Jefferson County Asylum

From Asylum Projects
Jump to: navigation, search
Jefferson County Asylum
Established 1882
Opened 1856/1885
Closed 1978
Demolished 1986
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Jefferson, WI
Alternate Names
  • Jefferson County Asylum for the Chronic Insane
  • Jefferson County Insane Asylum and Poor House


Originally called the county "Poor Farm," officially established in 1854, some documents indicate that plans for a facility to care for infirmed or destitute people in the county existed before Wisconsin became a state. Designed as a self-supporting farm to provide subsistence and give some residents an opportunity to work, the poor farm was a common institution in 19th century government to care for "paupers."

Documents list among the prevailing causes of "pauperism" in the early years as old age, sore eyes, blindness, asthma, friendlessness, vagrancy, dementia and consumption. Over the decades the purpose and focus of the facility changed as did its name. The first half of the 20th century required that a sanitarium for polio patients fall under the umbrella of county services, in addition the Forest Lawn home for the Aged. Medical progress closed the polio sanitarium in 1958. In 1978 the farm animals and equipment were sold at auction liquidating the last vestiges of the days it was considered the county farm.

Images of the Jefferson County Asylum[edit]