Yes, always -- and everywhere across the North Country.
A lot has changed since United Helpers was founded in 1898. We’ve expanded our reach, from elder care to rehabilitation to behavioral health. Life has its tough times. And for many, United Helpers will be a place to turn to more than once along life’s way. So we’ve built an organization to meet your needs today and tomorrow. By connecting people to the right services and supports, they can be as engaged as possible with living. Some call it a “continuum of care.” We simply call it Always Caring.
Alzina Milligan in Potsdam, NY receiving the first child to be admitted to the United Helpers Home
United Helpers Home at 1100 State Street, Ogdensburg circa 1907
Women of the United Helpers Home, 1936
Rooted in Compassion - Caring for neighbors in need
The vision that sparked the birth of the Society of the United Helpers began in the hearts of the people of St. Lawrence County. In 1898 and the two decades preceding, a desperate need to house indigent children was identified.
Answering the call for action were ten women who pledged $100 each to fun and establish a Home for the Homeless. This home was to provide care for orphaned children and destitute women. Ultimately setting the standard of care that later defined the Society of the United Helpers.
Soon after, twelve church women joined together to apply for a charter. They developed a constitution and bylaws, and the Society of the United Helpers was officially formed in April 1898.
On May 4, less than one month later, the first child was placed in the Society’s Home located at 22 Congress Street in Ogdensburg. Alzina Milligan, the Society’s first matron, pictured left, rode to Potsdam, NY to pick up a boy who was in need of care. Mrs. Milligan often traveled the countryside in her horse and buggy seeking donations for the home.
The Home experienced unimaginable growth and it wasn’t long before the little house on Congress Street was filled to capacity. The Society of the United Helpers incorporated in 1899 and in 1900, purchased 2.5 acres of land at 1220 State Street in Ogdensburg (where the Edgar E. Newell Dome stands today).
On January 1, 1901, the new United Helpers Home (pictured left) is opened. The final cost of the project was just over $12,000.
Growth continues and in November of 1904, a new Babies Ward is opened. In July of 1910, the Society responds to a new community need, and the first elderly woman is officially admitted into the residence.
In 1925, once again outgrowing its accommodations, the Society raises $76,000 to add a three-story expansion to Home, adding 25 new rooms for the children and the elderly.
From 1929- 1935 the effects of the Depression resulted in a large influx of admissions, both children and elderly women.
1940-1945 – Women and children of the Home help the war effort by planting large victory gardens, sewing bandages for the army, and sending notes of good cheer to the soldiers
In 1955, the first elderly men are admitted to the Home.
By the end of the 1950s, the human services field is rapidly changing. The State Department of Social Welfare decides that children should be placed in foster homes, ending an era for the Society of caring for the area’s children. The last child leaves the Home on July 3, 1959.
In 1959, the first men are elected to the Society of the United Helpers Board of Directors for the very first time.
In 1960, there are new challenges to be met! An emerging need for skilled care for the elderly dictates a new direction. Plans to build a nursing wing for the sick and the expansion of the nursing staff commences.
In April of 1968, a fire at the Home renders renovation plans for the existing home an impractical venture. Land is purchased and drawings for a new building are drawn.
On July 16, 1970, ground is broken at 8101 State Highway 68 for a new 120-bed home for the elderly.
In 1978, the Society begins construction on a dormitory to accommodate 40 elderly residents. That building became known as the United Helpers Adult Residence.
In 1979, United Helpers takes receivership of Cedars Nursing Home in Ogdensburg and Moongate Nursing Home in Canton. as a result, United Helpers becomes one of the largest healthcare providers in St. Lawrence County, providing care and residential services for more than 400 people each day.
The 1980s continue a time of tremendous growth for United Helpers. Centralized management services are moved to United Helpers Management Company, located at Ford Street in Ogdensburg. Property management services for senior/disabled housing complexes are introduced.
In 1982, United Helpers Care, Inc is formed to provide residential care and support for people with developmental disabilities. United Helpers opens its first Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) in Ogdensburg, followed by five others located in Rensselaer Falls, Lisbon, Heuvelton (2), and Morristown. Today, United Helpers Care, Inc is better known as United Helpers Behavioral Health and Life Skills.
In 1991, United Helpers introduces mental health services, opening Gateway Apartment Treatment and developing the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team to provide services to all of St. Lawrence County.
In 1994, United Helpers opens its first Individualized Residental Alternative IRA) in Ogdensburg. Three more IRAs will be purchased by 1998, resulting in three in Ogdensburg and one in Rensselaer Falls.
In 1998, United Helpers opens Partridge Knoll, St. Lawrence County’s first independent retirement community. Today, Partridge Knoll is better known as United Helpers Independent Senior Living.
In 2004, United Helpers introduces Home Health Services.
In 2006, the Society embarks on its largest fundraising campaign in more than 30 years and later breaks ground on a $26 million project to combine the United Helpers and Cedars Nursing Homes.
In 2008, the construction and merger of United Helpers/Cedars Nursing Home is complete. This complex is renamed RiverLedge Health Care & Rehabilitation Center. Ground is broken next on Maplewood Campus, a project including skilled care, rehabilitation, and the County’s first and only Assisted Living Program.
By 2010, United Helpers would offer outpatient physical therapy in two new therapy suites located at the Canton and Ogdensburg campuses.
In 2011, United Helpers assumes management of Millyard Estates (Parishville, NY), Kilkarney Courts (Fowler, NY), St. Peter’s Square (Ogdensburg, NY), Edwards Senior Court (Edwards, NY) and Cambray Court (Gouverneur, NY). This more than doubles the number of apartments managed by United Helpers. Also in 2011, Stepping Stones, children’s therapy services is introduced.
In 2012, United Helpers announced the formation of Sparx, Inc. to offer business services. In the fall, UH also announces a partnership with Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center and Canton-Potsdam Hospital to provide home care services. thus, Northern Lights Home Health Care is launched.
In 2015, United Helpers acquires LEAP, Inc, adding three residential facilities and an additional day habilitation program in Potsdam for people with developmental disabilities. During this time, all of the United Helpers ICFs are converted to IRAs, bringing the total number of Individualized Residential Alternatives to 13.
In 2016, United Helpers opened a Behavioral Health Clinic in Ogdensburg, offering individual, group and/or family therapy.
In 2019, United Helpers launches a rebranding effort, reorganizing the company into recognizable service lines.
United Helpers Rehabilitation & Senior Care (Ogdensburg) – formerly RiverLedge
United Helpers Rehabilitation & Senior Care (Canton) – formerly Maplewood
United Behavioral Health & Life Skills – formerly Mosaic
United Helpers Independent Senior Living – formerly Partridge Knoll
Today, United Helpers continues to serve the community and help those in need by providing post-acute health and human services in the North Country, helping more than a thousand people each day.
Our strong and vibrant history is a testament to holding true to our roots and fully and ever embracing our mission.