History of the Hardin County Infirmary
|copied from the following website: HERITAGE PURSUIT at http://heritagepursuit.com/HarIndex.htm|
[Note: Heritage Pursuit is an extremely valuable website which deserves your attention and, if possible, your patronage. PHL ]
|where they have published the following book:|
The HISTORY OF HARDIN COUNTY OHIO
I LL U S T R A T E D.
|from which we clipped the following (which can be found on pages 328 - 330)|
Prior to the erection of the County Infirmary, the poor of Hardin County were "farmed out," each township contracting for their support to the lowest bidder. In April, 1858, a proposition was submitted to the people as to whether a poor farm should be procured and an infirmary erected, but it was defeated by large majority. About 1866, the Commissioners purchased 160 acres of land, of John Parkinson, located two miles and a half northeast of Kenton, but nothing was done toward improving it, nor was it ever occupied for the purpose intended. In the fall of 1868. B. R. Brunson and David Snodgrass, two of the County Commissioners, concluded that the farm was not, a suitable site for the infirmary, and against the protest of Samuel Wood, the other member of the board, voted to change the location, and selected a site west of Kenton, on the Lima road. in Section 31, Pleasant Township. The land was owned by Dr. W. H. Philips, from whom they purchased 160 acres, he taking the old farm in part payment. A further addition of forty-four acres was bought of Dr. Philips and Benjamin Rarey, in 1871, the farm now containing 204 acres. The design for the building was furnished by M. Rumbaugh; in 1869, the structure was commenced, finished the following year, and opened for inmates January 5, 1871, under the superintendence of A. W. Fisher.
It is a large three-storied brick building, the shape of the letter H, and rests on a solid stone foundation. The trimmings are of stone and galvanized iron, while the front and ends of the structure, with their numerous juttings, angles, circular and dormer windows near the roof, presents a picturesque and handsome appearance. The main building is 50x112 feet in size, with a two-story wing in the rear of the west end 46x60. On each side of the main entrance, which is reached by a flight of stone steps, is a large bay window extending the full height of the building, adding much to its architectural beauty. Immediately behind the infirmary is a brick building used for a bake-house, containing a winter cellar, and close to it is the smoke-house. Still farther to the rear stands a large T-shaped frame barn on a brick foundation; also the usual number of other outbuildings necessary for a well-regulated farm. Near the barn, is a pond of water sometimes resorted to in filling the boilers, while a Fairbanks scales is 1ocated in the same vicinity.
The interior of the infirmary is as follows: Each story is divided into four quarters, by two large, airy halls through the center of the building, one running east and west, and the other north and south. The first story contains a men's sitting-room, a store-room, two dining-rooms, two kitchens, two cellars and two bath-rooms. Six rooms in the central portion of the second story are occupied by the Superintendent and family. In the west end of this story are four sleeping rooms for male occupants, while the east end contains the same number for female inmates. The third story is of similar construction, the male and female patients each occupying five rooms in their respective departments. This story also contains a water closet in each end, and two rooms for patients with contagious diseases. In the first story of the rear wing are located the engine, boiler, steam heating apparatus and wash-room; and above this. in the second story, is the laundry, and five cells for insane patients. This part of the infirmary also contains the mill for grinding corn. etc., and still to the rear is the fuel house and workshop. The institution is heated throughout by steam, and has telephonic communication with Kenton. The general furnishings are similar to the average public building of this sort, and the whole interior presents well-lighted and healthful appearance. The different stories are supplied with water from. two tanks located in the garret of the infirmary, which are filled by steam power from a 2,000 barrel cistern in the rear yard. The water in one of these tanks is kept heated during the cold weather, thereby giving the inmates the comforts of hot and cold water baths. In the front wall, near the east end of the building is a marble slab, bearing the following inscription:
Near the west end is another tablet. which reads as follows:
Upon the completion of the building, Bernard Mathews, Thomas Espy and
Archibald Davis were appointed as Directors of the institution, and served
until the October election of 1871, when John Elder, Jacob Sponsler and
Benjamin Beamer were elected. Thus the board remained one year, and in
1873 it stood Sponsler, Beamer and John Elder; 1874, Beamer, Elder and
Theodore Strauder; 1875, Elder, Strauder and Daniel Benton; 1876, Strauder,
Benton and Paul Castor; 1877, Benton, Castor and Conrad Kahler; 1878,
Castor, Kahler and David Obenour; 1879, Kabler, Obenour and John Pfeiffer;
1880, Obenour, Pfeiffer and Silas Stevenson; 1881, Pfeiffer, Stevenson and
David Obenour; 1882, Stevenson, Obenour and John Pfeiffer; 1883, Obenour,
Pfeiffer and Silas Stevenson.
The grounds in front of the building are planted with flowering shrubs and ornamental shade trees, while a circular driveway cuts the landscape into artistic designs, the circle in turn being divided by a walk from the front gate to the main entrance of the infirmary. Surrounding the building is the splendid farm under a high state of cultivation, and possessing twelve acres of fruit trees. The view from the summit of the infirmary is one of the grandest in this part of Ohio. Overlooking Kenton on the east, and following the windings of the Scioto River as it flows lazily onward through the rich valley, the eye may gaze off upon beautiful natural landscapes, and the scenes drink in the grandeur of God's sublime creation. The infirmary, as it stands to-day, including farm and improvements thereon, has cost about $80,000 Dr. A. G. Byers gave as his judgment, all things considered, that Hardin County has the best infirmary in the State. It is an admitted fact, disputed by no one that the prime mover in the purchase of this farm and the erection of its elegant and commodious building, was Benjamin R. Brunson. To him then is due much of the honor of this grand monument to the Christian charity, growth and progress of Hardin County.