The Oak Park Arms’ conversion from a hotel to a retirement community took place 40 years ago. A ribbon cutting and celebration for four decades of service to seniors will take place at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept 21 at the Oak Park Arms, 408 S. Oak Park Avenue. The reception is free and open to the public.
“We never had a ribbon cutting in 1978, so better late than never,” said Heather Lindstrom, marketing director at the Oak Park Arms.
The hotel was purchased in the mid-1970s by two friends who wanted to create active retirement living in a community that would be full of life, service and spirit.
The partners recognized the value of The Arms and were on the forefront of a trend. The building had always featured full apartments with kitchens and dining rooms. It was a natural step to refocus and serve the people who were permanent residents and build a community around their needs rather than serving visitors.
The partners decided to add services and hire a full-time activity director to bring events and activities to the community. In 1978, a “full lifestyle” was offered which included maid service, three meals a day and a busy schedule of social activities.
The vision and experience of the two men created The Arms of today. For 40 years, the Oak Park Arms has been a leader of senior living and the model in the development of other senior communities.
The original vision continues to this day as the Oak Park Arms is still owned and operated by the same two men who created it. Each remains involved and committed to excellence. Together, they offer strong support to the management and staff, ensuring that The Arms continues as an industry leader with a legacy of eminence and distinction.
The hotel years
In 1920, Oak Park was still a young suburb. The budding community would swell to almost twice its size by the end of the decade. In 1921, city planners gave the go ahead to build an elegant hotel/apartment building in Oak Park at the corner of Washington Blvd. and Oak Pak Ave.
The hotel was named the Oak Park Arms, and it became the epitome of style, grace and sophistication. It quickly became recognized as a key social center in Oak Park. Galas, wedding receptions, card parties, luncheons, and meetings of all kinds were routinely held.
“Perhaps the most famous guest was First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt who, in 1936, stayed at The Arms while in town for speaking engagements at Rosary College and Oak Park River Forest High School,” Lindstrom said.
The ribbon cutting is free and open to the public. For more information call 708-386-4040.