Abandoned Ohio Poorhouse

The public poorhouses that you read about in Dickens novels are gone, having been replaced with welfare hotels, housing projects, and homeless shelters. The Knox County Poorhouse in Ohio was once such an institution.

Constructed in 1875, Knox County Poorhouse sheltered the poor, homeless and orphaned. During a time when mental illness was still considered innately wrong, parents would often abandon children whose behaviour deviated from what was considered “normal”. Many of the rooms were occupied by the elderly who simply didn’t have the means to support themselves. Rooms were overrun with occupants, leaving staff unable to provide an acceptable standard of living.

Reused as a Bible college since then, the structure has been empty for decades. The delapidated building is rumored to be haunted by the tortured souls who lived and died there. And thanks to urban explorers, you can take a look inside in a series of photographs at Urban Ghosts. Link

(Image credit: Flickr user Justin Masterson)


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I've worked on two films shot there over the past 10 years. It has been sad watching the place fall apart. There are areas where the top floor has fallen down to the bottom floor. I've heard talk of an attempt to save the building, but it will probably cost a few million dollars and it sounds like nobody involved has that kind of money.
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Very cool. Looks similar to the old once-abandoned Lunatic Asylum in Athens, Ohio, built around the same time. I took a private tour of it in 04 - see here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/matthunterross/sets/72157627740070809/
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