submitted by
Note: She received this information as a result of sending questions to the Schoolcraft County website:

The following was a response from the Schoolcraft County Historian:

There are no records for the poor house, they were destroyed many years ago. I have answered to the best on this line. It was a county operating operation then closed for many many years, until a private party took over, all long dead. Party rented it from the county for a $1.00 per year. Closed sold the building to the private party they closed the place, we called it the pest house. If any records exist they would be with the Michigan Health Department, Lansing. If they kept record of this type of place. Why not call the present owner, Barbara Lamb. She runs it as a bed & breakfast. Elk. St. Manistique MI. 49854

The following was quoted from an article from the September 14, 1886 Semi-Weekly newspaper, which was out of Manistique. (It was posted by Wendy Burnis.)

Poor Farm. A visit to the poor farm of this county will convince any one that toiling the soil is a profitable business in this locality if it is properly conducted. Although the soil is not considered the very best, yet it produces larger crops than any other farm in the county. On a recent visit there the writer was shown the nicest potatoes, largest turnips, weightiest cabbage, longest raddishes, beets; biggest squashes, etc., we have seen for many years. The orchard, although quite young, bears some of the handsomest apples grown; smaller fruits of all kinds are grown with success. Besides the well-suited climate for growing crops on that farm, is the further fact that the gentleman in charge-Mr Kinney is a practical farmer and understands just how to fit the ground for planting; what kinds of seed to sow and when to do it. When he took charge of that place a little over one year ago, it was an unsightly piece of land, slovenly cleared, with brush fences, tumble-down building, etc. His efforts being seconded by the board of commissioners a change has been made; the cleared part of the farm is cleared; the brush fences have been replaced by good board fences, many of the stumps have disappeared and the plow has fitted many acres for crops that were never dragged before. New buildings were erected and the grounds around them have been graded and beautified so that now it is a pleasure to visit that locality. The house under the management of Mrs. K. is a home in which any unfortunate person would be well cared for. Everything about that house and the premises wears an air of neatness and system that is commendable. If you want to see a good farm, well managed, ride "over the hills to the poor house."

Here is another article sent in from Wendy Burnis. All of the above is posted on the Schoolcraft County webpage.

This information was obtained from the Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners meetings minutes.

1-7-1885: We the undersigned a committe appointed by your Hon. Body at its last meeting to locate a tract of land suitable for a poor farm for the use of the County have had the matter under our consideration and beg leave to report that we find as follows, to wit:The P. Dowsey farm of 160 acres, 40 acres cleared and under fair state of cultivation with some small fruit and about 80 apple trees, some of them having fruit on the past year, a large frame for a house two stories high but not finished a log house, a log barn, fair fences. A school house near by situated on the State Road about 6 miles southwest from this village and about 2 1/2 miles from the village of Thompson the said fair can be had for $2500 dollars. 

This is the site that the poor farm was built on. It stayed that way until 1889 when the commissioners constituted a committee to see what disposition can be made of the Poor Farm and report to the next meeting of this Board and that the Poor Commissioners are hereby instructed to make no further improvements to said Poor Farm after this date (4-10-1889). 

Dated 1-6-1891

The attached notice, by the order of the Poor Farm Committee was inserted in the Manistique Pioneer and Manistique Morning Star, and in answer to which three sealed bids for the said farm were handed to A.L. Hubbell, chairman of said committee, to be opened when the said committe met. The sealed bids were opened withe the result is, as follows;

*Donald Ross bid $1300.00
*James A. Presley bid $1650.00
*Lemuel S. Rice bid $1850.00

Said committe accepted the bid of Lemuel S. Rice, and therefore recommend that the board of Supervisors at their January meeting, execute a contract to Lemuel S. Rice for said Poor Farm in accordance with the terms of the notice of sale as advertised. Then they appointed a committee of three to look up grounds to build a poor house upon said grounds to be in the village of Manistique and to procure plans for a suitable building to accommodate the county poor said committee to advertise for sealed bids to contract the said building in accordance with plan specifications decided upon by said committee. 

In 1904 the committee decided on a tract of land that was formerly owned by the Weston Lumber Company and was situated in the village of Manistique, to wit: The northeast corner of the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section eleven, township forty one north range sixteen west, Michigan, running thence west 197 feet, thence south 221 feet, thence east 197 feet, thence north 221 feet to plce of beginning. To be used by said county as a location for a County Poor House. This location is the current sight of the Elk Street Lodge. In 1908 the building was completed and it was opened up as the Poor House.

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