Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Oct 25

Gesundheit! Cold/Flu Season and the Greene County Infirmary

Posted on October 25, 2019 at 2:59 PM by Melissa Dalton

Cold and flu season is upon us, and throughout our records, especially probate records, we find various advertisements for “cures.” Additionally, we recently received some items from the old Infirmary. As such, we thought it might be interesting to combine these for a new exhibit, “Gesundheit! Cold/Flu Season and the Greene County Infirmary”.

This new exhibit looks to some of the bizarre and antiquated remedies of the 1800s. We found this ad for Dr. Bull’s Cough Syrup (Fig 1). The ad doesn’t come out and say it cures consumption (aka, tuberculosis), but it sure implies it! Or how about this one? Hagee’s Cordial of Cod Liver Oil – “The greatest remedy for all affections of throat and lungs ever discovered by medical science” (Fig 2).

Fig 1. Dr. Bull's Cough Syrup (JPG)
Fig 1. Dr. Bull’s Cough Syrup ad (Greene County Archives)

Fig 2. Hagee's Cordial of Cod Liver Oil (JPG)
Fig 2. Hagee’s Cordial of Cod Liver Oil (Greene County Archives)

Washington Galloway also contributed some of his own remedies for ailments associated with cold and flu. He offers a cure for asthma in his recipe book (which can flare up this time of year) (Fig 3). After we read the ingredients and instructions, none of us were too interested in trying it.

Fig 3. Washington Galloway Field Book 33 p 20 (JPG)
Fig 3. Washington Galloway Fieldbook 33, page 20 (Greene County Archives)

We’re not sure how successful any of these remedies were, but there were times that people needed more advanced intervention. Although many may not realize it, the Greene County Infirmary provided such services for residents. So, how about a little bit of history of the Infirmary?

The Greene County “Poorhouse” was established in 1829 on land on Dayton-Xenia Road, after the Ohio General Assembly passed a law requiring counties to provide assistance for the poverty-stricken residents of their county. In 1850, the General Assembly required all poorhouses to be reconstituted as infirmaries. These infirmaries weren’t just for the destitute or homeless, but also served as a hospital and a place for the sick and mentally ill.

As the county’s population increased, so did the need for additional space. In 1840, a new building was constructed, which was two stories and measured 40 x 100 feet. An addition was built, a spring house, in 1859 and they constructed a separate building in 1861 as a “house for the insane.”

Even with the additions, it was evident by 1867 that a larger structure was necessary. The Board of Commissioners approved the construction of a facility, which was three stories and increased the footprint to 150 x 50 feet, and had 150 beds available (Fig 4).

Fig 3. Plans for the 1869 Greene County Infirmary (JPG)

Fig 3. Plans for the 1869 Greene County Infirmary (JPG)
Fig 3. Plans for the 1869 Greene County Infirmary (JPG)
Fig 4. Plans for the 1869 Greene County Infirmary building (Greene County Archives)

The new Greene County Infirmary was opened in 1869, and was a fully-functioning farm and was almost a self-sustaining facility. They had gardens and livestock, and the majority of the residents worked various jobs/completed daily tasks in order to keep the facility running.

The Infirmary was open for over a century. However, as state laws changed, and the facility aged, the problems seemed almost insurmountable. The residents were not allowed to provide manual labor in return for their lodging and food, and the building was falling into disrepair. It finally reached a point where the County knew they could not sustain the facility.

In 1975, a levy was approved by voters, and a new building was constructed. Greenewood Manor opened in 1977, and the remaining residents from the Infirmary were moved to the new nursing home (Fig 5). The Board of Commissioners determined the Infirmary was beyond repair, and several floors were condemned. By the mid-1980s, the County decided to have the building razed (Fig 6). Today all that remains is the barn.

Fig 5. Aerial of the Greene County Infirmary and Greenewood Manor, 1979 (JPG)
Fig 5. Aerial of the Greene County Infirmary and Greenewood Manor (Greene County Archives)

Fig 6. Greene County Infirmary being razed (JPG)
Fig 6. Greene County Infirmary being razed (Greene County Archives)

If you are interested in seeing the exhibit, stop by the Archives! It will be up through the end of the year.

Until Next Time!

Greenewood Manor Collection
Parks & Trails Photographic Collection
Greene County Archives


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