Franklin County Alms House and Poor Farm

From Asylum Projects
Jump to: navigation, search
Established 1880s
Opened 1910
Closed 1975
Current Status Preserved
Building Style Single Building
Location Frankfort, KY
Alternate Names


According to a 1975 assessment from the Kentucky Heritage Council, Franklin County Fiscal Court purchased 300 acres and a farmhouse near what is now the Kentucky State University research farm for $15,600 in December 1910. However, a ledger donated to the Capital City Museum shows an “alms house” operated at the location near the Anderson County line as early as 1884. In the 1880s and 1890s, several immigrants such as Irishman “Jimmie the well-digger” and Henry Vanedeu from South America were recorded. During the 20th century, most residents came from Franklin County or central Kentucky – but a few from New Jersey, Tennessee and “Missoura” were reported. Many were reported as infirm, crippled or of “unsound mind” – one resident was discharged in 1893 for stealing watermelons according to the ledger. Others “ran away,” went to an asylum or simply drifted off.

The Great Depression caused the number of residents to grow, and in 1929 several buildings were added to the poor farm, including a dormitory and washhouse. The poor farm closed in 1975 when the last superintendents, Pete and Mae Harrod, retired. There were seven residents left – four men, including John Henry, and three women, according to a story from United Press International in 1975. Henry had lived on the poor farm 33 years, he told reporters. The poor farm was sold and the residents were placed in a nursing home, according to the UPI. While living at the poor farm, residents gave their Social Security checks to the county and were given a $10 monthly allowance, according to the UPI. The men bought chewing tobacco, and the women bought material to make dresses.