Ross County Home
|Ross County Home|
|Building Style||Single Building|
Ross County established its own poorhouse in 1820. In March 1872, a Scioto Gazette article described the building being used by the county at that time as “a monument of disgrace.” Not long after this article appeared, a contract in the amount of $76,666 was awarded to Hersheiser, Adams, & Co. of Columbus for the construction of a new poorhouse. It did not however include site excavation, bricks, and a few other things, which the county would handle itself. The company agreed to have the facility finished by Jan. 1, 1875. The new Ross County Infirmary was located about a half-mile east of the Clarksburg Pike (Ohio 104), five miles or so north of Chillicothe, along what is today Fairgrounds Road. The 1872 Gazette article puts the old 1820 poorhouse in a spot “near” the location that a new one was to be built. The infirmary was designed and the work overseen by well-known local architect John Cook. In an article from November 1874 the Gazette questioned the cost of the new infirmary, which would eventually amount to somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000.
The infirmary was used to house a variety of paupers. There were the poor and unemployed; widowed and single mothers; people who were sick and had no one to take care of them; undoubtedly some people with mental health issues; and at times entire families. During World War I and the days of Camp Sherman, women with sexually transmitted diseases were guests (inmates might be the more accurate term) in the infirmary in an effort to keep them away from the soldiers until their condition could be successfully treated.
During the 1930s and 1940s and the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, policies on social programming began to change. Unemployment compensation, aid to dependent children, social security and more contributed to the disuse of the infirmary (county home by that time). Few records exist today, but a 1939 survey found that it had just 75 residents, and that the cost per resident had risen by 69 percent since 1934. By the 1950s it was little used and in disrepair. In 1957 it was condemned. No one seems clear on exactly when it was torn down, but the mid-1970s might be an accurate guess.