Monday, September 19, 2011

Then and Now - The Story of The County Poor House (1852-2004) - Part I

A two storied T-shaped building stands at 415 Riverside Drive in Painesville Township.  Since 2007 it has been the new home of the Lake County Historical Society.  From 2004-2007 it belonged to the Riverside Local School District.  For the 152 years prior, it was the County Poor House.

The site of the County Poor House was originally the Pettingel Family Farm.  In 1852 the county purchased the farm and 110 acres.  Benjamin F. Morse and Col. Arthur McAllister of Cleveland were hired to construct an institutional building for the County Poor.  McAllister was a primary architect in the designs of the mansions on Millionaire's row as well as the Soldiers and Sailors Momument in Public Square.  A two storied t-shaped institutional design was conceived.  Four rooms in the front portion of each story were designed as quarters for the superintendent.  Two separate wings, one for men, the other for women connected to the quarters.  A kitchen and residential accommodations were included. Basement cells were constructed for the needs of the severely ill.

1897 saw the addition of a cottage hospital.  The hospital served the entire county until the first public hospital appeared in 1924.  The County Poor House remained viable until 2004.  The last nine residents were moved to newer facilities and the era of the County Poor House came to an end.

1 comment:

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