Schuylkill County Almshouse

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Schuylkill County Almshouse
Established 1811
Opened 1833
Demolished 2011
Current Status Closed
Building Style Single Building
Location Schuylkill Haven, PA
Alternate Names
  • Schuylkill Haven Sanitarium
  • Schuylkill County Almshouse and Insane Asylum
  • Schuylkill County Almshouse Hospital for the Insane
  • Rest Haven


Original building was built in 1833. A three-story building was erected in 1859 to care for the elderly. A building for the insane was built in 1869 and a two-story brick building was erected for a bakery and laundry in 1872. In 1911, construction started on a new insane asylum on the hill behind the original almshouse. Although it would later be known as the 1912 Building, the Schuylkill County Hospital for the Insane was actually completed and dedicated in 1913. The total cost of the building was about $571,000 and it was large enough to house 600 residents.

The county discontinued farming operations at the site in 1961 and consolidated its remaining patients into one nursing home building on the property. The county then sold a 42-acre parcel of the land to the university for $1. The purchase included six buildings and a large barn. The only structures acquired in the purchase that were not demolished were the 1897 hospital building, another building constructed in 1913 and a storage building/slaughterhouse built in 1928. Those three buildings were renovated and became the Classroom Building, the Administration Building and the Maintenance Building, respectively.

The current 142-bed Rest Haven facility was built next to the 1912 Building in 1969. The two facilities operated along side each other until the state Department of Health forced the county to close the 1912 Building in 1994 due to its deteriorating condition, according to a 1995 article in the Allentown Morning Call. At that time, the 1912 Building had 120 beds. Rest Haven had a total of 242 residents between both buildings. The 1912 Building was eventually sold to Penn State Schuylkill in 2008 along with 33 acres and a second building that was formerly used by the County Child Development as an administrative office. It was demolished in 2010 after a fire heavily damaged the abandoned structure in the summer of 2009.

Penn State Schuylkill remodeled the other building from the purchase and named it the Kiefer-Jones Building in 2012 in honor of Allen Kiefer and Joseph Jones, both of whom have been involved with the Schuylkill Campus Advisory Board for more than 40 years. It currently houses the offices of chancellor, development and alumni relations, and continuing education. In 2015 Schuylkill County commissioners agreed to sell the nursing facility to Nationwide Health Care Services, Brick, New Jersey, for $12.25 million.

Images of Schuylkill County Almshouse[edit]

Main Image Gallery: Schuylkill County Almshouse