The work at the Homes progressed and the financial conditions improved. Then came the depression with accompanied drought. The income decreased, crops failed and feed had to be bought for the stock on the farm. Considerable debt was incurred. At one time the debt amounted to $24,000 (which is approximately $513,000 in today’s money). The Homes owned several farms and other property, but there was no ready sale for property during the depression years.
In the course of time stricter laws for operating children’s homes were enacted by the State of Minnesota. Furthermore, State welfare authorities were not in favor of institutional homes for children. The State also assumed responsibility for unfortunate children and favored placing such in private homes. Thus very few children were sent to Bethesda Homes. In order to try and remedy this situation, the possibility of operating the Children’s Home as a home placing agency was considered. This, however, was not feasible. Then the corporation was faced with the tragic possibility of having to discontinue the work of mercy which had been blessed by God so richly during these many years.
After careful study, the committee found it necessary to recommend that the Children’s Home be discontinued. It was a sad day in the history of Bethesda Homes when on June 27, 1939, the Corporation decided to discontinue the Children’s Home. For more than forty years this Home had given material and spiritual care to a number of children.
Bethesda’s Country Home continued to serve the senior community exclusively beginning in 1939 until 1953 when Bethesda Heritage was constructed giving the community two senior living options. The Country Home closed in 1979 when Bethesda Pleasant View was opened.