Wood County Infirmary
|Wood County Infirmary|
|Location||Bowling Green, OH|
In 1865, the Wood County Board of Commissioners decided to build a poor farm. By 1867, they had raised enough funding to buy 160 acres southeast of Bowling Green, Ohio. The poor farm opened its doors in 1869 and six residents from the County Insane Farm in Perrysburg moved in. By the 1870's there were 65 residents. At this time, it was believed that poor work ethic was the reason why the residents of the poor farm were unemployed. The infirmary was thus considered rehabilitative. In reality, the industrialization and new technologies in agriculture had reduced the number of men needed to run the average farm, putting thousands of farm hands out of work. All residents of the infirmary (referred to at the time as “inmates”) performed daily chores that made it possible to run The Home as a self-sufficient farm. In 1949, many of the mentally ill, orphaned, and homeless residents were moved to other types of facilities due to state and federal legislation. At this time, The Home functioned primarily as a nursing home for the elderly. On February 15, 1971, the residents of The Home were moved to a new County Home about half a mile away. The County Commissioners proposed that the old building be torn down. Instead, The Home became the Wood County Historical Society and Museum. In 1975, it opened its doors to the public.
Built in 1885 for $1,700.00, the Lunatic Asylum was designed to house mentally ill male residents. The first eight patients were transferred here in 1886 from the Perrysburg Insane Farm. By 1900, Ohio legislation mandated that all mentally ill patients transfer to state hospitals, which changed the focus of the facility to dormitory space for trustworthy male residents. Evidence of remodeling occurred between 1925 and 1940, most likely to accommodate more residents as a result of the Great Depression
Out of necessity, a cemetery lot was needed on the grounds as a final resting place for residents who had no family or money. The grave sites are marked with simple numbered stones. Unfortunately, the Infirmary's Cemetery records were destroyed in a fire, so very little information is available about who is buried here.
The property is now home to the Wood County Historical Society Museum. Museum website