It is no secret that Bishop Gadsden is well known in the Charleston community and beyond, but the Bishop Gadsden Episcopal Retirement Community has a vast, 170-year history in Charleston. There is a lot to know about Bishop Gadsden history, and here are five interesting facts things we would like to share:
1. Bishop Gadsden’s history begins in 1850
The Episcopal Church Home for Widows and Orphans, the original name for the home that became Bishop Gadsden, was established on April 15, 1850. South Carolina Episcopal Bishop Christopher Edwards Gadsden dedicated the Episcopal Church Home at St. Stephens on Anson Street, in downtown Charleston during a prayer service. Following the service, he walked down to 55 Laurens Street where the newly founded home was to first open its doors.
2. Bishop Gadsden is named for its founder, Bishop Christopher Gadsden
As seen in fact number one, Bishop Christopher Edwards Gadsden dedicated and prayed over The Episcopal Church Home for Widows and Orphans. Upon its move to James Island, the new era of The Episcopal Church Home deserved no other name but Bishop Gadsden. Bishop Gadsden himself was an integral part of our history, and in honor of his dedication to the Episcopal Church Home for Widows and Orphans, it seemed fitting for the new home to be named for him.
3. Bee Street became home
In 1929, The Episcopal Church Home moved into 12 Bee Street where they would call home for the next 55 years. The house was generously given to the Church Home by the late W. King McDowell. This generous gift gave the Church Home a beautiful residence in downtown Charleston and while no longer a part of Bishop Gadsden, the building itself still continues to be called home from some today.
4. The move to James Island
In 1983, the Bee Street Home was sold and the move to James Island became another miracle on a long list of miracles. St. James Church offered to donate five of its 46 acres located across the street from their church for the site of an assisted living community. With $850,000 from the Bee Street Home sale and some donations, the Board of Trustees took a leap of faith and voted to begin construction. In the summer of 1986, foundations were poured and Bishop Gadsden Episcopal Retirement Community was underway with the vision and leadership of Bill Trawick.
5. Accomplishments since the modern beginning
In the last 37 years, Bishop Gadsden has seen incredible change and growth. The community has grown from having assisted living, to a full continuum of care with apartment and cottage living to skilled nursing and memory care. Bishop Gadsden’s impressive community design and programs have not been ignored either. Bishop Gadsden has received the Design for Aging Award for Outstanding Community, and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Association has recognized the Bishop Gadsden Chapel for its outstanding design for Homes & Services for the Aging (AAHSA).
As Bishop Gadsden is on the brink of its newest expansion – a new health and rehab center that will replace and increase capacity for memory care and skilled care, as well as add short-term rehab, it is clear that the last 170 years have been filled with growth and generosity. We cannot wait to see what the next 170 year have in store for Bishop Gadsden.