HISTORY OF EGER
The history of Eger is the story of its people. The task of caring for the elderly at Eger was accepted by men and women who, motivated by God’s love, gave of themselves sacrificially to provide compassionate care to those in need.
Eger was founded by and for Norwegian-Americans. A little over a century ago, Carl Michael Eger, born in Norway, educated in Germany and co-founder of Hecla Architectural Iron Works in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, left $60,000 and two houses in Brooklyn to create a home to care for "Norwegian persons of respectability and in reduced circumstances, not under 65 years of age." Carl's sister Cathrine and his long-time pastor, Rev. Charles S. Everson of Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, founded The Carl Michael Eger Norwegian Home for the Aged, Inc., incorporated on October 11, 1916.
The City of New York once possessed a Norwegian population second only to Oslo, the capital of Norway. The ethnic mix of the community has changed, so, too, have the staff, residents and patients who now comprise the Eger family. In 1916, Eger consisted of a house, 12 residents, a matron and a part-time custodian. Today, Eger is a complex of corporations. The diverse resident population is served by a professionally and technically trained staff and many dedicated volunteers.
Eger moved to its current location from Brooklyn in May of 1926. During the annual meeting of the corporation on May 4, 1923, held at the newly constructed Zion Lutheran Church in Staten Island, the Board decided to devote its attention to finding a new location to meet the service demand. The search culminated when the Aldrich Farm Community on Lighthouse Hill in the Egbertville section of Staten Island ceased operations. The Aldrich Farm was a convalescent home for boys between the ages of 12 and 20 years who were sent from NYC hospitals to recuperate from surgery and major illness. The farm and property was purchased in 1925. The site was renovated to accommodate 40 elderly persons in the original "white house" structure. On the Eger farmland for many years was a horse, a cow, pigs, sheep , goats, and chickens. For many years, this farming significantly reduced the home's food costs. In 1953, new Department of Health regulations made farming on the property impractical so the farming discontinued.
During the early 1960s, the Eger Board devoted much time to further expansion of services. The vision that became a reality was conceived by Sverre Ulvestad who served as Eger's Administrator from 1964 to 1982. This vision of the 336 bed Tower began construction on March 1, 1968. The first residents moved in on April 20, 1971. In 1983, after much of the originial buildings began to deteriorate, Eger made plans to begin replacing the white house and the red brick building. in 1991, the new wing opened and was joined to the Tower by the Winter Garden, a glass enclosed walkway.
As Eger continued to grow, the campus was expanded to add the Log Cabin dedicated in 1975 by King Olav of Norway, Founders Park, Eger Way, and the Harbor House Assisted Living in 2004. The 8 bed Addeo Hospice Residence was completed in 2012.
One by one the founders and original builders have left us. We are thankful for their priceless legacy. New workers, lay and professional, have come forward to continue the tradition of dedicated and competent service in the ever-changing community. As originally envisioned, Eger has preserved the quality of loving, home-like person-centered concern for all it has been privileged to serve in the past 103 years.