The Almshouse

 

The Cairo Almshouse:  
Extracted from page 209 of J.B. Beers' "History of Greene County" published in 1884.
The new county poorhouse stands in a hollow about one-quarter of a mile south of the village. It was completed in 1883 and opened for the reception of the poor. 

wpe9.jpg (18879 bytes)The entire building is of brick, two stories and basement, on a stone foundation, 140 feet front, with a center pavilion 56 deep by 40 feet front, three stories high. There are two wings, each 42X50 feet. The basement is eight feet high under the entire building, the walls being of masonry two feet thick. On the first floor the center or pavilion will be occupied mostly by the keeper and family. The rooms in this part include a general office, doctor's office, reception room, dining room, kitchen and three bedrooms, large clothes presses, pantries, etc. The southern wing will be devoted exclusively to males. It has corridors seven feet wide running the entire length. Platform staircases five feet wide, at right angles, lead from the corridor to the second story. The rooms in this wing are dining-room, sitting-room, bath and washroom. The north wing will be occupied by females, and is similar in every respect to the south wing. On the second floor of the wings are large dormitories and small rooms, wash-room and infirmary. The third floor (in Mansard roof) of the pavilion is a very large and pleasant room that can be utilized for various purposes.

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It was intended that the almshouse be as self-sustaining as possible. Consequently the land surrounding the building was cultivated and crops were sown and maintained by the individuals staying at the Almshouse. Those who died while living in the Almshouse and whose bodies were unclaimed by friends or family, were often buried in the county lot. It appears the county lot was located by the Almshouse itself, however no trace of this cemetery can be presently found.

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A record book from the Cairo Almshouse covering the period 1852 - ? is in the possession of the Vedder Memorial Library. It will be transcribed, as time permits, by Sylvia Hasenkopf.

A record book from the Cairo Almshouse covering the period 1887-1905 is in the possession of the Durham Center Museum. The record book was transcribed, in its entirety for this website, by Sylvia Hasenkopf.


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