Fifty years ago, on January 15, 1966, Plymouth Harbor opened its doors to the first residents of our community. While much has changed since then, the original dream and vision of our founder, The Reverend Dr. John Whitney MacNeil, has remained constant.
The concept of Plymouth Harbor was certainly ahead of its time. To conceive a community for older adults that would allow them to live and age gracefully together in an enriched homelike environment offering a full continuum of amenities and services, including healthcare, is admirable. From raising the funds necessary to make this community a reality, to bypassing height restrictions to build our 25-story tower, Plymouth Harbor is truly a living and breathing miracle today.
The Reverend Dr. MacNeil was a force to be reckoned with. After moving to Sarasota, not only did he contribute to a substantial increase in membership for the First Congregational United Church of Christ, but he spearheaded the efforts to establish “a college of quality” in the region, known today as New College of Florida. Next on The Reverend Dr. MacNeil’s list was to establish a retirement community where older adults could age with both grace and dignity, among friends. On March 14, 1961, records of the church contain a motion passed by the “Retired Community Planning Committee,” which consisted of five church members and The Reverend Dr. MacNeil. It was here that the Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Board of Trustees was established. Plymouth Harbor, even though it was not yet named, was born, and The Reverend Dr. MacNeil had been in town less than four years.
Once designed, an official groundbreaking ceremony for Plymouth Harbor took place on July 4, 1964. The tower was built in 16 months — an extraordinary pace. Essentially, one floor was completed per week, and upon completion, the tower had a total of 343 apartments. Since then, as a community, we have endured hardships, overcome obstacles, and surpassed expectations of what traditional retirement living looks like. Overall, the first 50 years in the history of Plymouth Harbor have revealed a commitment to innovation, perseverance, and excellence that serves as the model for many decades to come.
The future is bright for Plymouth Harbor, with an increasing emphasis on the many aspects of successful aging. In the coming years, we hope to continue to be the preferred community for multi-generations of older adults who desire an active lifestyle that challenges their physical, mental, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being.
As the phrase coined for our 50th Anniversary states, Plymouth Harbor celebrates our past and envisions our future. We recognize that without the efforts of The Reverend Dr. John Whitney MacNeil and his group of visionaries, Plymouth Harbor would not be here today.
We pay tribute to that notion and are grateful to the countless staff, residents, donors, and members of the community who contributed to our success. In their honor, Plymouth Harbor continues to seek ways to innovate, improve, and stay relevant for both our current and future residents — who we hope will enjoy Plymouth Harbor for more than 50 years to come.
Thank you for choosing to be a part of Plymouth Harbor. We are thrilled that you’re here to ce
lebrate a spectacular 50 years with us. We hope you will join us on May 23, 2016 for our second annual MacNeil Day, this year celebrating our 50th Anniversary.