|Warren County Maps||1867 Wall Map of Warren County||1875 Combination Atlas||1903 Centennial Atlas|
|The Centennial Atlas of Warren
Containing Complete Maps of the County and each of its Townships and Villages, carefully Platted from Official Records and Recent Surveys; together with
A General History of the County from the Time of the Earliest Explorations of White Men to the Present, showing the Progress and achievements of its first century
Compiled and Written by
Will S. McKay, Editor of the Western STar
Also Half-tone Illustrations of Public Buildings, Residences and Business Houses, Portraits and Biographies of well-known People, Names of living U. S. Soldiers of all Wars, List of Members of Lodges and Fraternal Orders, Etc., Etc.
Photos by C. M. Huffman and J. J. G. Steddom
E. S. Rhodes Solicitor
The Centennial Atlas Association, Publishers
|THE WARREN COUNTY INFIRMARY|
|In her treatment of paupers Warren County is most generous
and humane. Not only is every physical want supplied but around the entire
institution is an air of moral refinement that renders it a home in the
truest sense for those who, in the fierce struggle for a livelihood, have
Prior to 1831 no provision had been made to care for the destitute of the county at a county institution. The township trustees, as provided by law, let contracts for keeping and caring for the paupers, after being duly advertised, to the lowest responsible bidders. Usually though not always, some relative would get the contract. In 1829 a tract of land just south of Lebanon corporation was purchased for a county poor farm and the erection of a two story brick building begun. The Ludlum Brothers were the contractors. The building was 30x50 feet and was opened for the reception of inmates on April 13, 1831, with Robert Porter as superintendent, James Cowan, John Osborn, and James Kibbey constituted the first board of Directors. On the first day eleven paupers were admitted and by the close of the year twenty two were numbered as inmates.
In 1836 the necessity for more room being imperative, an addition was built. Up to 1845 the county’s insane were kept in the same buildings as the paupers but in that year a separate small brick building was erected for the accommodation of the insane, thus adding greatly to the comfort of all. In 1866, on the last day of the year, a fire broke out and before night had totally destroyed the institution. No lives were lost and no one was injured.
Within a few months, or during the succeeding year, work was begun on the magnificent building shown in the accompanying half-tone. Capt. Wm. H. Hamilton, one of the Board of County Commissioners, planned the structure and superintended its construction. The building is 90x98 feet, with a court in the center 36x46 feet. There are in all about seventy apartments with the sleeping rooms 10 1/2 x 12 feet, each well lighted and ventilated. The total cost of the building when completed was $51,459.
Within recent years this building has undergone marked improvements. In 1900 the Directors contracted with a Dayton firm for the heating of the entire institution by the single pipe steam process. Heretofore the boilers for the heater had been in the court but with the introduction of the new system they were removed from the court to an out-building then known by the vulgar but expressive name of “madhouse.” This arrangement not only renders the possibility of fire very slight but does away with the dust and smoke. The heat is now piped underground from the boiler to the main building in which there is no fire excepting in the two cooking ranges – one in the
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|Superintendent’s rooms and the other in the main kitchen.
The boiler is a “safety,” carrying only three pounds pressure,
and is so simple in construction that during the past winter one of the
inmates, with some assistance from Superintendent Smith, fired, kept up
the heat and took all the necessary care of the heating apparatus.
The possibility of another fire was further reduced to the minimum by the introduction of electric light and water from the Lebanon plant. Each apartment is supplied with light, thus abolishing the kerosene lamp, which in the hands of the aged and infirm, was a constant menace. Likewise, the introduction of the waterworks system not only afforded a pure, abundant and unfailing supply of water for all purposes but is an additional safeguard against fire.
Although in former years the acreage owned by the Infirmary was larger than now there are at present in the county farm one hundred and eight acres, all tillable land and in an excellent state of cultivation. Here, by careful and thorough cultivation under the direction of the Superintendent and Directors, is grown each year all the corn consumed on the place including a large amount necessary table use during the roasting ear season, when several bushels are consumed daily. Many acres are devoted to vegetables and the potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages, turnips, etc. etc., needed for the institution are grown. A splendid orchard supplies fruit. In recent years immense crops of melons have been grown and are thoroughly enjoyed by all the inmates. For some years the Infirmary has been represented in the horticultural department at many of the county fairs in this part of the State with exhibits not only winning first premiums when competing but of such quality, variety and attractive arrangement as to call forth the most profuse and favorable comment. This has been due largely to the efforts of Superintendent Smith. All the pork consumed at the institution and 3000 pounds of lard each year is produced on the farm. Only the best breeds of swine are handled, often winning prizes at the fairs. One of the finest and best herds of Durham cattle in southern Ohio is at the Infirmary farm, both swine and cattle being prize winners at the fairs. Sometimes wheat has been grown but it has been demonstrated that bread can be bought from the bakers cheaper than to raise wheat and make it.
One of the most agreeable of the many changes for the better witnessed during the last few years at the Infirmary has been the removal of the insane to the Dayton State Hospital. This began in 1900 and was accomplished within the ensuing year. About twenty-five were thus removed and the former “madhouse” is now the boiler and tool house. The epileptics and others have but recently
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|been removed to the various State institutions provided for
them, thus reducing the number of inmates to the fewest for years. In getting
rid of all its insane so soon after the enactment of a law requiring the
State to care for them, Warren County is more fortunate than any other county
in the Dayton Asylum district. Since their removal, the Infirmary is just
what its name implies – a home for the indigent infirm of our county,
quiet and pleasant.
Formerly, interments of all dying at the Infirmary were made on the farm but in more recent years all interments are made in the Lebanon Cemetery. Religious services over the remains are held at the institution. Steps are being taken to hold regular religious services each week.
For the past year the average number of inmates has been about seventy-five. The cost per week each is from $1.35 to $1.75, the extreme variation being due largely to the improvements made, these all being taken into consideration in the estimation of the weekly cost per inmate.
The superintendents since Robert Porter are: A. Thomas; Bonham Fox; Aaron Stevens 1841-1854; Joseph Jameson 1854-1858; John Pauly 1858-1864; Wm. G. Smith 1865-1872; A. D. Strickler 1872-1875; Eli F. Irons 1875-1881; David Glasscock 1881-1891; Hiram Bates 1891-1896 and A. D. Smith 1896- .
As suggested above, the institution is now a pleasant retreat for those unable to care for themselves. Everything is scrupulously clean and tidy. An air of cheerfulness, paradoxical almost, as it seems, pervaded the house and grounds. As shown in the illustration, the grounds are nicely shaded and well kept while in the court a fountain sends up its spray for a distance of several feet, the mists falling over numerous ferns and flowers at its base, making a most enchanting scene.
The financial part of the institution is conducted in a business-like way, a complete system of books being carefully kept as well as all bill rendered for services or supplies. They show every payment, to whom made, amount, for what purpose, etc. The records show the name of every person admitted to the institution, since its inception from what township, age, etc. and the date of their dismissal or death. The old register, dating from 1831, is the only record preserved from the fire of 1866. Semi-annual settlements are made with the Commissioners. The credit for the excellent condition of this institution in every respect is due in no small degree to Messrs. W. H. Bone, J. O. Mitchell and J. J. Thompson, the present Board of Directors whose portraits are given in this work and to the Superintendent and Matron, Mr. and Mrs. A. D. Smith.
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