1861: New Additions



Early 1800s | 1855-1856 | 1861 | 1886




The building most likely would have been fairly dirty. Patients either used chamber pots that were kept in the cells or were led to an outdoor outhouse. In the middle of the hallway is a large stove which was most likely the only heat source. The stove shown in the photographs is not old enough to have been the original that was installed when the wing was built.

As you walk in, you notice that the hallway is wider than a typical hall. This is most likely because some of the patients would have been allowed to roam the hallway and use it as a common room. The wide design also allows a person to walk down the hallway without being within arms reach of any of the cells. Each cell sports a small window in which bars have been installed during the restoration to resemble what it was most likely like during its use.




Click here to see floor plan


Around 1860 the Poor Farm was in much need of a larger facility. In response to this, two long wings were added on to the building: one would house paupers and the other would house the insane. It is not known how the two buildings were built in conjunction with the original structure. Only one of these two wings is still standing today-- the structure that housed the mentally ill patients of the Poor Farm and Asylum.

Originally, this wing held 6 cells, three on either side of a long hallway. Later, 10 additional cells were added; the specific date of this renovation is unknown. The newer cells are larger in size and some may have served as an office or storage. It is not known how many patients were kept in each cell or the type of furniture used, if any. But the living would have been dismal. The cells are made of wooden boards that lock shut and each cell has a slot through which a food tray could be passed.

One of the cell walls boasts writings in a faded cursive hand. It is unknown when this was written or who may have held the pen, whether it be a patient, staff member, or a person after the building was no longer part of the poor farm. The writing is dim and the words seem to make no sense. Take a look for your self and see if you can decipher the message.

Click photo to view larger image of writings


For questions or comments, please contact Catherine Stewart