The Blackburn Home was established by Sylvester Fitch Blackburn, a farmer from Coitsville, whose family had strong ties to the Poland Community. While in his seventies, he found himself struggling to care for his aging mother. Mr. Blackburn began to plan a special place where she and other seniors could live in comfort and security in their twilight years. Elizabeth Blackburn died in 1911. Because no other family members had shared responsibility for her care, Sylvester drew up a will and hired Atty. Charles Koonce to become executor. When Blackburn passed away only two years later at the age of 75, the will was contested for 19 years by 7 of his nieces and nephews. It was not until 1933 that it was upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court. The relatives were appeased with small settlements (part of the farmland) given by the established Blackburn Home for Aged People Association.
The Coitsville homestead was to be the site of the new home, but by the 1930’s, it was determined to be unsuitable. With nearly $9,000 from the estate, $38,000 from the sale of the remaining 40 acres to the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co., and a generous amount given by Henry H. Stambaugh, the Association purchased a beautiful tract of land at the corner of Water and Botsford Streets in the Village of Poland.
The cornerstone was laid on May 11, 1934. It contained the day’s copies of two local newspapers, a 1934 postage stamp, and copies of the history of the home. The members of the Board of Trustees attending the ceremony were Weltha A. Murray, Dorothy P. Powers, W.L Countryman, Dennick M. Wick, and Charles Koonce, Jr., who had carried out Blackburn’s wishes. The Home opened November 15, 1934.
The first residents bequeathed their estates to the Home and were able to stay for the remainder of their years. A six-month probation was required to insure a harmonious atmosphere. There was a nursing and kitchen staff, a live-in matron who managed the day to day operations, and a maintenance man who had quarters in the attic of the building. A Board of Trustees oversaw the Home’s progress. As a result of wise investments, the cost to live at the not-for-profit home is among the lowest of all senior living facilities. Currently, 15 comfortable rooms and suites are offered, each with a private bath. Some of the antique furnishings and artwork can still be seen, complemented by graceful surroundings, modern conveniences, and a caring staff that work to provide the atmosphere desired by the founder.