As ever-changing and increasingly modern as the world becomes, the significance of history grows right along with advancement. Without history and its visible reminders today, we can’t make comprehensive sense of our past or, more importantly, our present and future.
History can be taught, read, studied and evaluated. Key facts, figures and dates can be learned and recited by those who commit them to memory. But history’s greatest power is when it can be felt – in the silent but immense presence of time…in the echoes of bygone eras and individuals who have etched their impressions across the generations and will continue to shape the years to come.
Humankind has a natural instinct to leave a legacy – to be remembered for something. For some, that desire is for personal fame or recognition, but for blessed many others, it is to better life for society at large. Those individuals see the “Big Picture” and focus on the long-term benefits of their mission.
The group of women who founded Eastcastle Place (formerly known as the Milwaukee Protestant Home for the Aged) in 1884 were such people. They recognized that they were stewards of both their current and future world and strove to make it better for those in need of quality care and community.
A visit to – or even a drive past – Eastcastle Place on the vibrant, iconic East Side of Milwaukee invites the guest or onlooker directly into legacy and longevity. A Designated Preservation Structure, the classic Victorian Gothic property with a slate roof, copper flashing and ornate stonework is not only a tangible – and stunning – emblem of gilded history, it’s a beacon of humanitarianism that began 138 years ago and thrives still today.
While the architectural integrity of Eastcastle Place cannot be changed (and has in fact has been carefully preserved, additions and updates throughout the years render the community a modern gem with state-of-the-art services, amenities and resident activities. It’s literally a melding of past, present and future in the most ideal sense. Its founding women would most certainly be proud, as are current staff and friends.
“I am very proud of Eastcastle Place’s prominent history,” said philanthropy director Michael Brever. “It’s so unique to have a not-for-profit, a service model, that’s been in existence for 138 years…What we are today is a culmination of what people in 1884 envisioned and continued.”
Three years ago, in celebration of Eastcastle Place’s place in history is a 135th anniversary gala on September 14th at the Westin Hotel in Milwaukee. The evening will feature food, beverage and emcees John McGivern, an actor and writer, and author and historian John Gurda. Other celebratory events will generate community and corporate interest and support, including a tailgate party at Miller Park.
History molds brick and mortar into heart and soul. The storied buildings and institutions that remain long after their forebears dreamed them into existence are literally national treasures. And the legacies of good people throughout the ages live on forever.