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In the first quarter of the nineteenth century, when the general public believed that the insane and paupers could be rehabilitated into productive citizens, the Ohio Legislature gave authorization to county commissioners to establish county "poor houses." The Athens County Home
, formerly known as the Athens County Infirmary, opened on this site in 1857 to provide care for indigent citizens of Athens County. When fire destroyed the original building in 1903, a new building was constructed from 1904-1905, designed with the capacity to house up to one hundred people. When it was built, it was considered to be one of the finest and most modern charitable institutions of its time.