Kane County Poor Farm

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Kane County Poor Farm
Established 1852
Opened 1853
Closed 1971
Demolished 1973
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Single Building
Location Geneva, IL
Alternate Names
  • Kane County Alms House
  • Kane County Farm and Home


The farm was established in 1852 as refuge for the indigent, senior citizens and mentally ill. The name was changed by Superintendent Frank Averill (tenure 1914 - 1935) to Kane County Farm, in order to restore a sense of dignity to the residents. It should also be noted that the facility also served as a hospital, since the hospitals in the area were either for fee, not nearby, or non-existent. In the early 20th century, circa 1912, laws were changed regarding treatment and housing of the mentally ill. The "insane" at the farm were removed primarily to the Elgin State Hospital (est. 1872). No further mental patients were taken in at the Farm.

It was a fully functioning, and extremely large, residential facility, with a large crop and dairy farm. The Farm closed in 1971 & the structures were razed.


Residents who died there were often buried in the on-site cemetery. The cemetery is located on what is now the grounds of the Kane County Sheriff's Dept. and former county jail. Graves in the northern two-thirds of the cemetery were thought to have been dug in the early 1850s until the late 1920s. They were never marked. In the southern third, 167 small concrete cylindrical markers were installed for burials from 1931 to the last one, but many were lost or obscured.