La Porte County Asylum

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La Porte County Asylum
Established 1833
Opened 1886 (Second Building)
Current Status Active
Building Style Single Building
Architect(s) Chapman
Location La Porte, IN


In the 1830s, a few years after the organization of the county, the commissioners made provision for an asylum for the poor. They purchased land and built a county poor house and from time to time improved the possessions circumstances required. The poor farm originally consisted of the southeast quarter of section twenty-two in Center township, the left hand lower corner of which extends in Pine Lake. One of the men who served longest as superintendent of the county infirmary was Joseph M. Hoffman, who served sixteen years, having been selected by the county commissioners for that position in 1873. It is said that during his administration holidays were observed, and Sunday services held regularly at the poor farm. The southern half of the poor farm was purchased by the Pine Lake Cemetery Association as stated in the preceding chapter.

After this is was found that the farm was not adequate to the county's growing needs, and hence on February 7, 1886, the present county farm was purchased which contains large tracts in sections three and ten of Scipio township. After a new and commodious home had been erected for an infirmary, and other buildings had been provided, the poor and those who cared for them were removed to the new establishment, which has ever since been conducted successfully.

Among the most satisfactory administrations was that of Mr.Concannon. The total cost of maintaining the poor farm for 1891 was $3,500. Besides this there is the township poor relief in which Michigan township in 1891 stood at the head, relieving 223 persons; Center came next relieving 197, then Kankakee with 20, New Durham with 13, Noble and Cass with 11 each, while those of the other townships were not as many as ten, each. The total was 528.

Considering population and everything, LaPorte county has little poverty as compared with many other counties. And this has been so from the beginning. The same industrial conditions, bringing poverty in their wake, have not prevailed here. The "slums" are not in the county, to any great extent. In an early day, in Michigan City, the foreign element was limited to a few Irish and German families. There was but little suffering from poverty. Even what existed was caused more by sickness and misfortune then anything else, and the needs of the sufferers were soon found out and relieved by those who were more fortunately situated.

The hospital transferred most of it's mental patients after 1900 to Logansport State Hospital. The facility still operates today as a shelter for homeless.

Ref: A Twentieth Century History and Biographical Record of LaPorte County Indiana - Author Rev. E. D. Daniels, 1904 - pages 304 & 305