Happy Birthday Franke!

Mrs. Franke Tobey Jones

Due to the current restrictions, we’ve had to cancel our 97th Annual Spring Tea, an event in May where we celebrate Mrs. Franke Tobey Jones birthday.  However, we didn’t want to pass up this opportunity to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our founder and to thank her, once again, for her vision and inspiration for seniors.

Every day we marvel at Mrs. Jones’ vision.  From her beginnings in Jay, New York through recession, war and prosperity, the story of Ms. Franke Tobey Jones is a remarkable one.  She had a giving heart and cared deeply for people.  She had a strong passion for the elderly, and because of her prosperity, she wanted to share her wealth for the betterment of seniors.  Mrs. Franke Tobey Jones was described by a friend as, “The biggest heart ever found in such a small body.” 

The Franke Tobey Jones Home opened in February 1925, with accommodations for 65 residents, each with one room and a bathroom shared with a neighbor.  At the time of opening, it was only the second home for the elderly in the state, and soon was recognized as one of the most outstanding facilities in the nation. 

Ms. Franke Tobey Jones’ legacy lives on at Franke Tobey Jones senior living community, as we continue to embrace her philosophy of giving back to seniors and our greater community through our mission:  “To enrich and extend the quality of life for seniors in our community. As a not-for-profit organization, we provide  senior residential services, a supportive continuum of care and innovative community outreach.” 

We are very proud of the fact that the City of Tacoma declared May 21st Franke Tobey Jones Day!


The Franke Tobey Jones House at 423 North D Street in Tacoma, is now on the National Register of Historic Places.  In 1891, the home was designed by the architectural firm Pickles & Sutton for the original owner, Frederick Watson.  In 1907, Charles Hebard Jones, and his wife, Franke Tobey Jones, purchased the property.  They hired the architectural firm Russell and Babcock for the renovations which included the detached garage.  The house is an early example of the Colonial Revival style in the neighborhood and is associated with the philanthropic life of Franke Tobey Jones, a prominent Tacoma citizen.  Due to these associations and its retention of integrity, the property was eligible for listing in the Tacoma Register of Historic Places.

Charles was a founder of the St. Paul & Tacoma Lumber Company, which owned 80,000 acres, and the Northwestern Lumber Company.  Also an owner of both lumber companies, Franke’s most notable legacy was the establishment of the Franke Tobey Jones home for the elderly.  While Franke and others in her social and financial circle had the means to be well cared for in their old age, others were not so fortunate.  Senility could lead to incarceration and a lack of means and a support system could result in neglect and/or a lonely death. 

Franke and members of the P.E.O. C Chapter, including Virginia W. Mason, formed a company and called it “The Old People’s Home of Tacoma.”  They leased the Danaher house at 424 North D Street – across the street from Franke’s home – and worked to establish it as “Restholme.”  Restholme opened in 1923 as a nursing home for

Franke announced in July 1923 that she wanted to donate a building site near Point Defiance Park, along with $150,000, to develop a permanent retirement home for the elderly.  The cornerstone for the new building was laid on July 16, 1924 on a five acre site near Point Defiance.  The home opened on March 4, 1965, with accommodations for 65 residents.  The home was named the Franke Tobey Jones Home in honor of Franke’s generosity.  Franke also donated to an endowment fund for the home’s operation.

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