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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Sep 02

Preserving History: The Greene County Infirmary and Greenewood Manor

Posted on September 2, 2021 at 9:39 AM by Elise Kelly


Fig. 1 1977 Aerial View of Greenewood Manor (Greenewood Manor Collection)

This past July, after forty-four years, Greenewood Manor (a County-run nursing and rehabilitation center), closed its doors for the last time. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Greenewood Manor struggled to gain and hold residents. For the County, it was no longer economically feasible to operate. To commemorate the history and service of Greenewood Manor, we have created a new online exhibit that chronicles Greenewood Manor and its predecessor, the Greene County Poor House/Infirmary/County Home. 

In 1816, the state of Ohio ratified a bill permitting all Ohio counties the right to establish poor houses in order to meet the needs of the increasing state population. By 1828, the Commissioners of Greene County purchased about one-hundred acres of land in Xenia Township for the purposes of erecting a one-story building for the County's indigent and destitute (See Fig. 2). Stays could be short if the person was able to find work and get back on their feet. Lodging was sparse and minimal.


Fig. 2 Greene County Commissioners' Journal 5, Page 126 (Greene County Archives)

As the years progressed, the poor house began to outgrow its simple structure. By the mid-nineteenth century, the County replaced the building with a two-story structure that included a wing for the mentally ill. By this time, the poor house was also operating as an infirmary. Residents or "inmates," as they were referred to, suffered from disabilities, and physical/mental illnesses. The County's Poor House/Infirmary outgrew its capacity and in 1869 and a grand, three-story structure was built (See Figs. 3 & 4). Included on the plat of land was a farm that the residents worked on (See Fig. 5). In addition, residents were assigned housekeeping duties. All of the residents had to follow a set of strict rules (See Fig. 6). 


Fig. 3 Blueprint of 1869 Greene County Infirmary/Poor House/County Home (Greene County Archives)


Fig. 4 Blueprint of 1869 Greene County Infirmary/Poor House/County Home (Greene County Archives)

01Fig. 5 Exterior view of the Greene County Infirmary/Poor House/County Home and the farm (Greene County Archives)


Fig. 6 The Greene County Infirmary Rules (Greene County Archives)

The daily administrative records reveal the financial accounts, admissions, and discharges of the institution (See Figs. 7, 8, & 9). Conditions were satisfactory according to the visitor's register and a visiting medical doctor. Since its inception, the Poor House/Infirmary/County Home, was governed by a director who was responsible for administrative duties including, examining the conditions of the "inmates" and the manner in which they were fed and clothed. In 1913, these administrative duties were reassigned to the County Commissioners.


Fig. 7 Greene County Poor House/Infirmary/County Home Day Book, 1829-1891 (Greene County Archives)


Fig. 8 Greene County Poor House/Infirmary/County Home Day Book, 1829-1891 (Greene County Archives)


Fig. 9 Greene County Infirmary/County Home Admissions and Discharges Ledger, 1840-1907 (Greene County Archives)

In 1977, after one hundred and eight years, the building could no longer properly house people and was torn down (See Figs. 10 & 11). In November 1975, Greene County voters approved a tax levy for the purpose of constructing a new and modern care center. Construction was completed in 1977 and Greenewood Manor was established (See Fig. 12). Greenewood Manor provided its residents with excellent care and services including: health care; activity programs; dietary and social services; and financial assistance (See Figs. 13 & 14).


Fig. 10 Exterior of Greene County Infirmary/County Home (Greene County Archives)


Fig. 11 Exterior of Greene County Infirmary/County Home being torn down (Greene County Archives)

Exterior of Greenewood Manor (JPG)

Fig. 12 Exterior view of Greenewood Manor (Greenewood Manor Collection)


Fig. 13 Former residents and staff of Greenewood Manor (Greenewood Manor Collection)


Fig. 14 Interior view of Greenewood Manor (Greenewood Manor Collection)

If you would like to see this new exhibit in its entirety, please check out our Flickr page

Until Next Time!

Broadstone, M.A. History of Greene County, Ohio, Volume I. Indianapolis, IN:B.F. Bowen & Co., 1918.
Greene County Commissioners’ Journal 5Greene County Board of Commissioners. Welcome to Greenewood Manor: A Guide for Residents and their Families. 1981.Greene County Records Center & Archives – “Life Among the Lowly: An Early View of an Ohio Poor House.” 


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