Charter House Roots and Spirit with Dick Edwards and Ruth Weispfenning (2006)

A history to commemorate the twenty-year anniversary of Charter House, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Rochester, Minnesota.


In 1995 Charter House created a commemorative publication called Our Roots and Our People in celebration of our tenth anniversary. Written by Jennifer La Forgia, it contained a chronological account of Charter House history, a selection of vignettes portraying the culture and lifestyle at Charter House and an appendix that recorded the names of residents, original staff and early leaders.

Much has happened since then. For example, nearly 500 new residents have made Charter House their home; an 80,000-square-foot, five-floor addition was completed that made room for expanding the assisted living program and sharing building space and programs with the Mayo Clinic; the Corner Cupboard was remodeled and doubled in size; the fifth-floor Fitness Center opened, staffed with a full-time Fitness Coordinator; the Charter House Hospice Suites became available for occupancy; and staff and programs continued to grow in number. Less tangible but equally important has been the growth and development of our Charter House spirit.

Because of these changes, coupled with our twentieth anniversary, we felt it important to revise the original publication, and commissioned writer Michael Ransom to do so. Michael met one-on-one and in small groups with Charter House residents and adult children of residents, staff and administration, listening to what they had to say about living and working at Charter House. He absorbed their input, then wrote this version that extends the original history through 2006 and conveys the current Charter House spirit. We applaud his results.

I will step aside as Charter House Administrator in Spring 2006. For 19 years I have engaged with countless remarkable men and women from all walks of life at Charter House. I have learned much from them for which I will be forever grateful.      

Change is a constant in all organizations. My moving on is an example of such. Those organizations that endure monitor the needs of their customers and adjust accordingly while maintaining their core values. As I reflect on the history of Charter House, I am pleased that we have done just that. We have embraced change while holding fast to the following beliefs:     

  • Each of us is enriched and made better by being in service to older persons.
  • Each Charter House resident is important, has value and is deserving of our respect, care and concern.
  • Good people working together can achieve great results.

These core values and the magical spirit of Charter House will continue to serve it well in the future. Given that assurance, we welcome change, as we welcome all people who make Charter House their home and their place of work.

Dick Edwards, Charter House Administrator