Carroll County Home

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Carroll County Home
Established 1848
Opened 1853/1910
Current Status Active
Building Style Single Building
Architect(s) Carl J. Horn
Location Delphi, IN
Architecture Style Colonial Revival
Alternate Names
  • Carroll County Poor Asylum
  • Carroll Manor


The Carroll County commissioners first purchased a farm to serve as the county poor asylum in 1848. The following year the “poor house” on the farm was destroyed by fire, and the commissioners replaced it with a log building. In 1853, they constructed an 8-room brick building, presumably to house paupers residing at the farm. When Alexander Johnson, Secretary of the Board of State Charities, visited the asylum in 1889 and 1890, he reported that the superintendent was living in the brick building, and approximately 30 residents were housed in four, one-story frame cottages “in very poor condition and entirely unsuited to their present use.” Johnson pronounced the Carroll County asylum the worst north of the National Road (later US 40). The farm at that point consisted of 160 acres of what Johnson considered unsatisfactory land, with its fertility exhausted. He stated in his report to the Board of Charities that the county commissioners had decided to construct new buildings. Apparently no action was taken, because an 1899 report by the Carroll County Board of County Charities and Corrections on the county asylum stated that the same brick building was in poor condition and was heated by stoves, making it a potential “death-trap.” The county board recommended a new, well-ventilated building.

Finally, in 1910, after the Delphi Journal published a scathing report on the sub-human conditions it found at the asylum, the county commissioners took action to building a new, modern building on the south side of the 160-acre farm. They hired architect Carl J. Horn to prepare plans and specifications and advertised for bids in June, 1910. Construction was completed in 1911, at a cost of $40,000. A barn was constructed northwest of the new infirmary building in 1911. The commissioners adopted the name Carroll County Infirmary to denote a more positive mission of the new building in providing care for the poor.

In 1919, a report from the Board of State Charities after a visit to the infirmary found that the main building had electric lights, steam heat, and ventilation from window and through doors. The indoor bathrooms had porcelain toilets, and there was a bathtub in each resident wing, on both floors. There were 18 men and 4 women residents. One man and one woman were mentally ill. The report noted the existence of a one-story brick custodial building for the mentally ill, but this may be a reference to the kitchen and cell wing constructed adjacent to the main building. The food was found good and sufficient and was prepared by the matron, who may have been the superintendent’s wife.

A visit by the Carroll Board of County Charities the next year resulted in a report that found the buildings “modern, clean, and sanitary.” The laundry had been remodeled, and an electric washing machine installed. There were fifteen residents—twelve men and three women, with two of the total mentally ill and one epileptic. In 1922, a representative of the Board of State Charities visited again and noted that the sick were cared for in their own rooms or in isolation wards if necessary. There were fire extinguishers, but no fire escapes, which were recommended. The superintendent, Abe L. Downing, had two staff persons to operate the infirmary and the farm, a man and a woman.

After World War II, farming was gradually phased out, and since about 2000, most of the 160 acres comprising the farm has been sold. The 1911 barn has been dismantled and the timbers removed to another location. All other agricultural buildings have been razed except for the extant garage at the rear. In 2016, Carroll Manor, a name adopted by the late 1970s, continues in operation with a very similar mission to that of 1910-- providing a residence for indigent citizens of Carroll County who lack the means to live independently elsewhere.

Images of Carroll County Home

Main Image Gallery: Carroll County Home