The only remaining Sullivan County Almshouse (also known as the Poor House) located about three miles from Monticello, New York, USA.
Most in the area are either unaware of the past history of this almshouse or choose to forget the dark cloud which once hung over it.
It was in this building the indigent, the sick of mind, and the poor of health were sent to live, unable to care for themselves, or so it was declared. Much medical experimentation occurred here as well. Children were indentured out from this building never to see their parents again. Though the history is sad, the means were less than human, and the treatment and living conditions deplorable it remains part of the past.
Unfortunately this almshouse remained as such well beyond the legal terms set forth by the law. A fire in the county building in the early 1900’s destroyed the records of “inmates”, as well as ongoing investigations of this dwelling. The state however records much of the investigations and some of its history, beginning in 1896 with the “Poor Laws” written.
Almshouses were not debtors prisons, but rather a place where those incapable of caring for themselves, sick or depraved, idiots and epileptics alike were sent to live out their days in return for working the farms on which these homes resided.
This will be a series of images with explanation, as I was fortunate enough to be able to tour both inside and out of the old Almshouse in Sullivan County, New York, USA.