Our Lady of the Pines Retreat Center, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, offers a space for all seeking a deeper relationship with God, self, others, and all creation. The Spirit of Hospitality, a Mercy Charism, pervades the place, welcoming all who come.
A History of 1250 Tiffin Street, Fremont OH, 43420
A prominent Fremont jeweler, named Lewis Leppelman, bought the land the retreat center now stands on.
It is said that all the lumber mills near Fremont had saved all their matched walnut and butternut woods for the building. The Frances Warde , Bernardine, and Reflection Rooms are just some of the spaces where you can still see this gorgeous wood.
It is also said that a landscape artist was brought in from New York to design the property.
During his time here, Mr. Leppelman was said to have planted more than 41 different genera of Evergreen trees.
The building was finished and stood as a French, Second Empire Mansion which consisted of three floors.
Lewis Leppelman passed away and the family left the home, leaving it vacant for seven years, with squatters and vandals ruining much of the interior.
The estate was purchased by Charles Greene and his family.
They began restoring everything they could. They even turned the third floor into a ballroom.
While the Greene family lived here, the property became known as Evergreen Hill.
The estate was sold to the Sisters of Mercy, with the newspaper articles of the day stating it was purchased for just $50,000.
Today that purchase would have been worth about $740,000.
Extensive renovations were then completed to turn the building into the home for the Sisters of Mercy Novitiate.
The cornerstone was laid November 11.
The original house can be seen to the left and the two-story addition can be seen to the right.
On October 3, the building was opened to the public for inspection.
On October 4 the building was dedicated.
On October 7, the Sisters of Mercy came prepared to stay.
In August, the first private retreat was held.
The first public retreat was held.
The building became the Mercy Academy for Girls.
An electrical fire occurred and the third floor was lost.
Our Lady of the Pines Retreat Center was officially established.
The Saint Bernardine Home was built on the property.
The Sisters of Mercy renewed their commitment to Northwest Ohio and the retreat ministry by engaging in major renovations of the facility.
The newly renovated facility reopened to become the facility you see today.