Charter House: Roots and Spirit with Tony Enquist and Ruth Weispfenning (2015)

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


On a January morning in 1985, Rochester Mayor Chuck Hazama cut the ribbon proclaiming the opening of Charter House. Soon after the ceremony, the first residents began to arrive, and by the end of the day nearly thirty people – some from as far away as California and Arizona – had moved in. The Charter House Welcome Committee greeted each newcomer with friendly smiles, a plant, and a selection of warm breads. During the first year, 195 people moved into Charter House from sixteen states. They came from varied backgrounds but together formed a rich tapestry of life experience. All shared a pioneering spirit.

When we opened in 1985, we did not have a history, a spirit, or a culture.  Over time, they evolved. Today, we look with pride on what we have become – a retirement community known for the energy and creativity of its residents, the staff who continually meet and exceed their expectations, and the care and peace of mind we provide.

 Much has changed since our opening: enrichment of the programs we offer, improvements in dining services, a stronger affiliation with Mayo Clinic, and upgrades to our physical environment, to name a few – all primarily done as responses to residents’ needs.  What has not changed since Charter House opened is the belief that It is the people who make Charter House special. 

Published originally in 1995 to commemorate our tenth anniversary, revised in 2005 for our twentieth anniversary, and now updated to celebrate our thirtieth year, Charter House Roots and Spirt chronicles our history and portrays our lifestyle. Take, read, and enjoy these stories of what have made – and continue to make – our community an esteemed place to live and work.

Tony Enquist, Charter House Administrator