In 1915 the Kellar Mansion, located in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, was purchased by the Church of the Lutheran Brethren to become Sarepta Home , the first of numerous homes and agencies designed and operated by LB Homes to care for an aging population. Pastor A. Vatne was called to serve as its first superintendent.
The name Sarepta comes from the Biblical reference of 1st Kings, chapter 17; “Elijah the prophet was at the widow’s house in Sarepta where God had promised to supply his needs as well as that of the widow and her son, from the nearly empty barrel of meal and the little oil in the cruse until the rain would come and the famine be over.”
The Sarepta Home operated an active farm from its start in 1915 through the late 1940’s or early 1950’s. It was by this method that the home would raise money in order to operate. When Mrs. Maria Berg came to run the agency, the Sarepta Home only had six residents, but with renovations and five new additions to the existing structure, the house could then handle about 80 residents and had a large chapel. To support a growing ministry, an annual fall festival was held and an offering was taken for assisting with the operations.
The Church of the Lutheran Brethren owned a building in Fergus Falls that had once housed the Bible and Seminary Department. The building had been originally built as the Northwestern College, but was no longer used by the synod, so it was decided to convert the building into a board and care facility for elderly residents, with Morris Vold as its first Administrator. Broen Memorial Home began operation in 1959.
Broen Home is named for a beloved professor in the Lutheran Brethren Seminary, E.M. Broen. Mrs. Sig Swenson was named the first supervising nurse. Eventually, Wayne Larson who originally volunteered to help at the Sarepta Home became the Chief Executive Officer of Lutheran Brethren Homes and his wife, Ina, became the Administrator of Broen Memorial Home. With increasing need for senior care in Fergus Falls, a nursing home was added to the board and care facility in 1969. At the time of construction it was a state-of-the-art facility in healthcare design.
Meanwhile, the Sarepta Home was in operation until April, 1974, when the hospital in Sauk Centre built a new nursing home, thus eliminating the need for other nursing care facilities in the area. Lutheran Brethren Homes closed Sarepta Home that spring, sold the property and then developed the Mesa Christian Home in Arizona, run by Mr. Sherman Rorvig, administrator. In 1982 apartments were leased in Mesa and in 1984 a nursing home was built in Sun City, AZ called Wooddale Village. Later in the 1980s Oakwood Village of Garland, TX was also added to the ministries of LB Homes.
In 1984 an addition at the Broen Memorial Home replaced all of the board and care beds in the original building. The board and care rooms were converted into apartments for people 55 and older. It was named the Northwestern Manor after the college that was originally housed in the building.
In 1996 the Arizona properties were sold which made it possible to build the Light and Life Auditorium. Located next to Alcott Manor, the Light and Life Auditorium is a lovely multi-purpose space connected to the Broen Home/ Alcott Manor / Sheridan House Campus, where religious services are held each Sunday and where concerts, recitals, and programs are performed on a regular basis.
Wayne Larson retired in 1999 and Ina retired in 2000. Sheridan House, with one and two bedroom apartments for those 55 and older who live independently was completed prior to John Zwiers being named as administrator of the Fergus Falls campus in April of 2001.
With all the new additions, a new use was explored for the original Northwestern Manor building. As a result in 2005, thirty-six of the existing apartments were converted into 26 studio and one bedroom apartments to create Alcott Manor Assisted Living.
Looking to the future and wanting to fill a growing need in healthcare, Broen Home was the first nursing home in the Fergus Falls area to create a sub-acute, short stay unit where patients could come for days or weeks at a time to have personalized therapy and high quality nursing care while they recovered from surgery, illness or injury. Broen Short Stay began accepting patients in October 2006.
In 2011 it was announced that LB Homes would acquire two long standing healthcare agencies: Lakeland Home Care and Lakeland Hospice. Their acquisition became official in January of 2012, adding to the spectrum of services available with LB Homes.
As part of the acquisition, the Lakeland Hospice House was repurposed and upon completion of a new addition and renovation of parts of the existing building, it became Woodland Lodge Enhanced Assisted Living. The capacity for residents more than quadrupled to 33 rooms of various sizes with a wide range of services available for seniors 55 and older. People can come to Woodland Lodge needing little to no care and stay for the duration of their life.
In the late summer of 2012, LB Homes opened its corporate offices at the renovated former Eisenhower Elementary School on Channing Avenue, which is located four blocks east of Broen Home. Many LB Homes administrative offices as well as Lakeland Home Care and Lakeland Hospice were set up in the Eisenhower building. In 2013, LB Homes Connect began offering clients the ability to have in-home health technology at their fingertips.
2015 marked the 100-year anniversary of LB Homes from its inception in 1915 as Sarepta Home in Sauk Centre. LB Homes celebrated this milestone by hosting a community picnic, creating a company cookbook, and thoroughly promoting the event.
LB Homes Foundation replaced Lakeland Hospice Foundation in 2015 to oversee the fund raising efforts of LB Homes and its agencies. Hospice became a fund within the overall LB Homes Foundation.
In 2017, the Board of Directors for LB Homes made the decision to rename all care sites and services by adding the letters “LB” in front. This rebranding was intended to demonstrate the whole continuum of care at LB Homes and clear up confusion in the community regarding brand identity. Lakeland Home Care and Lakeland Hospice removed the word “Lakeland” and got renamed as LB Home Care and LB Hospice.
Much like the tree logo, LB Homes will continue to grow over the next 100 years in serving others with Christ at the heart of each and every endeavor.