Past Exhibits

 

 

The Infirmary:  140 Years of Housing the Forgotten 

The Records Center & Archives newest exhibit is up and running!  Stop by the County Administration Building to view our exhibit on the Warren County Infirmary at 406 Justice Drive, Lebanon, Ohio 45036.

What was the Infirmary?

In 1829, land was purchased to build the Warren County Infirmary in 1831. For over 130 years, the Infirmary housed and cared for the poor, ill, helpless, and insane of the county.   Fire destroyed the main Infirmary building twice, but did not stop the institution from expanding its facilities, including the mad house, the poor farm, and an operating room on the 3rd floor. Both positive and negative media attention followed the Infirmary, though documentation and records are scarce today. The 3rd Infirmary building, closed in 1967, now houses the Warren County Health and Human Services Center.

A time capsule was placed in the Infirmary's cornerstone in 1916. The time capsule will be extracted from the former Infirmary building in September of next year!

A time capsule was placed in the Infirmary’s cornerstone in 1916. The time capsule will be extracted from the former Infirmary building in September of next year!

Interns Shelby Dixon and Tori Roberts with Deputy Archivist Jenifer Haney, creators of the Infirmary exhibit.

Interns Shelby Dixon and Tori Roberts with Deputy Archivist Jenifer Baker, creators of the Infirmary exhibit.

Time Capsule Location Verified!!!

When we originally opened this exhibit we promised an update regarding the time capsule that was discovered amongst the Commissioner’s Journals & The Western Star from 1916. Now that we are closer to the 100th year anniversary we have begun the initial steps in determining what we are planning to do with the time capsule.

The first step in the process was to verify that there is an actual time capsule located within the building. We are happy to say that we were able to locate what we believe is a metal box within the cornerstone of the old Infirmary building! With the help of Bob Ferrell and his trusty metal detector, he confirmed for us that there is in fact metal located only within the cornerstone. This is extremely exciting news because this gets us one step closer to unlocking the mystery of the past.

Stay tuned for further updates in this unfolding 100 year old mystery!

IMG_3912

Bob Ferrell inspecting the Infirmary building cornerstone for a metal time capsule.

IMG_3911

Bob Ferrell inspecting the Infirmary building cornerstone for a metal time capsule.

 

The Infirmary Farm

The Infirmary property included a working farm to grow food for inhabitants.  Products grown were also taken to the County Fair for an exhibit to showcase Infirmary produce.  Corn, potatoes, cabbages, turnips, melons, tomatoes, and other vegetables were  grown along with a fruit orchard and livestock.

Picture1

News clipping from The Western Star, September 27, 1900

Picture2

News clipping from The Western Star, September 27, 1900

Picture3

‘Jennie, Sophie, and Mary Bowker at the fair , 1915’ from Leah Jones’ scrapbook

Picture4

‘Haymakers’ from Leah Jones’ scrapbook

The Infirmary in the News

Since Infirmary records are scarce due to multiple disasters, newspaper articles are helpful in bridging the information gap. Newspapers like The Western Star and Cincinnati Enquirer reported on the good and the bad at the Infirmary, giving detailed accounts and colorful opinions. From feuds to fires, local news sources did not hold back on keeping the public informed on what was new at the Infirmary.

 

Filthy, Clubbed, and 1915 Fire News Articles 1

Cincinnati Enquirer, 1891

1917 New Building Full Page  Article

Western Star, 1917

The Infirmary, 1831-1967

In 1829, land was purchased to build the Warren County Infirmary in 1831. For over 130 years, the Infirmary housed and cared for the poor, ill, helpless, and insane of the county. Fire destroyed the main Infirmary building twice, but did not stop the institution from expanding its facilities, including the mad house, the poor farm, and an operating room on the 3rd floor. Both positive and negative media attention followed the Infirmary, though documentation and records are scarce today. The 3rd Infirmary building, closed in 1967, now houses the Warren County Health and Human Services Center.

'Taken during fire that destroyed building Nov. 2 - 1915' 2

“Taken during fire that destroyed building Nov. 2 – 1915” – Leah Jones Scrapbook, courtesy of Warren County Historical Society

'Ruins'

“Ruins…Some more ruins” – Leah Jones Scrapbook, courtesy of Warren County Historical Society

Third Infirmary through the trees (far) 2

“Infirmary” – Leah Jones Scrapbook, courtesy of Warren County Historical Society

The Sweetheart of the Infirmary…

Leah Jones kept a scrapbook of photographs during her 40 years involved with the Infirmary. Her parents, William N. Thompson and Ottie D. Luce, became Superintendent and matron of the institution on March 1, 1913. Leah and her parents , who received high remarks as leaders at the institution, lived at the Infirmary. After her parents retired, Leah and her husband Jack, married February 25, 1918, became matron and Superintendent in 1931. Her scrapbook holds some of the only known photographs taken at the Infirmary still available today.

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