The story of the Becketwood site begins with the decision to move The Sheltering Arms Orphanage from downtown Minneapolis. After receiving a bequest of land from a wealthy local businessman, a new orphanage was built on what now is the Becketwood site.
The original building operated as an orphanage until 1942, when it became a treatment center for children recovering from polio. In the 1950s, the building was converted to a day school for children with developmental disabilities. In 1982, the Sheltering Arms board decided to close the school, sell the property and use the revenue to support programs for children and families.
The board of the Episcopal Church Homes wanted to provide housing for people 55 and above who desired an independent living environment. The Sheltering Arms site was selected, and a new form of housing was chosen – a cooperative for people starting at age 55.
The Becketwood Chapel
Construction began in 1983. The first Members moved into Becketwood in the spring of 1986. In 1992, Becketwood became an independent Member-owned cooperative corporation. All that remains of the original site are the Sheltering Arms gate posts on West River Parkway and the historic stone chapel.
The historic chapel, preserved to the present day, was built in 1922. It is currently used for ecumenical services, celebrations and special events.
The chapel undercroft – a walkout lower level, is the location of Kensington Square, which was added when Becketwood was built. It is a large and inviting party room, complete with fireplace, big screen TV and fully equipped kitchen. Just outside is a spacious patio with gas grill, tables and chairs. It’s a popular spot for Members to host family reunions, picnics and parties of all kinds.