The Pauper House (The Poor House) ~ Harrisburg, IL
Posted by: YoSam.
N 37° 43.119 W 088° 33.106
16S E 363235 N 4175732
Quick Description: This poor farm is preserved so we can view another era and how they tried to solve the problem of the poor.
Location: Illinois, United States
Date Posted: 1/7/2009 6:03:48 AM
Waymark Code: WM5H4Z
Marker Text: THE POOR HOUSE
This house, built in 1877 with an addition in 1904 was the effort of the culture of that era to take care of the poor. As early as 1819, the Illinois General Assembly enacted a Pauper Bill requiring county commissioners to appoint overseers of the poor for each township. Usually, a paupers family received aid for the care of those of the house who could not care for themselves. By 1839 the Almshouse method of public welfare was introduced in which a building would be built on county land and pauper labor would farm it. One person could then oversee the operation. This farm originally containing 175 acres under the Almshouse Law using log buildings for many years until the brick building was constructed. The idealistic notion, that people would gladly work for their subsistence, soon met reality. The poor farm became an orphanage, a jail, an insane asylum, and a place for refugees, i.e. a social dumping ground for the outcast and deplored. There have been at least two occasions in its history when the county considered demolition because of the poor condition of the building. The poor farm represents a method of dealing with social problems during a time when there was very little public investment in social welfare. What started as an effort to help the county poor became another good idea that didn't work. The farm ceased operation sometime after 1950.
Plaque Text: THE PAUPER HOUSE
this building was erected in 1877 for
the residency of the poor of
The building and its site is listed on
the National Registry of Historical Places.
To log your visit please include the following:
- A picture of the marker. Including yourself in the picture would be nice but not required.
- Tell about your experience, thoughts, knowledge of the site or anything else you feel you want to share about your visit.
Reminder: In Waymarking, it is not bad etiquette to log your own Waymark. Please feel free log a visit for any marker you submit.