Allegan County Poor Farm

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Allegan County Poor Farm
Established 1849
Opened 1870
Closed 1968
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Single Building
Location Allegan, MI
Alternate Names
  • Allegan County Medical Care Facility (Current)


On 14 January 1866, the Allegan County superintendents of the poor recommended the purchase of the J. P. Pope farm for this purpose, at a cost of $7000. This recommendation was accepted and the purchase was made the following day. A second poorhouse was erected on the farm in January 1869 at a cost of $2090.07 (1907, p. 15). In 1870, the original house was found to be in need of razing, and it was replaced with what came to be called “the main building” completed in October of that year. The insane asylum was the next addition to the complex. The 20-room hospital-style building received its first inmates on 1 January 1876. Thursday morning (Feb. 1, 1883) at about six o'clock the main building in the county poor farm was wholly destroyed by fire, and it was only by hard work that the neighboring insane asylum was saved. On 20 Oct 1898, a juvenile home was added to the Poor Farm to house “insane children” separate from the adult asylum. Next, a hospital “for the isolation of contagious persons” was appended to the main building, completed on 10 January 1899 and a telephone was installed in the main building as part of that same project.

The facility served as the county’s “debtor’s prison” and asylum, i.e. an encampment for “undesirables,” from 1866 to 1914. At that time, the poor housing was demolished. Debtor’s prisons are no longer legal under the present Michigan Constitution. The poor farm was closed in 1968 as construction of Allegan County Medical Care Facility, our current Community, began on this same property. ACMCC has been in operation since 1971.