History of The Leaves
Christian Science first came to Dallas around this time. A small group of students met in the home of one of the members. Soon, they rented two rooms on the second floor the Linskie Building to hold services, and opened a Reading Room. Over the next few years, they would be forced to move a number of times as they struggled to establish a church; at first lacking in membership, and then with a rapidly growing congregation.
Mary Baker Eddy established Christian Science nursing in the Church Manual of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, with a bylaw stating that "a Christian Science nurse shall be one who has a demonstrable knowledge of Christian Science practice, who thoroughly understands the practical wisdom necessary in a sickroom, and who can take proper care of the sick."
Mrs. Eddy instructed the Christian Science Board of Directors to create a Christian Science sanatorium.
The Christian Science Board of Directors kept the field aware of progress on the sanatorium through the Christian Science Sentinel, announcing it in a 1916 article.
Donations from individuals and churches ranging from a "widow's mite" of less than $1, to $10,000 poured in from the field, along with donations to the Mother Church's War Relief Fund at the same time, and extracts from attached letters were often published in the Sentinel.
The first sanatorium, The Christian Science Benevolent Association, opened in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
By this time, Christian Science in Dallas was flourishing. Two churches already existed in Dallas and the overflowing auditoriums prompted a group from First Church to begin plans organizing a third.
During the 1940s, the first visiting Christian Science nurse services began to be established, and in 1948, The Houston Nursing Home, Inc. was established as a non-profit benevolent and charitable corporation "to provide care for those depending entirely on Christian Science treatment" in the Houston area. This was done with approval of the Christian Science Nursing Homes Committee of The Mother Church; and in accordance with the laws of Texas. The Mother Church established accreditation standards for Christian Science nursing facilities to ensure they met high standards.
Inman Douglas, Fanny Fulton, James McReynolds, and Harry McRae put together the first Christian Science Nursing organization in the Dallas area.
On July 8th, The North Texas Nursing Home, Inc. was incorporated to provide the same care under the same conditions as the Houston Nursing Home, Inc. for the Dallas area.
The North Texas Nursing Home, Inc.'s corporate charter was amended to reflect it's new name: The Leaves, Inc. The new name referenced Revelation 22:2 "and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of nations."
The Leaves served patients not only from the Dallas area, but from all of Texas and even the surrounding states.
Attempts in Houston to create a facility for Christian Science nursing had stalled, and did not seem to have full support from local Christian Scientists, so the Board of the Houston Nursing Home, Inc. decided to donate its funds to The Leaves in support of a facility to be built in Dallas. The Board of The Leaves began holding meetings around Texas to acquaint local Christian Scientists with the idea and importance of a facility for Christian Science Nursing, and was able to raise about $90,000 including those funds donated by the Houston Nursing Home, Inc.
During this period much research and metaphysical work was done by the Board of The Leaves, those interested in The Leaves, and dedicated practitioners.
The Board of The Leaves hired an architect, and planning began for a facility with 16 rooms, 2 nurses stations, a dining room, an admin office, and storage facilities. The President of the Tenacre Foundation, Burwell Harrison, came to Dallas to give advice based on his experience running a Christian Science nursing facility, and the Mother Church Board of Directors approved of the plans. Around this time a ruling from the US Treasury Department confirmed that The Leaves was exempt from Federal Income Tax and that contributions were tax deductible.
On October 8th, ground was broken for construction of a building on Spring Valley Road. The plans drawn up by the architect had won an award from Progressive Architecture Magazine a few years earlier, and a number of area newspapers covered the construction of the new building.
On September 25th, The Leaves held an open house for Christian Scientists and the community at large to tour the facilities.
On October 10th, the Christian Science Nursing wing officially opened.
The Leaves was selected as one of seven buildings in the Dallas area for "architecture beauty."
Because of the great need for quality Christian Science Nursing, The Leaves often found itself full, with no room to take in new patients, and had to turn people away. The Board of Trustees decided that if there was "such a need there will surely be the supply to meet it" and although the money was not yet there, they should begin plans to build additional space for patients. They also realized the need to build apartments and a dormitory for Christian Science Nurses, many of whom were students, and needed a place on campus to live.
In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, short-term accommodation were provided for Christian Scientists displaced by the storms. This eventually became the Progressive Residential Living Program, which provides housing for Christians Scientists who want to live in a spiritually active community. Learn more on our Progressive Living Page.
Various documents and photographs from The Leaves archive