Our History

Black and white historical photo of three ladies chatting in sitting area

A Legacy of Care

A lot can change over the course of a century. One constant that hasn’t is Highview in the Woodlands unwavering commitment to seniors. A humble beginning that could only boast a matron and maintenance man in 1904, has prospered into a team of more than 70 highly trained, healthcare professionals dedicated to providing premier senior care for those in need. Today, Highview proudly continues this mission and gladly evolves to meet the ever-changing needs of our residents. This is our story.

In 1904, in response to public need, a group of responsible citizens convened to discuss the project of establishing a home for the aged in Winnebago County. The committee elected Marie St. John as the first board president and selected a site at the Crawford homestead at 408 North Horsemen Street for a rental of $25 per month. Later in 1905, the Association purchased the home for $6,500. This home was named Winnebago County Home for the Aged, and Maria Hobart was elected as its first matron.

“It proved a veritable shower day. Furniture provisions, clothing, checks and cash were received and the tables were laden with gifts from the generous people of Rockford and vicinity.” *
– Maria Hobart, original matron of Winnebago County Home for the Aged

In 1951, the name of the home was changed to Winnebago Home for the Aged to differentiate it from the county home. In 1954, the Board of Trustees decided that the home on North Horseman Street could no longer fulfill the number of people who needed care. Once again, the generous people of Rockford helped its seniors. Mr. and Mrs. Forrest A. Lyddon donated land on Safford Road in Rockford where a new, larger home was built. In 1972, the name was changed to Highview Retirement Home. In 1979, the Board of Trustees saw the need for a health care center. A former resident, Cousie Fox, donated a large sum of money to help pay for the cost of the building addition. It was completed in 1985 and appropriately named the Cousie Fox Health Center.

In 1993, Highview Retirement Home added a special care program to help residents stricken with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. Staff members received intensive training in the behaviors associated with dementia to care for these residents with special needs.

In 1999, Highview in the Woodlands, an annex facility nestled within Woodlands subdivision just ten minutes north of Rockford, was built to serve an ever growing population of seniors in need of care. The new facility was designed for 26 sheltered care beds and 36 assisted living apartments. In July 2003, the Board of Trustees made the decision to consolidate the two facilities at the newer building just outside of Rockford. Today, this quiet and beautiful, tree-lined setting maintains our long-standing reputation of offering our residents quality care in a traditional environment that feels like home.


*Quoted from a history written by Charles A. Church, 1905