Barton Center exterior entry

Our History

Welcome to Barton Communities. Our story began in the 1960s when De Arv Barton, our visionary founder, recognized an unmet need for affordable and dignified housing for older adults in the Lakewood community.

Barton Communities: A Legacy of Transforming Lives and Futures

Welcome to Barton Communities, where a legacy of compassion and commitment has paved the way for a brighter future. Our story began in the 1960s when De Arv Barton, our visionary founder, recognized an unmet need in the Lakewood community: affordable and dignified housing for older adults.

Determined to make a difference, Mr. Barton spearheaded a nationwide survey, rallying like-minded citizens to join his cause. In 1961, our perseverance paid off as we secured the first-ever loan in Ohio under the Housing and Home Finance Agencies program. Two years later, in 1963, the first “Westerly” apartment building was dedicated, offering 160 suites of reasonably priced, attractive housing. Our commitment didn’t stop there. With expansions in 1969 and 1974, we grew into a complex of 500 suites, setting the bar as one of Ohio’s largest nonprofit projects.

Mr. Barton’s foresight not only built homes but created a vibrant community. In 1964, the Barton Senior Center was established in his honor, pioneering private nonprofit community centers. Today, it boasts one of the most extensive activity programs in the country.

In 1980, we took another monumental step by opening a 65-unit apartment complex, providing meal and housekeeping services for residents who wished to maintain their independence. Our journey of growth and dedication continued over the decades, resulting in six affordable independent living communities and two bustling activity centers under our leadership.

And in 2023, after careful planning and consideration, we embarked on a transformative journey of rebranding under the name Barton Communities – a name that symbolizes our unwavering commitment to innovation, inclusivity, and exceptional service delivery. This pivotal step signifies our ongoing dedication to meeting the diverse needs of older adults and fostering thriving, empowered communities while honoring the spirit of our founder, De Arv Barton.

For over six decades, Barton Communities has been a cornerstone, providing safe, secure, and affordable housing alongside a range of services, activities, and programs that promote independence and enhancing quality of life. But looking ahead, we recognize the imperative for growth and adaptation to fulfill our mission effectively.

The renaming and rebranding to Barton Communities represents an indelible milestone in our journey, our commitment to growth, and our enhanced ability to serve our community. Together, we are forging a path toward a future where older adults thrive, receiving the exceptional housing and services they truly deserve.

We express our deep gratitude to our community for your trust and engagement. Barton Communities is excited about the possibilities ahead and the positive impact we will continue to make in the lives of older adults in throughout Northeast Ohio and beyond.