Dodge Old People's Home


Street Address: 318 E. Third Street

Year Built: 1931

City Ordinance: 4186-9915299

National Registry #:

The Dodge Old People's Home, constructed in 1931 and opened in January of 1932, is a two-story, red brick masonry structure built in the Mediterranean Revival style of architecture. Built in the St. Joseph Ironworks Addition neighborhood by Callix E. Miller (architect and builder) for the Wallace and Hattie Dodge trust in 1932. The Dodge Old People's Home became a Registered Landmark in 1997.

Adhering to the Mediterranean Revival style of architecture, unique qualities of the Dodge Home include arched openings, red tile roofing, decorative iron balconettes, and hip roofs with wide, overhanging eves. An additional feature of the Dodge Home is limestone detailing including quoins at the corners, window and door surrounds with keystones, and parapet balustrade.

Interior features included a lounge along with a large stone fireplace. The furnishings in the living room provided comfort to residents who could relax in oversized arm chairs and lounges. At either side of the entrances were alcoves which contained desks and writing materials. There was a small kitchen for the purpose of entertaining tea-time guests or residents unable to dine at the Beiger Home. There were four master bedrooms on the ground floor complete with private dressing rooms and baths. A recreation room for the residents was located in the basement.

Wallace and Hattie Dodge had provided a $100,000 trust fund in their will for the purpose of building an Old People's Home. The total cost of the home at the time was $35,000. The Dodge Home was supervised by the same board of directors and advisory committee as the Susie H. Beiger home and were operated jointly. The combined organization was said to be the only one of its kind in this part of the country and was considered to be superior to others because it provided for more individual care of the residents.

In January 1932, the Dodge Old People's Home was open and ready for new residents. The home accommodated ten to twelve persons, both men and women in addition to a maid. An elaborate underground tunnel connected the two homes allowing for passage in inclement weather. The home continued to operate until 1975, when the Dodge Old People's Home Trust decided to sell the home. The property remained vacant until Ronald and Elizabeth Melser purchased the home in 1976, where it served as Dr. Melser's dental office as well as four apartments.