News and Tribune

Recent Local News

July 3, 2013

NEW ALBANY BICENTENNIAL: Floyd County Poor House

Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series about the people and events that have shaped the 200-year history of New Albany. Read all installments by clicking on the bicentennial link under the “seasonal content” header at newsandtribune.com

 

Towering on a hill near Sam Peden Community Park, the old Poor Farm remains standing, a testament to both the charity and, at times, the malice of the local people. For more than 100 years, the structure has housed those children, elderly and mentally challenged citizens of New Albany and all of Floyd County who could not provide for themselves. 

Despite a 2008 vote by the county to tear it down and construct a new youth shelter in its place, no definitive plans have been made on the Poor Farm’s fate. In 2012, the shelter was moved to a different facility and, ironically, a poor economy has delayed the razing of the decrepit historic building.

Few early records can be found that detail the beginnings of the community “poor house.” But almost since its inception, the county, through its residents, had set aside money to be used to help the indigent. According to Rich Green, a researcher that studied the building for a local company and released his findings in the “Review of Literature and Historical Documentation of the Floyd County Infirmary, New Albany, Indiana,” the farm began in 1838 as a lone log cabin. In 1875, a bigger structure was constructed with additions added in 1878. Fire caused by an ignited flue during a storm destroyed a significant portion of the complex in 1916, with the current standing building being built shortly thereafter. 

Called many names through the ages, including the County Poor Asylum and the Floyd County Home for Aged, the building has housed some interesting New Albany citizens. Former slave turned Union Army nurse Lucy Higgs Nichols died there in 1915. While Nichols would be interred in West Haven Cemetery, the grounds around the home have served as a burial ground for many of these poor inhabitants. Green found evidence based on ground contour that at least two separate graveyards may have existed specifically for the institution, including that of the marked Potter’s Field. 

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Recent Local News
LOCAL MAGAZINES
Easter 2014 photos


Click on any photo to purchase it.

SPECIAL CONTENT
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.