In 1857 George Hayes, a jeweler well-known for his philanthropic interests, through his will left funds to find and support “an institution to furnish a retreat and home for aged and deserving mechanics.” Close friend and business partner Ferdinand J. Dreer and associate James E. Caldwell, together with other prominent Philadelphians, purchased ground adjacent to Fairmount Park. The group commissioned Theophilus P. Chandler, renowned architect to design and construct what was then known as Hayes Mechanics Home for Men.
In 1886, Hayes Mechanics Home for Men opened its doors as the first retirement residence for “mechanics.” Founded specifically for aged American mechanics, some of the trades considered for qualification were blacksmith, ship carpenter, harness maker, weaver, carriage builder, silversmith, jeweler, mason and dentist. Later, Hayes Manor was opened to men of all nationalities, color, creed, walks of life, and in 1978 the facility began serving women as well.
Today, we celebrate 125 years of dedicated service to older people of limited resources.