Houghton County Poorhouse

Houghton County Poorhouse

Category Exploration Date Status Province / State Country
Schools and Institutions Abandoned Michigan United States


Information is a little scant on this location, but I have found reference to a facility being here as early as January 18, 1872.

100 acres of land were purchased and cleared, on which were grown potatoes, hay, oats, corn and various other vegetables as well as horses, cattle and other livestock. Very few tax dollars were used in its operation or upkeep as it became largely self-sufficient.

As of 1910, the staff consisted of a keeper, a cook, 2 female servants and one hired man. At the same time, there were 55 men and 11 women, ages ranging from a 24 year-old man to an 86 year-old woman.

A cemetery, known commonly as a potter's field, existed on the site where those who had no family and / or no funds were buried up until the 1920's.

By 1937 there were over 100 people living at the farm. One half of the second floor was for women, the other half of the second, and all of the third floor was for men. Beds were spaced between 8 and 10 feet apart, with a curtain separating them.

In 1953, farming activities were halted by the government as the milk was unpasteurized, the beef was not Grade A, and eggs were not being candled. Social Security had begun, and the need to have the "inmates", as they were known, work was no longer necessity.

It appears that the entire facility ceased operations in 1968.

Personal Commentary: 

On my first approach, it became apparent that there would be no getting to the location without going through someone's back yard. As I began driving away, I used my GPS's "Detour" function to see if another way existed. Sure enough...

The GPS took me around the hill and onto a back road from which I was able to gain access without violating anyone's yard.

The building, as you can see, is crumbling into the ground and doesn't seem to have many years left in it. It appears that part of it has been used for storage since closure.

Despite its dilapidated state, I was happy to find a few interesting things within the ruins to photograph.

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