As Rolling Ridge celebrates 75 years of ministry in 2023, we begin a new monthly series on the second Tuesday of the month to share our history. On this Valentine’s Day, we remember a love story of Frank and Theresa Beveridge.
Although we know little about their marriage, there is no doubt that Frank Stanley Beveridge (1879-1956) loved his wife, Theresa (1875-1968). They met in New York in the early 1900s, married, had two daughters, and settled in Connecticut before moving to Westfield, Massachusetts, where they raised their family as people of faith. Their eldest daughter recalls, “At the Methodist Church my father was the superintendent of the Sunday school and my mother sang in the choir. We went to church all day. We went to the church suppers and the Thursday evening prayer meetings. This was a part of our life. It was wonderful.”
As an immigrant from Nova Scotia with just $1.35 Canadian in his pocket, Frank worked hard to provide for his family. He joined the Fuller Brush Company in 1913, at age 34, and quickly moved up the ranks from door-to-door salesman to vice-president in charge of sales by 1919. In 1931, this successful business man decided to launch his own direct sales company. Stanley Home Products would soon be recognized as the pioneer of home parties through its "Famous Stanley Hostess Plan," a marketing innovation in the direct-sales industry that produced remarkable results for the company and prompted other direct-sales marketers to follow suit. He named the firm “Stanley” because although he wanted to use a family name, he feared his last name would be misspelled. Thus, Frank Stanley Beveridge would be professionally known as F. Stanley Beveridge. And by 1950, his company's sales had hit a record $70 million.
Beveridge chose Westfield as a place to begin his company and settle his family because he “liked the flower boxes on the bridges entering town.” According to his grandson, “His dream was to be a horticulturist,” with Philip Caswell remembering how his grandfather would often take him for walks in the woods. By 1949, Beveridge purchased 20 acres of land in Westfield and established Stanley Park which today covers over 300 acres in Westfield.
Stanley Park Today
When the property of Rolling Ridge was purchased in 1948, Mrs. Charles C. McPhearson was very supportive of the new Methodist ministry being established in North Andover. Though located on the other side of the state, by 1950, she had become a member of the Rolling Ridge Commission, which oversaw the work, and she eventually became an officer in 1955. Being from Southampton, a neighboring town of Westfield, she probably heard of the newly established Stanley Park, and may have even known Mrs. Beveridge through Methodist Women’s events. While we do not know all the details, we do know that in January 1954, Mrs. McPhearson had secured a $25,000 gift from F. Stanley Beveridge for Rolling Ridge.
This donation represented the largest single gift ever made to Rolling Ridge, and today would be equal to $275,834. Frank gave the gift to the Ridge in honor of his wife, Theresa Burdick Beveridge, with the money used to enlarge the dining room and to construct a recreation room under it. This new and enlarged section would be known as Beveridge Hall.
While history records this gift coming from F. Stanley’s concern for youth, we would like to think that it came out of Frank’s love for Theresa. Frank may have Stanley Park in his honor, but Theresa has a dining room at a beautiful retreat center to honor her. Not a bad gift for your beloved, eh?
What would you do for love?
Although the Rolling Ridge dining room today features art by local artists and is referred to as the Lakeside Gallery Dining Room, Theresa’s portrait hangs at the entrance to remember the love F. Stanley had for his wife. Through the years, her portrait was the center of youth activities and today, she is often mistaken as the original “lady of the house.”
Before Frank died in 1956, just two years after his gift to the Ridge, he established the Theresa Beveridge Foundation to continue to honor his wife’s passions. For decades, Rolling Ridge received dividend checks from the investments. In 2022, the account was dissolved and Rolling Ridge as one of the named beneficiaries received 17% of the balance. The money was put into a non-operating unrestricted account for a rainy day.
That rainy day for the Ridge occurred last month when numerous boiler pipes for the heating system decided to burst all at the same time creating a literal downpour of hot water spraying forth from joints and rusted spots on the 100-year-old system. While temporary repairs have the system again functioning, there are portions of heating pipe that are literally being held together with tape and prayer. With pipes in walls also beginning to leak, the time has come for a new heating system.
The love of Frank and Theresa Beveridge blessed Rolling Ridge in 1954, and is blessing us again in 2023 as the money from the Theresa Beveridge foundation will be used as seed money for the installation of a new heating system throughout the Main House, with individual temperature control in each room. The days of clanging pipes and uneven heat will soon be history.
However, we need your support to fully finance the project. In 1954, the $25,000 gift from Frank for Theresa for the new dining room was used to inspire people to give to a kitchen upgrade. In 2023, we are hoping that this love story of the Beveridges might inspire you to give to our heating upgrade, because you love the Ridge.
What would you do for love?
Please consider making a generous donation to help us finance our heating upgrade and give a gift of love this Valentine’s Day. May the love of Frank for Theresa inspire your love for the Ridge. And may the fire of love from our Rolling Ridge community burn bright and warm hearts (and bodies and our building) for many more years to come.
Thank you for giving a LOVE gift to the Ridge this Valentine!
Rolling Ridge Retreat & Conference Center
660 Great Pond Road, North Andover, MA 01845
As the Executive Director of Rolling Ridge, Lawrence works in partnership with the staff to ensure that the guest experience at the Ridge is top quality. He also partners with retreat leaders to provide excellent programming at the Ridge, and is ...