Shelby County Infirmary

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Shelby County Infirmary
Established 1866
Opened 1869
Current Status Active
Building Style Single Building
Location Sidney, OH
Alternate Names
  • Fair Haven (Current)


On March 23, 1866 the Shelby County Commissioners bought a farm of 158 acres southwest of Sidney to be used for a County Home farm. The farm was purchased for $8,500. A farmhouse on the grounds was used to accommodate any unfortunates who found their way there until the impressive three –story building was erected in 1869. The building was brick with a mansard roof and situated back off the main road. The institution in the beginning housed thirty-eight inmates. Its structure was designed to hold 90 “paupers,” with a brick building at the rear was intended to house the mentally deficient. A beautifully kept lawn was in front to the home while the rest of the farm was highly cultivated. Livestock and crops raised on the farm were used to feed those who resided there.

There were no elevators in the old infirmary. This made moving residents from floor to floor extremely difficult. Farming operations were still in full swing until the move to the new facility. Those residents, who wanted to and were able to, worked on the farm. The residents grew corn, soybeans, wheat and oats, raised cattle, hogs and chickens. The crops were used to feed the livestock and the residents consumed the meat. Over the years, the old image of the “infirmary” has disappeared. It slowly changed its image form a home for the poor to a home for the elderly.

In 1969 the first part of the existing county home was completed. In the early 1970’s the old infirmary was torn down and by 1975, a new wing had already been added to the new county home. Today, Fair Haven has three additional wings to the original building. Currently, Fair Haven is a 134-bed facility. One of those wings is used for an Alzheimer/Dementia unit.