The Mason Wright Foundation, first known as the Springfield Home for Aged Men, was launched with a generous bequest from Primus Mason, an African-American who was born as a freeman in 1817. Mason accumulated wealth by using his earnings as a teamster and a prospector, to invest wisely in Springfield real estate. Mason died in 1892, leaving the sum of $25,000 to found a “home for aged men.”
Mason’s desire was to have his funds accumulate before a home was opened. So, although our first Annual Report was published in 1898, our first home was not officially opened until 1903. It was proclaimed as one of the “active and permanent institutions of the city,” according to the Springfield Union of November 17th that year.
Over the decades to follow, the values of the Springfield community manifested as men and women gave generously to the Foundation, primarily through bequests and trusts. So great was the concern of some, that even during the Depression years a number of gifts ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 were made to the Foundation. Early gifts made possible the creation of Mason Hall, a rest home that ultimately served 40 men and women.
Subsequent to Mason’s gift, the largest gift to the Foundation was made in 1944 through a bequest from Horace P. Wright, a Caucasian cigar manufacturer. We initially received more than $300,000 as the residual of his estate; then, as the residual beneficiary of seven $25,000 trusts he had established for family members, we received more than $200,000. His initial gift, ultimately amounting to more than $500,000 was made in 1944. Wright made possible our initial expansion to include 28 independent living townhouse apartments in 1974.
In the late 1990s, the old rest home was leveled, and a modern, four story building was built. At that time our campus was named Mason Wright Retirement Community. Here we provide assisted living and assisted memory care in 90 one-bedroom and studio apartments.
By this time, the Foundation’s name had changed to Springfield Home for the Elderly; however, in 2008 the name was changed to Mason Wright Foundation, so that its name would align with the community it founded and continues to support—what we today call Mason Wright Senior Living.
As we have for more than 100 years, we proudly provide the greatest degree of independence and dignity to those who otherwise might find themselves aging at home without the support the need or in a nursing home without the independence they want.