Columbiana County Poorhouse
|Columbiana County Poorhouse|
|Building Style||Single Building|
The original county home, opened in 1829, was roughly one mile south of the present county home near the current day Robert Bycroft school. Over time, as the needs and population of the infirmary grew so did the amount of structures. By September 1880, the infirmary held 176 inmates, decreasing to 125 people by February 1905. A remodeling project to the circa 1873 building, costing nearly $5,000, were completed in late-1908. A small hospital with three wards and 30 beds was added in 1936 by the Public Works Administration. Prior to the completion of the hospital, patients were sent to the City Hospital in Salem. In the 1930's the needs of the institution was such that a small brick hospital was built on the property to care for the people living in the institution.
On December 12, 1960, the state Department of Industrial Relations ordered the county to discontinue occupancy of the county infirmary due to violations found during an inspection in November. The administration building, primary residence, hospital building, and laundry and boiler building were all found to be deficient and the review also noted inadequate sanitary facilities and the severe negligence of maintenance. The order gave the county 120 days to evacuate the residents but two extensions to delay the county home’s closure were granted. In April 1964, the county requested $200,000 in federal Auxiliary Works Program funds for which the county would pay an equal amount of money for a new county nursing facility. It was approved and the ground was broken for a one-story, 40-unit county nursing home on April 17, 1964. Built by Riley Construction of Alliance for $430,000, the new county home opened in mid-January 1965 but it was unable to admit its first 20 residents until August 17 due to a lack of equipment.
The original infirmary complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. In 1994, the nursing home was renovated and expanded into a county-wide jail. The poor house was finally closed in 1976. The county abandoned efforts to use federal funds to demolish the infirmary in June 2010 as it would have required a waiver from the state Office of Historic Preservation. The Columbiana County Infirmary complex was demolished in 2016, with components from the building salvaged by the Amish community for reuse.
The following is a well researched blog on the poorhouse: