For a century and a half, the name St. Johnland has been synonymous with helping people from all walks of life. Established in 1866, the Society of St. Johnland is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2016.
In 1866, the Society served as a home for veterans and orphans from New York City, but eventually developed into a self-sustaining industrial village.
Today, the St. Johnland Nursing Center is located on the North Shore near Smithtown Bay in Kings Park and serves as a long-term skilled nursing facility caring for about 300 people every day.
Over the course of 150 years, the role of the facility has changed, but their mission remains the same, according to a press release about the anniversary: “To create a caring and supportive environment committed to the highest standards of quality health care … to uphold the principles of human dignity and worth … affirm the right of every individual to maintain the optimum quality of life.”
St. Johnland Director of Development Cathie Wardell, who has been at the nursing center for 13 years, reflected on the impact St. Johnland has had on the community and people in need.
“The level of care for the people whose care is entrusted to us is very high and it’s amazing to see everyday,” Wardell said in a phone interview.
The nursing center shifted its focus from children to the elderly in the 1950s. Today, their primary focuses are providing care for people with Alzheimer’s, dementia and traumatic brain injuries.
“The fact that this institution has survived and persisted for 150 years focusing on different demographics, the fact that we are 98 to 99-percent full all the time, that we have evolved over the years to make the changing needs of the community with our specialty units and adult day care programs is significant and noteworthy,” Wardell added.
In honor of the anniversary, the society will hold four events during 2016. For all of June, historical photographs of St. Johnland will be on display at the Kings Park Library.
On June 18, people who grew up at the facility around 70 years ago will gather for a reunion.
On Oct. 27, a dinner will be held at Watermill in Kings Park to honor the Fire Department and EMT Squad, and on Nov. 18, town historian Brad Harris will deliver a lecture on the history of the Society.
For more information about the anniversary or any of the events, call 631-663-2457 or visit www.stjohnland.org.