The JUDSON RETIREMENT COMMUNITY organized on January 9, 1906 as the Baptist Home of Northern Ohio (incorporated August 17, 1906). The nonprofit, interdenominational agency consists of two separate facilities, Judson Park and Judson Manor, but functions as one institution to provide independent and assisted living, and nursing care for retired men and women of independent means. The idea for a permanent residence for aging Baptists (especially women without family or funds) originated on November 1, 1904 with six members of the Women's Social Bible Class of the EUCLID AVE. BAPTIST CHURCH, who decided to organize and raise funds. On January 9, 1905, twenty-five women met and named their society the Women's Social Club. Formally organized at Euclid Avenue Baptist Church, a board of trustees formed on May 27, 1907.
In June 1907, with JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER's matching funds, the group purchased the nineteen-room Southworth residence at 3334 Prospect Avenue. Churches of other denominations contributed money, furniture, and provisions. The home opened on October 16, 1907. In 1919 the group sold the original facility and purchased a residence at 8903 Cedar Avenue. The Baptist Home of Northern Ohio sold that home in 1939 and purchased the seven-acre estate of contractor Warren G. Bicknell. It included a large residence (built in 1919) at 1801 Chestnut Hills Drive. Dedicated on January 7, 1940, it was renamed the Baptist Home of Ohio the following year. The home expanded with additions in 1950-51 and with the construction of the adjoining ten-story Jordan Gardner Tower in 1974 at 2181 Ambleside Drive. Named in honor of donor Grace Jordan Gardner, the new apartment building was dedicated on December 8, 1974. The entire complex was called Judson Park in honor of Baptist missionary Adoniram Judson.
Judson Manor, located in UNIVERSITY CIRCLE, joined the newly named Judson Retirement Community in 1983. Built in 1921-22, it had opened in 1923 as Wade Park Manor, a luxury residential apartment hotel. The Christian Residences Foundation, a nonprofit, nonsectarian, community organization of seven area churches, purchased the manor from David C. Lincoln in 1964 and operated it as a retirement facility until 1983. Remodeled in 1985, it was renamed Judson Manor. In 1991 Judson opened the new Bruening Health Center.
The Judson Community is one of the few fully accredited continuing care communities in the country. In 2006 the institution offered additional services to elderly individuals and their spouses, including programs such as home care and Judson partners, which provides individuals with the opportunity to stay in their homes while accessing the same programs and services as Judson residents. The board of trustees, professional staff, and volunteers, including the Auxiliary and the Evening Auxiliary, administer the institution. Fees and donations from residents, other individuals, and a variety of foundations and institutions finance the community.