Greene County Almshouse, MO
|Greene County Almshouse|
|Building Style||Single Building|
In 1855 Greene County established its first almshouse, or poorhouse, about 10 miles west of the location of the final almshouse and the current Almshouse Cemetery and Memorial Park. By 1873 Land was purchased just east of what was then Springfield’s eastern city limits, near Pickwick Avenue. There, a “substantial brick building” was erected and used as an almshouse. The city had grown to include the location of the almshouse, and the property had increased in value. Also, the increasing number of residents had rendered the old building too small for their accommodation. The decision was made to build a new almshouse on property west of town on Division Street in 1890.
The News and Leader newspaper published a story with photos in 1937 that exposed the terrible conditions at the almshouse. The report refers to the almshouse as a “tumble-down, overcrowded, filthy firetrap which serves Greene County as an almshouse — where 135 men and women daily risk their lives by merely living.…” It also says Works Progress Administration (WPA) officials had approved plans to build a new almshouse the next year. The dilapidated buildings were razed to make way for a new almshouse the following year. A new and final almshouse was built in 1939. Over the years, it became known as Sunshine Acres to many in Greene County and was eventually named Sunshine Acres Nursing Home.
Sunshine Acres was shut down by the state health department which cited the facility for sanitation issues and building deficiencies. 1978 and the land was sold to the Springfield Regional Airport with Greene County retaining the cemetery property in 1979.