Our beginnings are closely linked with the development of the Lakewood community. In 1951, the small West Alameda Community Baptist Church purchased the land and buildings at 5701 W. Alameda Avenue in Lakewood, Colorado. An old turkey barn, located on the property, served as a temporary sanctuary until 1958 when ground was broken for a new church building.
True to their plans for community outreach, church members offered various church buildings to host the first Jefferson County Library, a day-care center for community children, a community wellness clinic, and a drop-in center for high school students.
In 1968, church members responded to a community-wide survey that revealed a need for housing for low-income seniors in Jefferson County. They took up this challenge and formed Jeffco American Baptist Residences.
Along the way to meeting this need, church members encountered roadblocks and nearly gave up in their quest. However, Rev. Dean Painter, Jr. became pastor of the Church in 1971 and gave new life to Jeffco American Baptist Residences and the mission of building senior housing.
A heated zoning battle and a Colorado Supreme Court decision paved the way for this project. The Church sold its land and buildings in a complex real estate transaction and initial funding was provided by a six-year grant from the State of Colorado. In 1979, church members finally broke ground for the present community – The Residences at Eaton Senior Communities (formerly Eaton Terrace Residences).
A few years after The Residences opened in 1980, Jeffco American Baptist Residences was awarded a contract to become one of the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority’s five “Pilot Projects” for Assisted Living – before “assisted living” was part of our vocabulary! Assisted Living at Eaton Senior Communities (formerly Eaton Terrace II) opened in 1988. In 2018, this community is being transformed into housing for low- to middle-income seniors with a large array of on-site supportive services.
Rev. Painter served as the President and CEO of Eaton Senior Communities until his retirement in 2007. David Smart was hired as President and CEO that same year. Rev. Jim Elland joined Eaton Senior Communities in 1982 as Pastor of West Alameda Community Baptist Church while also serving as a resident advocate. His calm and reassuring presence was appreciated by residents and staff until his retirement in 2012. Today, the chapel (Centrum) at Eaton sits at the heart of our community, offering multi-denominational services and pastoral care. You can visit their website here.
In 1994, Eaton Senior Communities Foundation (formerly Wellspring Senior Foundation) was established as the fund-raising arm of Eaton Senior Communities. The Foundation’s mission is to obtain the resources for Eaton Senior Communities to provide seniors with a variety of affordable living choices and to support programs and activities that enrich their lives. We pay tribute to the tenacious leadership of West Alameda Community Baptist Church who made today’s Eaton Senior Communities possible.