The History of Archway Station, Inc.
In January of 1979, staff representatives from the Allegany County Mental Health Center and the Thomas B. Finan Center met to discuss Allegany County’s need for a hospital to community transitional program for mental health patients transitioning from psychiatric placements. The meeting evolved into a task force of representatives from the group with a goal of developing a community based psychosocial rehabilitation center. Mr. Grady O’Rear was hired as a consultant by the State Regional Office to aid in the development of the program. The task force decided to follow the guidelines of the internationally known foundation the Fountain House program of New York City. The initial organization commenced operation in the second half of 1979.
The initial start-up came as a result of loaned staff, supplies and vehicles from the Allegany County Mental Health Center and the Thomas B. Finan Center. The first members came to the program in the summer of 1979 from the Allegany County Day Treatment Program and the Thomas B. Finan Center. For the first few months, the group met at the Mental Health Center and did recreational activities at the Finan Center.
In November of 1979, the group moved into the basement of St. John’s Lutheran Church at 406 Arch Street in Cumberland’s South End. The Clubhouse members chose the name Archway Station and the development of the private non-profit was begun. A Board of Directors and Articles of Incorporation were put in place on April 4, 1980, which is deemed the birthdate for Archway Station.
The first fiscal year commenced July 1, 1980 (FY ‘81) and saw a major grant in August from the Western Maryland Consortium. The grant was $41,972 and enabled the agency to hire six staff. The funding from the State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) for the same period was $20,422. At that time, Ms. Denise Van Dermark was hired as the first Executive Director. At the end of FY ’81 funds were depleted and many agency staff had to leave as no new funds were available. On October 28, 1981, Jackie Morrissey came to the agency and became a long-standing employee and fixture in the Archway family.
In FY ’82 there were no funds available from The Western Maryland Consortium, so the agency was solely operating on the DHMH State funds of $21,354. Fortunately, this was later increased through a supplemental grant by $16,126. At that time, Mr. Mike Records was hired as the new Executive Director in an effort to operate a program called Project Home that was hopefully going to bring new funds to the agency. The project plans did not go as hoped and there was question of whether the organization would continue due to severe funding constraints.
On July 1, 1982 (FY ’83) the Board of Directors did some reorganizing and at that time hired Mr. Lou Van Hollen as the new Executive Director. During this year, the organization saw tremendous growth with the Project Home budget now at $132,301 and the DHMH budget at $123,242. At this juncture, the organization purchased the former Wendt Funeral Home on Memorial Avenue for $125,255. The new location was known as the Club until 2008 when the name was changed to the Wellness and Recovery Center.
In July 1, 1983 (FY ’84) the new fiscal year opened with increased funding and Archway Station moved into its newly acquired building by the spring of 1984. The programs continued to grow and expand during this time.
In January of 1989, Archway purchased the property at 408 North Centre Street for $34,000, which became the offices for Archway until the move in 2018. Some staff offices remained at the Wellness Center until the consolidation in 2018.
In April of 1990, Archway celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a celebration that commemorated that the organization had grown into a large employer with 65 staff and a budget of $2 million, a far cry from the days of $50,000 when first formed.
On January 11, 1991 Archway unveiled a plan called “Refocusing the Vision” which was a change to focus more on community living and consumer centered services. In July of 1991, Archway Station reorganized its rehabilitation services in order to implement the supported living philosophy, getting away from the former Archway residential housing and moving toward more independence with Archway still providing supports. There were four Community Support Teams formed with each team serving 30 individuals throughout Allegany County. Up until this time, Archway provided residential programs serving 67 residents in owned and rented properties. The new plan involved working with landlords and housing authorities in the County to provide housing, with Archway providing what is today called Community-Based Support Services. The program now has three teams serving approximately 60 individuals on each team. This was one of Archway’s first major changes and involved careful analytical research on best practices and evidenced based approaches to providing rehabilitation services.
In 1998 Archway opened the Longview Residential Rehabilitation Program on the grounds of the Thomas B. Finan Center campus and left for a brief period in 2018, but will be returning to that location in the spring of 2020. In 2013, Longview celebrated 25 years at the site. Also, the Kids and Teens program, now called Children Adolescents and Young Adults (CAYA) was also started in 1998, recognizing the significant struggles with mental health for our youth. This program builds a partnership between home, school and community. The program was situated on a great site initially on Bedford Road, but the program had several funding issues and was later moved to the Memorial Avenue site. The program operated out of a 3-story house situated on 12 acres of land on Bedford Road but due to state and federal budget cuts to children’s services, the program was later relocated to the Memorial Avenue site.
April 4 Marks Archway’s 20th anniversary. What follows is a letter written by Lou Van Hollen to the staff at that time:
In the late 1970s, Archway was started by staff from the health Department’s mental health clinic. They wanted to establish in Allegany County one of the new “things” that were being set up all across the State -a psychosocial program. By borrowing staff and resources from here and there, a small service was patched together and started in the basement of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Southend.
Among the people working in those earlier days were two dinosaurs that are still walking the earth today! Jackie Morrissey was a State employee on “loan” to Archway. You know the rest of the story -we decided not to give her back! Butch Hendershot was prowling around the basement, too, working hard to help this infant service survive it’s first years.
We use April 4, 1980, as the official anniversary date since that’s the day the incorporation papers signed, but the agency had really been alive for several years before that. The names on the incorporation papers include Ed Mattingly, a local CPA, and Judge Timothy Finan. Senator John Hafer was on the first Board of Directors. Deloris Gingerich was also very much involved in those early years.
A lot of people ask about our name. I’m not 100% sure of exactly how it came to be, but I do know a couple things. Grady O-Rear ran a program in Frederick called Way Station. He was hired as a consultant to help create the Allegany County program. St. John’s is on Arch Street and to enter the church, you had to walk through a huge -you guessed it -archway. I think there may have been a vote among people using the service as to what to call the new agency.
On our 10th anniversary, we planted a tree on the downtown mall, just about in front of the Embassy Theatre. Butch is planning a rededication ceremony as part of our May 6 party on the Mall.
If you think of all of the people who have been helped over the last 20 years, all the lives that have been touched, it’s staggering. The hundreds who have felt the love and care and kindness of you, the best staff anywhere. You can feel proud of your accomplishments. Happy Anniversary!
Following staff attending a conference, there was a leadership retreat to talk of the future of Archway with one of the topics being the need to be accredited by such an agency as CARF (Council for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities). The retreat was held at Rising Phoenix in October of 2013. While it took many years to fully implement, such early discussions led to the work of making services more vibrant and building further community allies and partners, while working toward a more recognized organization within the community. The State of Maryland was looking heavily upon having accredited organizations serving individuals in PRP programs.
In September of 2014, Mr. Van Hollen retired after 32 years of service and tremendous growth, and the Board of Directors named Dr. Joy Reckley-Murphy as the new Executive Director. Joy had spent many years working at Archway in the 1990’s.
In December of 2015, Archway purchased the facility at 45 Queen Street in the South end of Cumberland for $279,900, which is ironic in that the humble beginnings of Archway were in the South end. Dr. Reckley-Murphy spearheaded the move to the new location in July of 2018 after an extensive renovation project. The official ribbon cutting was held on August 20, 2018, and shortly thereafter Dr. Reckley-Murphy left Archway. Additionally, Archway expanded services in January of 2017 to include Targeted Case Management services, which were primarily designed to assist the homeless and those in jeopardy of becoming homeless.
In 2017, after a lengthy process and much hard work Archway was awarded accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities which was a 3-year certification and very rewarding in that it placed Archway in a category with organizations operating in a very worthy manner with the highest of credentials. That accreditation was renewed in 2020 for an additional 3 years.
After an extensive search for a new Executive Director Jim Raley was hired on April 22, 2019. In July of 2019, Archway launched a new Health Home Program which was funded through a generous grant of $175,000 from the Weinberg Foundation. In September of 2019, Archway in cooperation with Willetts Tech designed and launched an Electronic Health Records (EHR) Program better known as PUPS (Providing U Practical Solutions).
Archway assets include 10 residential properties in addition to the Queen Street complex and the Memorial Avenue Wellness and Recovery Center. Archway further plans to return the Longview operation to the Thomas B. Finan Center in the spring of 2021 and liquidate the properties at Fulton Street. Archway prepared a strategic plan for the future which will include looking more at addictions issues in those with persistent mental health disorders.
Archway planned a 40th year celebration but unfortunately the issue of COVID-19 required the cancellation of such gatherings so it is hoped that someday we will be able to host an event. We are also planning a major fundraising event and are hopeful to secure funding to convert 408 North Center Street into an Oxford House. Archway has secured a $50,000 state bond to help fund the project and is in the process of trying to secure an additional $50,000 from the federal Appalachian Regional Commission.