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More on the York County Almshouse 1878 improvements

The York County Almshouse by Lewis Miller
The York County Almshouse by Lewis Miller

The first buildings at the York County Almshouse were erected in 1805 at a cost of $4,761. According to Gibson’s 1886 History of York County, Pennsylvania the “poor of all the townships of the county moved thither in April 1806.” Buildings need upkeep, and according to the Lewis Miller drawing above, some “repairs” were done in 1850; many more were needed 25 years later. As promised in my recent post here is more from the March 12, 1878 York Gazette on the then recent “improvements” to the York County Almshouse:

The basement, which contains the cooking apparatus, has been re-arranged so as to separate the eating department from the cooking department and at the same time separating the sexes, and otherwise dividing that portion of the building into rooms for the greater convenience of the Steward, &c.

The second floor which contained the office of the Steward, large sitting rooms at either end, and rooms for the Steward’s family has been re-arranged, whereby a Directors’ Room, which was in late years located in the hospital building–has been added to the Steward’s office; the two sitting rooms, before unnecessarily large, have been reduced in size, and a dining room added.

The third floor has also undergone a complete metamorphosis, whereby additional rooms have been created and others reduced in size, all of which is conducive to comfort and convenience, and especially to greater privacy, which a certain degree of self respect in every human being craves.

The attic has not undergone much change except where it was necessary to strengthen and make the building more secure. The stairways and entry ways have been wainscoted and gas and water has been introduced into the building. The unsightly roof which projected from the front of the building between the first and second stories has given place to a balcony which is a tasteful addition to the appearance of the building, and convenient and pleasant as a resort.

The entire building has also been painted in a light and pleasing color. The condition of the building as a whole will commend itself to the taxpayer, and while it is to be regretted that extensive improvements were necessary at all, it is a source of satisfaction that the improvements have been such that another thirty years may expire before it will be found necessary to make any additional expenditure of consequence.

These renovations were to the building that served the poor, but relatively healthy. A larger brick hospital building was erected in 1828 at the cost of $7,800. Gibson’s history notes that a lot of that work was done by inmates (residents), which kept the cost down. The hospital housed the poor who were physically or mentally ill. There were also some renovations and changes in the hospital building in 1878. See my next post for more on the hospital, seemingly a frightening place to live.