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Hingham community celebrates ten years

Yearlong celebration highlights growth, camaraderie

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December 16th, 2014
Linden Ponds kicked off its tenth anniversary celebrations with a ribbon cutting and champagne toast. (From left): Executive Director James Wingardner, pioneer residents Alice Bush and Joe Campanelli, staff members Meredith Scott and Olga Volfson, Hingham
Linden Ponds kicked off its tenth anniversary cele

This year has been a particularly special one for Linden Ponds, as 2014 marks the tenth anniversary since the Erickson Living community in Hingham, Mass., first opened its doors in October 2004. To mark the occasion, residents and staff enjoyed celebrations all year long to commemorate how much they’ve grown together over the last decade.

Then and now

My, how the community has grown! Back in 2004, an initial group of about 150 residents, affectionately referred to as “pioneers” were the first people to move to Linden Ponds. The tight-knit group certainly found ways to keep themselves entertained, but there were only 30 resident clubs at that time. 

Today, 1,120 people call Linden Ponds home, and they enjoy a bustling social calendar filled largely with activities organized by the 179 resident-run clubs and committees. 

As the number of retirees living at Ponds has increased, the staff that serves them has grown as well. In 2004, there was a staff of 184. Fast-forward to 2014, and there is a small army of 794 dedicated professionals who keep Linden Ponds running like a well-oiled machine. 

Physically, Linden Ponds is a different place as compared to 2004. At opening, there were just two residence buildings with 195 apartment homes, a single clubhouse, and two restaurants. Today, the bustling community might be compared to a small village. There are a total of eight residence buildings, almost 1,000 apartment homes, two well-appointed clubhouses, and four on-site restaurants.

Pioneer residents reflect on the last decade

Warren Noble and his wife Dorothy were among the first residents to move to Linden Ponds. Warren and Dorothy had lived for many years near Hingham, where they operated a camera shop for 40 years. When they retired, they considered moving full-time to Florida but ultimately decided they didn’t want to be that far away from their six children, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, who all reside in New England. 

When Dorothy and Warren discovered Linden Ponds, the couple decided it would be the perfect solution for their retirement living needs. It provides them with a comfortable and lively home base, and when they leave to spend the winters in Florida, they know their home is secure while they are away.

“When we were still living at our house, I was on the board of a local bank and would come back every two weeks to a cold house, hoping the pipes hadn’t frozen and eating TV dinners,” Warren recalls of their winters in Florida. “After we moved to Linden Ponds, it was so nice because the staff would meet me at airport, and I’d go back to Linden Ponds for a nice warm meal and sleep in a warm apartment.” 

Warren says the early days living at Linden Ponds were an adventure. Since there was such a small group of residents, they quickly became close friends. 

“Very early on, one of the pioneers, Lo Steele, who was a professor, immediately organized choral groups, plays, and other activities,” Warren says. “We had a great deal of fun.”

As the population grew at Linden Ponds, Warren and Dorothy had the opportunity to form many more friendships. Warren says many of their new neighbors over the years have been familiar faces because they were former customers at the couple’s camera shop. 

“There are so many talented people here, and it is a pleasure getting to know them,” Warren says. “It’s been a great ten years, and we’ve enjoyed it thoroughly.”

Perry Collins and his late wife moved from Cohasset, Mass., to Linden Ponds in October 2004, just two weeks after the community opened its doors. At that time, there were only 50 residents residing at the new retirement community. 

Perry says he was still working when he moved to the community, so he was very busy at first. However, since he retired, he has taken advantage of all of the social activities Linden Ponds has to offer.  Perry runs the men’s golf group and is involved in the on-site woodshop. He is a member of the finance and dining committees, and recently started playing duplicate bridge. 

The best part about living at Linden Ponds, Perry says, is the friendships he has formed. He says he especially appreciated the support of his neighbors when he lost his wife.

“When my wife passed away, I came home to 500 friends—I didn’t come home to an empty house,” Perry says. 

Looking back, Perry says that his decision to move to Linden Ponds was definitely a good one. He remains friends with many people from those early days as a pioneer, and as new people move to the community, he continues to build new friendships. 

“Things are moving along now at a good pace because houses are selling,” Perry says. “It’s adding to the flavor of the community with all of the new people coming in.”

A year of celebrations

To mark this exciting milestone in Linden Ponds’ history, the residents and staff didn’t limit themselves to just one party; they celebrated with different events all year long. The pioneer residents sat for a photo shoot to commemorate their decade together. Then the entire community kicked off the tenth anniversary year with a ribbon cutting and champagne toast. Attendees at that event watched a video of the groundbreaking and highlights from the construction of the first residence building.

Later in the year, residents tried their luck in a $10,000 “Pot of Gold” raffle, and had a chance to have their antiques appraised at a unique auction event and performance. 

Summer brought an afternoon tea party, a garden promenade in the resident gardens with a live performance by the Linden Ponds Repertory Singers and Instrumentalists, a visit from an ice cream truck that served up more than 700 varieties of novelty ice cream treats, and an outdoor summer luau luncheon and performance. 

In September, following Linden Ponds’ Walk for Alzheimer’s, the campus was lit with 1,200 votive candles in honor of loved ones for a beautiful “Night of the Luminaries.” Anniversary celebrations culminated in October with the “Some Enchanted Evening” gala.