Wayne State University

Aim Higher

The Thompson Home

The Thompson Home, or "The Thompson Home for Old Ladies" as it was originally known, was built as a result of a $10,000 donation made by Mrs. David Thompson in 1874 to provide a home for aged women. In December 1882, Mrs. Thompson made a second donation, purchasing a lot for the home on the southeast corner of Cass and Hancock Avenues. In 1884, the "the erection of an elegant and substantial structure, sixty by ninety feet, containing forty rooms" was completed. The building has a tower eighty feet high. It was formally opened October 22, 1884. Designed by George Mason, one of the best-known architects of the period, the home is listed as an official Historic Detroit Landmark. Sunrooms were added in 1914 and additional quarters for the staff were built in the 1950s. A major addition in 1964 was the modern five-bed infirmary building adjoining the home on the south, the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Benson Ford.

The declining number of residents caused the home to be closed in August 1977. Wayne State University acquired the Thompson Home in December 1978 for the Wayne State University Faculty Club. Continuing the home's tradition of serving those in need, the School of Social Work moved to the Thompson Home in the spring of 1990.

Of all of the advantages that the Thompson Home offers, perhaps the greatest is its homelike, non-institutional atmosphere. As a past President of the Board of Trustees wrote in her annual report: "Let us try to make this home a place where love, beauty, and joy will abide always, and where our ladies may live comfortably, with pride and with dignity."