Old Herkimer County Home

In 1824 the Herkimer Board of Supervisors, upon recommendation of one of its committees, voted to purchase a house and lot in Ilion for $2,000.00 to be used for poor or indigent persons. This property was located on the south side of the highway close to the canal and Steele Creek. It was here the first county poor house was organized and shortly after was found to be not adapted for all necessary needs. After much bickering and delay, authorization was given to build a new poor house. It was on January 14, 1846, that the Herkimer County Board of Supervisors decided by a margin of one single vote to not use a neighboring location in German Flatts but to use another location. The new home would be two miles south of Middleville on the Middleville Road (Route 28). It contained the main building of stone and several frame structures, where it existed for thirty-five years. In 1880 the State Board of Charities insisted that because of the overcrowding and lack of proper facilities, that new actions needed to be taken again. The old frame structures and some of the stone building were torn down at a cost of about $25,000.00. The main stone residence was remodeled and was in use for many years.

By 1908 the County Home added a fourteen-bed hospital building to the south wing at a cost of $6,000.00. In 1928, the facilities were again deemed overcrowded and on May 16, 1928 another $75,000.00 was allotted for the cost of constructing and erecting a three story addition to the north end of the main building with an additional one-story addition added to the hospital building. Over the years minor changes had taken place both inside and out for the comfort of those whose home it was. The County Home residents used to work on the farmlands surrounding the home and it gave them something to do. Over the years residents also took care of various farm animals. Now, in modern times, there is an activity director who leads activities with the residents in the Activities room on the home premises.

Just up the road from the County Home on a high bank, with a cement retaining wall embracing the hillside, many residents of the home were buried. This cemetery has stone markers with numbers on them. The County Home kept records of the numbers in a log with the names of the person interred by number. The numbers and the persons buried using this marker system can be found elsewhere in the cemetery listings or at the Country Manor. The use of this cemetery ended in the mid-1930s; however, the deceased are not forgotten as the cemetery is well maintained.

Before the State had regulations for disposing of trash, etc. the County Home also had their own private dump a little further down from the cemetery property. As many years have gone by there is a driveway through the area, and no trace of what used to be the former landfill. A tributary called Stony Creek leads down through the area and empties into West Canada Creek.

Fishermen scale down the steep incline which borders Stony Creek to cast their lines at West Canada Creek, which borders the old railroad track. When the railroad was in operation there was a train stop by the County Home. Visitors to the home and the employees enjoyed the comfort of the train vs. stagecoach on the old plank road before automobiles.

In the late 1960's what became Herkimer County Home for the Aged had again outgrown its needs, and needed modernization. A new state-of-the-art building with electrical heat was approved and constructed on the other side of the highway (directly across the street from the old location on Route 28.) By the 1990's, a name change was approved - Country Manor. The residents living there now come from all walks of life and reside in a beautiful country setting.

The Herkimer County firemen's training area is now located on the site of the old County Home.

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Created 3/19/01
Copyright © 2001 Betsy Voorhees
Digitally manipulated image copyright © 2001 Martha S. Magill. Not to be used for any medium without prior written permission.
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