The Mary Thompson Home for Old Ladies was founded in 1876 by Mrs. David Thompson and a group of 31 philanthropic Detroit area women. Its purpose was to provide a home for ladies 60 or older – a residence for their “golden years.” The building, designed by George Mason and built in 1884, still stands at the corner of Hancock and Cass Avenue. It had 40 rooms and was able to house 31 residents, who were able to furnish their own rooms for their comfort. There was an infirmary, and common sitting rooms on each floor. Annual expenses per resident were about $1500. The Home was also supported by an endowment fund and donations.

MaryThompson History2Activities were arranged, such as travel talks, musical programs, hymn singing, and religious services. Meals were provided and residents could invite guests. Funeral expenses of residents were paid by the Home.

The Board of Trustees and the staff made great efforts to make the Thompson Home a warm and secure place for the ladies who resided there, and worked to provide a homelike, non-institutional environment. A past President wrote, “Let us try to make this home a place where love, beauty, and joy will abide always, and where our ladies may live their lives comfortably, with pride and dignity.”

In the 1970s, the Board decided to close the doors of the Home, and the remaining residents moved to other senior communities in the Detroit area. The building was donated to Wayne State University, and the present-day Mary Thompson Foundation was created in 1979. Today the Foundation’s purpose is to provide aid, assistance and services to the elderly through funding.

MaryThompson History