Overlook House has actively provided Christian Science nursing care in Northern Ohio as a non-profit organization for 75 years. Today through Upward Wing it continues to share the healing mission of the Christian Science Church.
Overlook House traces its beginnings to an informal meeting of eleven Christian Scientists on April 25, 1947 addressing the need for a “Christian Science nursing home in greater Cleveland.” The Northern Ohio Sanatorium, a non-profit corporation, formed seven months later on November 29, 1947. Later re-named The Northern Ohio Trustees, Inc., it finally became Overlook House, Inc.
In 1948, with a generous gift from two Christian Scientists, Overlook House purchased the former home of General Benedict Crowell (and former residence of Myron T. Herrick, United States ambassador to France when Charles Lindbergh flew the Atlantic) together with adjoining property at 2187 Overlook Road in Cleveland. After extensive remodeling, installation of appropriate furnishings, and hiring the proper staff its open house took place on Sunday, May 8, 1950. Subsequently Overlook House began admitting patients. It was the fifth Christian Science nursing facility to open in the United States. The following lines from the original Overlook House brochure described its mission.
"The purpose of Overlook House is to provide a haven where those needing temporary nursing care while under Christian Science treatment may find rest, spiritual refreshment, and healing.
In formulating this project, the Trustees have endeavored to be guided by the spirit of Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan, who ministered in a practical and loving manner to the needs of his 'neighbor.'"
By 1966 the Crowell house could no longer adequately meet the demands of the Field for either nursing care or increasingly stringent governmental requirements. So on February 23, 1968, the Board elected to break ground on a new structure. Upon completion of the north wing of the new building, the Crowell house was razed, and patients were moved to the new wing so that nursing care could continue without interruption. The new building, providing 33 nursing beds in 17 single and 8 double rooms, completed in September, 1969, without debt at a cost of nearly $750,000.
On April 28, 1974 the Board announced at its Annual Meeting completion of the new nurses’ residence, Overlook Arms. It included twelve furnished one-bedroom apartments for nurses, as well as six double rooms with efficiency kitchens for Rest & Study guests. In June 1980, construction added six furnished apartments for nurses (four one-bedroom and two efficiencies) to the second floor of the Rest & Study wing. On August 1, 1981, the main building added a 300 square foot solarium.
December 31, 2008, Overlook House ceased operating as an in-patient Christian Science nursing facility. At the time of its closing Overlook House was operating at a $50,000 monthly deficit. By closing instead of depleting funds or borrowing to finance continuing operations it avoided debt accumulation. In June 2009 Overlook House sold both buildings at market valuations, thus preserving its legacy and more than $2.5 million in assets.
From as early as July 2008 the Overlook House Board of Trustees studied different options for a new operating format, including dissolving the organization and redistributing its assets, two attempts at purchasing new or smaller replacement facilities, and initiating a new visiting nursing service.
In February 2011 Overlook House, Inc. launched a subsidiary company, Upward Wing, LLC, a visiting Christian Science nursing service.
Comprising one organization, Overlook House and Upward Wing share a common vision to uphold the provision for the Christian Science Nurse found in the Manual of The Mother Church (Article VIII, Section 31). Upward Wing Christian Science nurses provide training for Christian Science Church members, Care Committees, and individuals who want to learn more about this Manual bylaw.
As an organization "without walls," Overlook House and Upward Wing have developed a secured online software suite for paperless communications, record keeping, and Christian Science nursing forms automation. The Overlook House Board shared in its 2014 Annual Report that more than 82 cents of every dollar the organization currently spends goes directly to patient care.
Overlook House formed in 1948 to support Manual-based Christian Science nursing care and continues to do so today. It complies with all applicable local, state, and Federal requirements. It provides proper stewardship of its funds guided by investment and accounting policies contained in the organization’s bylaws.
Until 1996, the Overlook House in-patient facility was accredited by The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. After that time it was accredited by The Commission for Accreditation of Christian Science Nursing Organizations/Facilities, Inc. (www.csncommission.org). In January 2015 Upward Wing received its first certificate of accreditation from The Commission for its Visiting Christian Science Nursing service.