Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Alms For the Poor House

Some call it the Alms House. Some say the Poor House. Whatever the name, people seem interested in learning about the residents of the facility for the indigent persons of Erie County, PA. The names, ages, place of birth and marital status of the individuals can be found in the federal census records. I'd like to share a description of the living conditions from a report by Dr. Diller Luther, Secretary of the State Board of Charities:

Inmates: 235
Capacity: 300
Number of insane: 50
Number of children: 18

Supplies: sufficient and of good quality. Males and females dine at different hours.

Apartments, ten in number have been arranged in what was designed for a chapel for the chronic insane. The female wards for old women, large in size, with numerous occupants, of whom Miss Ray is one. The house and apartments were generally found to be in good condition. Less crowding and a more general distribution might be beneficial and help the appearance. Closet accommodations are wanting. If Mr. Griffin, the excellent steward, was afforded some conveniences of that kind, he would be saved the necessity of piling up trunks and old apparel in the corridors.

The work of this excellent charity is well systemized and is conducted in the best manner. The cost per capita has not increased by reason of the increased number of inmates. Attention is given to the importance of utilizing the labor of such as are capable, and much help is obtained. Shoes and garments are made in the house, and many engage in the work of the farm.

The condition of the chronic insane in the two-story frame, is by no means bad. It is kept remarkably clean and in good order. Clean floor, clean bedding, and better order can nowhere be seen.
-published in the Erie Gazette, February 27, 1877.

Find more fascinating facts about Erie, Pennsylvania at: Old Time Erie

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