By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — In 1954, Elizabeth (Kahl) Figge, Margaret (Kahl) Wurzer and the heirs of the Carmella Kahl Sheehan estate gifted a three-story “modernized” family home to the Diocese of Davenport.
Bishop Ralph Hayes, who led the diocese at that time, announced the home would be used for the aged and would be named after the Kahl family, a memorial to Henry and Elizabeth Kahl, parents of Elizabeth, Margaret, Carmella and Marie.
In addition to the 40-year-old home, a separate building with a five-room apartment, garage and “modern gas heating plant” were included in the gift.
The Henry and Elizabeth Kahl family resided in the home and later V.O. Figge and Elizabeth (Kahl) Figge family lived there.
According to Catholic Messenger stories, Bishop Hayes invited the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, based in Germantown, N.Y., to staff the new home. They arrived on Dec. 10, 1954, and the home was officially opened and blessed by Bishop Hayes in February 1955.
When the Kahl Home opened, it accepted only women as guests (residents). By 1961, 29 female guests lived at the Kahl Home, but 128 applications for men and women were on file.
Bishop Hayes and the Board of Diocesan Consultors approved a plan to modernize the mansion and build a new facility to house and care for up to 140 elderly men and women. Cost of the project was estimated at $1.4 million.
Federal funding helped start the new project, according to a letter from Bishop Hayes to the people of the Diocese of Davenport. To help fund the remainder, parishes received an assessment to be paid over two years.
The bishop said the people of the diocese “have never failed in any undertaking sponsored by the bishop and their priests …. They will not fail in this call for the new Kahl Memorial Home for the Aged and Infirm.”
In April 1963, Bishop Hayes dedicated the new Kahl Home, licensed for 120 residents, on West Ninth Street in Davenport. The mansion continued to be used.
By 1986 an addition was needed. When completed in 1987, the Kahl Home was licensed to have a capacity of 135 residents.
A new facility on Jersey Ridge Road in north Davenport opened this week. The West Ninth Street Kahl Home and mansion are now for sale.
By Anne Marie Amacher