funds would be used to establish a Christian retirement community. His name was Owen G. Crockett.
In July 1956, Mr. Crockett called on the Lutheran chaplain who was serving Sharp Memorial Hospital to tell him that he wanted to name Lutheran Welfare Services of Southern California as beneficiary of his will. Mr. Crockett wrote a letter detailing the intentions of his will. The board of directors of the agency voted to support the project and informed Mr. Crockett that the agency was a non-profit corporation and that any assets from his will would be used only as a retirement community for senior persons living in San Diego County.
A meeting of the San Diego Lutheran Ministries Association was called to discuss the creation of a senior citizens home through an organization called The Lutheran Services of San Diego. Officers were chosen and so began the business of finding suitable property that could be developed for such a community. A realtor was present at this meeting who told them that he had been advised that the Carlsbad Hotel in Carlsbad had filed for bankruptcy and was available for $450,000. It was learned that a deposit of $1,000 would hold this property. The response was enthusiastic and ten $100 checks were produced and escrow proceeded.
A committee was appointed to make a complete inspection of the property and report findings at a later meeting. The committee recommended at a later meeting the purchase of the property and it was accepted. However, the Referee in Bankruptcy feared that the group could not handle such a large deal. Fortunately, Mr. Scott, of the Walker Scott Company, asked an attorney friend to interview the Referee and convince him that the Lutheran Church could handle the purchase and the deal was accepted. The Lutheran Churches were in business and Carlsbad By The Sea was launched.
The new organization was confronted with a really big problem and that was where to get the $50,000 to handle the first trust deed. A "Miracle of Faith" produced the answer when Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Nicolet visited the home and said that they would take the trust deed and wanted to be the first residents of the new community.
LSSD would assume control on January 3, 1957. Construction of six cottages west of the main building and Mr. & Mrs. Nicolet moved into the one nearest the ocean.
It was necessary to organize, prepare operating rules and conditions for acceptance of residents, by-laws, prepare budget, meet the requirements of the State of California for retirement homes, hire competent staff, etc.
Articles of Incorporation were accepted on February 15, 1957 and soon afterwards the home was opened with eleven residents and staff of twenty people.
The biggest problem during the first seven years was financial. The burden of dealing with these problems led to the idea that the best solution would be to transfer management responsibilities and title to the property to a more experienced multi-home corporation. CLH, headquartered in Alhambra, California and the Board of Directors were invited to a meeting with the LSSD Board to discuss transfer of ownership. Such an organization, also church-related, was found at California Lutheran Homes, headquartered at Alhambra, California. This organization, under the direction of the Rev. John R. Steinhaus, Executive Director, who had successfully operated several homes for the elderly and nursing facilities for several years.
This idea was well received and on January 1, 1964, CLH acquired the property and all assets (and liabilities) and have operated the home since that time. It was operated under the policies and procedures of CLH and under the supervision and assistance of the Corporate headquarters staff.
However, financial difficulties remained after the acquisition as CLH continued to operate under the prevailing contracts of the former organization. So the first few years were a struggle. It became quite evident, after operating with a six bed infirmary, that more space was needed. The Board of CLH began to plan to build a Care Center. More land was needed to accomplish this and the property across the street was a full-service gas station, which was for sale. The acquisition of this property took several years to accomplish, but the property was finally acquired and plans went ahead to build a 50-bed Care Center, plus a large additional room for meetings and socials. A member of our family at CBTS donated a sizeable sum for this project. In February of 1975 the Care Center was dedicated. Our Director of Nurses was given the duties to put this center in condition to receive patients. CBTS became a very sought-after place when this addition was made. CBTS was filled to capacity and remained so until the early '90's, when the City advised us we needed to provide a more seismic safe place in which our residents would reside. And, so the Board began their plans to solve this problem. After a couple of years of meetings and planning, the Board decided to stay at this location.
Records show the early months of this operation residents were received under one of two plans: one known as "Life Care" and the other as "Pay As You Go". Under the first plan, the rates varied between $11,000 and $20,000 based on annuity life insurance and the particular accommodation. The Pay As You Go plan required an entrance fee of $5,000, plus $175 per month. In the following months these conditions changed considerably. The support of the San Diego churches and private parties were tremendous. A sum of $40,000 was raised during the first six months after incorporation. It was reported by the first Vice President of LSSD that due to the "miracle of faith", CBTS had paid all extra costs, loan and budget requirements, two trust deeds had been paid and the first trust deed was down to $175,000 with the help of the PSW of LCA who advanced money to assist.
The description of the property and its programs and the rules of operation that have proven successful; the trained and devoted personnel who carried out the operation and to describe how a person can become a resident of the home and the responsibility one assumes upon admittance, including services that are available, including health care.
The property faces Highway 101 (Carlsbad Boulevard) between Grand Avenue and Christensen Way and is two blocks deep to Ocean Street, plus a highly accessible 100 foot ocean front property. The main building was two stories high of brick and concrete in an attractive Mediterranean architectural design built in the shape of a "U" with wings extending a full block toward the ocean. On each side, six cottages were built, each containing both single rooms and suites. The entire property was neatly landscaped. Palm trees were planted in 1930, when the hotel was built and were 60 feet tall. The area between the wings and around the cottages was a beautiful garden. The main building had 114 rooms and total capacity of 125 residents.
Everything possible was done for the convenience and security for the residents. All exterior doors were locked before dark and a competent night clerk was on duty each night. Each room had fire alarms and sprinkler heads and a private phone to the office. All areas, including corridors, stairs, lobby and dining rooms, were carpeted. Linen was changed each week and rooms cleaned bi-weekly. An elevator runs between floors.
Courteous trained personnel were on duty each day to serve the residents, adding a nice atmosphere to the home. Residents are forbidden to give tips, but recognition is accomplished each year. Early in December each year, the residents may make a donation to the Employees Christmas Fund. The total is divided equally on the basis of actual hours of work.
How to become a resident? First, one must visit the home several times under the guidance of an admission coordinator, who will answer questions. If decision is made to apply, the name is placed on a "waiting list". The applicant is given forms to apply, a financial report is required and backed up with three letters of recommendation from friends of the applicant. When the applicant is accepted, a minimum payment of $1,000, plus $100 process fee is required. An amount of $3,000 toward Association fees may be made for which applicant draws interest quarterly; but is returned if applicant withdraws. Association fees ranged from $10,000 to $20,000 in 1964. In addition, the monthly care fee covered meals, utilities, housekeeping, transportation and chaplain services. Association fees paid once entitling resident to live in unit selected for as long as resident is physically able to do so.
Description of the many services available to each resident: First, the food. The Home enjoyed a fine reputation for the quality of the food. The dietitian, cooks and serving personnel gave the residents the quality of food and services. Transportation was furnished for shopping, banking and medical appointments.
A chaplain conducted worship services on Sunday and interesting bible studies each week and is also available for personal counseling.
An Activities Director, whose duties were to arrange for entertainment, also directs a variety of special classes and discussion groups of interest to the residents.
Another important service was supplied by the Auxiliary of CLH in the form of special attention of volunteer's services given each week. Many ladies and gentlemen shared their time and talents and generously extended courtesies, concern and care for the residents of the Home, as well as patients in the Lutheran Health Facility. The Auxiliary operates a little shop known as the "Plum
Blossom", which was located in the former infirmary when LHF occupied the building across the street. They are known as "Pink Ladies" because of their pink uniforms. The Pink Ladies come from Vista, Encinitas, Oceanside, as well as Carlsbad.
The Director of Volunteers was to become a resident of Carlsbad By The Sea. Three more employees became residents — Esther Heddergott, MSW, Virginia Ericksen, Auxiliary Director, and Orpha Froblom, Assistant to the President, and more recently, Admissions Counselor to CBTS.
CLH operates fully on two highly important standards. One is to maintain proper financial reserves that will guarantee the stability of the organization and two is to maintain the traditional standards of excellence — good food, good staff, good programs and good care, when needed.
It all adds up that each resident may enjoy with security the satisfaction, the pleasures and friendliness of living for years at CBTS in the beautiful community of Carlsbad.