Rest Haven, Inc

236 High Street Monroe New York 10950

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Historical Rest Haven

Our restoration efforts at Rest Haven, Inc., are focused on preserving the Adult Home Residence at Rest Haven, founded in 1923 as a home for blind women. New information has come to light about Helen Keller's involvement in the operation of Rest Haven and that she was more involved in its operations. As a member trustee for the American Foundation for the Blind, one of Helen's responsibilities was to oversee Rest Haven Inc.  We believe it is of the utmost importance to rehabilitate this historical site to preserve its history and legacy.

The Rest Haven Legacy

In 1921, M.C. Migel started the American Foundation for the Blind(AFB)  with $7,000.  He is the founder and first president for the AFB.  In 1923, the Migel family purchased the building with its five acres from the McKendrick estate for about $1,000.  In 1924, Migel conveyed this property to Rest Haven, Inc.  Many local names were attached to this creation of Rest Haven.  The facility was personally designed and decoracted for the purpose of bringing adult blind women to the area for a period of two weeks.  In 1944, Rest Haven Inc conveyed title of the property to the American Foundation for the Blind.  On June 1 1968, Helen Keller died.  On November 1968, the Lantz family purchased the property but never modified the property in any way.  In 1986, the Lantz family sold the property to Arhc of Orange County, Newburgh New York.  The property served as the first office location for Ahrc of Orange County.  In April 2016, HRR Corp, the buyer, learned about the history of Helen Keller.  On September 13 2016, HRR Corp purchased the property from Ahrc of Orange County.  They began this crusade to preserve and renovate the property back to its original condition.  On Decemeber 29 2016, after a visit from NYS Historical Society, the property owner was notified that the location is up for nomination as an historical site.

In addition, Mr. M.C. Migel owned other property nearby including the Roscoe House on Lake Road to Mansion Ridge Golf Course (formerly known as Mansion Estate and Family).  The library of Congress has files on its website showing the areas M.C. Migel owned.  We have also verified that Helen Keller did sleep at Mansion Estate and Family as a guest of the Migel family.

Historic Image of a House

Helen Keller and Rest Haven

Internal memos obtained from the American Foundation for the Blind shows that Helen Keller was, in fact, more involved in the running of the facility than was previously known. As the first president of the American Foundation for the Blind, M.C. Migel understood the importance of Keller's support for the foundation, and he assisted her in becoming a board trustee. Internal memos dated from 1933 to 1968 illustrate her active involvement in the operation of Rest Haven until the end of her life.

Historical Sources

Documents and photographs obtained from various sources, including the American Foundation for the Blind, the Library of Congress, Orange County Historical Society, and the Town of Monroe Historical Society offer a rich historical account of Helen Keller's involvement at Rest Haven. The photographs show that while time has changed the surroundings of the home, the house itself has not been changed by time.

Walking In the Footsteps Of Greatness

We know that our children have studied the history of Helen Keller in school. We want our children, and your children, to not only learn about the inspirational Keller, but to walk the grounds where she walked, and stand on the very stoop where she stood in 1950 with 20 other blind women from New York City. We want future generations to be able to walk the halls that she walked for so many years from 1933 to 1968. Our goal is that our children not only read about Helen Keller's greatness, but walk in her footsteps among the grounds that have been locked away for so long.