Rainsford Island State Almshouse

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St 1852, c 275 authorized the construction of three state almshouse for the care of unsettled dependents as well as a state hospital on Rainsford island for the treatment of dependents suffering infectious disease, especially those newly arriving by boat in Boston. Initially the hospital was overseen by the Massachusetts Board of Alien Commissioners, which was superseded in 1863 by the Board of State Charities, which immediately began to question to usefulness and expense of an island hospital like Rainsford. That same year, a large number of inmates well enough to be transferred else where were removed from the island. In 1866, the alsmhouse was authorized to care for veterans of the Civil War a function that would continue to be expanded upon until the closure of the almshouse in 1887. This preceded the opening of the Chelsea Soldiers Home in 1888, which would continue its function of caring for veterans living in the commonwealth.