Fayette County Poor-House, Hospital & Asylum
|Fayette County Poor-House, Hospital & Asylum|
|Building Style||Single Building|
|Location||La Grange, TX|
In 1881 the county established a "poor house" in La Grange. It was located about two miles east of the town on Cedar Creek. Mr. John Rankin was awarded the contract for taking care of the paupers who wished to go to the house. Any person who applied for assistance from the county was ordered there. Mr. Rankin was paid $11.50 per month for the care and feeding of up to ten persons. If there were more than ten people in residence he was paid an extra $8.00. Rankin was also allowed $9.00 for each one that he buried. The house was a one-story building containing eight rooms for the residents. The house was arranged so that the blacks were separated from the whites and the men were separated from the women. The first group of residents to arrive at the poor house was two white women, three black women and two black men. Many of the residents were in the closing years of their lives, enfeebled with age and unable to sustain themselves. Most of the residents had suffered lives of toil and struggle and were now dependent upon the kindness of strangers for their welfare.
Mr. Rankin hired Mrs. Drennon and her daughter to attend to the house and make sure that it was kept clean. The ladies also did all the cooking and tended to the residents when they were ill. After the editor of the La Grange Journal toured the new facility he stated in the paper " we were very much gratified to find that the house was as clean as a new pin and the beds looked clean and comfortable. Mrs. Drennon and Mr. Rankin are evidently doing their duty by the unfortunate persons who have been placed in their charge." Two and a half acres of ground enclosed the area around the house. In this space the residents grew many vegetables including tomatoes, onions, beans, peas, corn and Irish potatoes. The county furnished the residents with all the bacon they could eat plus some molasses and biscuits at least once a week.
In 1920, the farm was known as the Fayette County Poor House Hospital and Asylum. Arnold Prause was the manager. He lived there with his wife, Annie, and three children. At the time of the census in January, there were 22 inmates. By 1940, there were only five inmates, and Albert T. Bardin (Alvy) was still the manager for the County Hospital and Poor Farm. In actuality, it was more like a nursing home/assisted living facility than a hospital for the elderly and feeble, and a boarding house for those who were able-bodied and homeless. There were no skilled medical workers taking care of the sick. More than likely, if they needed medical care, the county medical officer (physician) was asked to tend to them. The original poor farm inmate buildings burned in a fire in 1940. A new building was constructed with large yellow bricks and is located off S. Reynolds St. This property now belongs to the La Grange Economic Development Corporation.