|Building Style||Pre-1854 Plans|
Lackawanna County Poor Districts
In Pennsylvania the almshouse typically consisted of a single County Poor Farm which provided refuge for all paupers of said county. Lackawanna, and a few other counties, acted as an exception to this rule of administration and instead divided the county into separate poor districts, each with their own almshouse. Lackawanna County was divided into five separate poor-districts with five separate poor houses. These were the Blakely Poor-House, Carbondale City Poor-House, Hillside Farm and Almshouse, [Northern Luzerne Poor-House]], and the Ransom Poor-House, which incorporated in its poor district three townships and four boroughs of Luzerne County.
The Blakely Poor District was incorporated in 1861. The poor farm was located six miles from Olyphant and its poor district included the boroughs of Archbald, Blakely, Dickson, Olyphant, Winton, and part of Jermyn. By 1886 the poor farm sat on 86 acres of land, bought for $7000, and had 40 acres under cultivated with one acre being used for garden husbandry. The institution originally had no plumbing, with toilet accommodations consisting of two cesspools located away from the buildings and water coming from a 14 foot well. At this time the poor farm consisted of two wooden frame structures, each two stories tall.
The first structure measured 30x40 feet and provided accommodation for the steward and his family. This building contained a small bedroom, parlor, hall, and sitting room on the first floor with four bedrooms, two large and two small, on the second floor. Attached to this buildings side was a "wing", measuring 30x24 feet which housed the female paupers. In this annex was the kitchen on the first floor with the second floor being divided into two congregate dormitories. This building could comfortably accommodate 24 female paupers.
The second structure was for the accommodation of male paupers, measuring 20x30 feet. The first floor contained a parlor and a congregate dormitory, with the second floor being divided into four bedrooms of various sizes. This building could comfortably accommodate 12 male paupers, bringing the total capacity of the institution to 36 paupers.
The report of 1885
The first structure
Images of the Blakely Poor-House
Main Image Gallery: Blakely Poor-House