Fairfield County Infirmary
|Fairfield County Infirmary|
|Building Style||Single Building|
The Fairfield County Home was opened in 1828 as a frame structure, said Dave Fey, director of the Fairfield County Historical Parks District. The brick building that stands today was built in 1840 and expanded in 1865. This building soon filled to capacity and a large brick building replaced it in 1840. The building was expanded on again in 1865 and numerous outbuildings were constructed to serve various purposes, including a laundry, tenant house, storage, and farming facilities. A farm was established across the road from the infirmary to help sustain those living there. In 1917, the infirmary farm brought in a total of $4,300 from the sale of crops and livestock. Natural gas lines were run to the infirmary in 1917 to provide lighting and heat. In 1926, 3,857 feet of pipe was laid to provide water to the infirmary, which previously relied on a natural spring and groundwater. The infirmary didn’t see electricity until 1958.
The home’s last residents (called inmates in the 19th century) left in 1985, sent to nursing homes or other care. County officials remodeled the building for government offices in 1986 and named the building for Clarence E. Miller, the late former congressman. The farmland across from the infirmary was sold to Ohio University in the mid-1960s to establish a remote campus there. The infirmary’s population continued to dwindle until just sixteen residents remained when the facility closed for good in May 1985. Those remaining residents were sent to nursing or foster homes. The old infirmary was remodeled in 1986, adding a sprinkler system, enclosed stairwells, emergency lighting and a fire alarm, to accommodate county offices. The building was rechristened the Clarence E. Miller Building, named for the late former congressman, and served as the county’s health department for the next 27 years. By 2011, the building was literally falling apart. Mold, crumbling walls, loose bricks and other concerns were commonplace. A study showed the facility would require over $4 million in renovations to resurrect the building. The health department decided to move to a leased modern office facility in Lancaster in 2013. February 2020 the building was purchased by Adam Kimmell who allows tours, photography sessions and private ghost hunts.