Harris County Poor Farm

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Harris County Poor Farm
Opened 1882
Closed 1958
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Single Building
Location Houston, TX
Alternate Names
  • Harris County Home
  • Harris County Home for the Aged


In 1882 Harris County Commissioners Court ordered an assessment of the feasibility of a Poor Farm and by November 1882 the first Harris County Poor Farm and County Hospital was opened on land located near White Oak Bayou. As the County grew, the Poor Farm was relocated to property that is now part of West University. It was at this location that Harris County opened the first cemetery designated for paupers. In 1917 Commissioners Court decided to change the name of the Harris County Poor Farm to the Harris County Home.20 However, the name change did not catch on and this location continued to be referred to as the Poor Farm.

It was during 1919 that Harris County Commissioners began to consider moving the Harris County Home and Cemetery to a new location. The County purchased 100 acres on Beaumont Highway and Oates Road in July 1921 (the Beaumont Highway was then known as Crosby Road) from E. R. and Alice Jones. When the new location opened the name of The Harris County Home was changed to The Harris County Home for the Aged. Throughout Commissioner Court Minutes and other documents from the early 1920’s the Home for the Aged would still be referred to by such names as the County Home, the County Old Folks Home and other variations. In June of 1929 Commissioners Court determined that the Harris County Home for the Aged would be administered by the Juvenile Probation Department.

According to newspapers in 1937, there was a great deal of discussion pertaining to the future of the Home for the Aged in light of the Social Security Act of 1935. It was thought that all inmates of the Home could qualify for a pension and then obtain placement in local residential establishments. However, one stipulation of the Social Security Act was that anyone who was already residing in a governmental institution would not qualify for a pension. Therefore the Home for the Aged stayed open for approximately 20 more years. From 1937 until 1958 Mr. Charles B. Green supervised the Harris County Home for the Aged and the adjacent cemetery. He lived on the property with his family, including a toddler grandson named Jim Green. The Harris County Home consisted of a main house where white inmates and some staff resided. The main house also included a hospital ward with approximately twenty beds and a convalescent ward with several more beds. While the hospital convalescent wards were located in the main house, they were separated from the regular living quarters. There was a separate building for African American inmates. There was also a separate building for staff that lived on the premises.

In 1958, administration of the Harris County Home for the Aged along with the Harris County Cemetery was turned over to the newly designated Harris County Welfare Department. The Home was closed and other housing arrangements were found for all inmates. Once the Home was closed, a total of 18 acres were set aside for the Cemetery. On February 9, 1959, administration for the Cemetery was left with the Harris County Welfare Department. The remaining land where the Home for the Aged, farm and adjacent buildings were located was all eventually sold.