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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ottawa County Poor Farm


Isn't this a beautiful barn? It's been around for quite a while, but has been kept up well.
It has an unusual history. This farm began operating in 1866 as the County Poor Farm. There used to be a huge house next to it where people lived, and they were able to work on the farm. As time passed, the people who lived here changed; they were no longer poor and indigent, but more often were mentally challenged in some way. It was used in this way for many years.
I remember coming here when I was in 6th grade. (Which would have been 1970) We came with a group from church to do a Christmas party. I remember being scared and intimidated by these people who acted differently that I was used to.
Things have really changed in the mental health field and more people are living home or in group homes. As a result this place has not been used for several years. The house had fallen into disrepair and was taken down. In 2008, the whole area had fallen into some disrepair. It was decided to turn this 228 acres of land into a county park. It took 2 years to renovate the buildings and clear and renovate the land. In 2010 the park was dedicated.
There are hiking and equestrian trails. There are picnic tables set up for eating. There are plans in the future to use the barn for educational things, and there is also river access that they plan to make available.
I think it's a great way to allow lots of people to enjoy that property.

19 comments:

ancient one said...

Beautiful barn. I'm sure many will enjoy this new park. There was a poor folks home not too far from where we live. The home has been torn down. They have a senior center there now and an educational building, and green houses. Across the road is an old village of yesteryear and a farmer's market that eveyone can enjoy.

Karin said...

Why this is lovely! A great idea to turn it into a park to be used by all who want to! It's a fabulous looking barn!

Lara said...

What a beautiful barn! And to turn it into a park is a very good idea.
Have a wonderful day, Mari.

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

I'm glad to read that it'll be put to good use, instead of selling to some land developer and making it into yet another subdivision as you seem to see all over the areas anymore. Beautiful.

First of the Amaryllis Blooming

Connie said...

i knew a gentleman who lived at this place. He was a special person who had no where else to live. Isn't it wonderful to have group homes available for those people now.

Pat said...

That's one beautiful barn! It does a heart good to hear of the wonderful plans for this area. I'm sure it will be well used and appreciated.
This makes me think of the verse in Matthew that says "the poor you will always have with you". Building and plans change,but the need never goes away.

Mari G said...

I love looking at barns too. Every time I go past a nice one I think of you and how you like to take pics of them.

Jenny the Pirate said...

The red of that barn is just so beautiful, Mari. I'd love to photograph it from many different angles at many different times of day and seasons of the year! What fun. I miss the barns and farmscapes of the beautiful Midwest.

I love how much you appreciate places like this. It says so much about your faith, patriotism, and values.

Happy week!

Karen said...

The barn is beautiful indeed. And using the land for a park now is such good use of a beautiful place for everyone to enjoy.

Tricia said...

Ohhh I sooo hope you link up to Barn Charm tonight... this will be a wonderful addition!!! =)
It's a beautiful barn & even if they couldn't save the house, I'm glad they saved the barn!!! =)

Raise Them Up said...

That barn is massive! And beautiful! What a great idea to make the property into a park!

And congratulations on winning the Rebecca St. James CD! Drop me a note with your mailing address so I can have the CD sent your way! I hope you'll enjoy it! :)

Brenda said...

That's wonderful that they have renovated and not just let it go. Beautiful barn!

~Ginger said...

When I was a kid my folks would warn us that if we were not good stewards we would end up at the poor farm. It always scared me. That barn looks pretty nice I must say, but I'm glad I never ended up there. Interesting post Mari.

Do you like history? If you do you must not really be my sister.

Christina said...

What a beautiful barn it was. You don't see many like this anymore. It's too bad it's gone but it was an awesome idea to use the land as a county park so everyone can enjoy it. We had a place for the mentally challenged that was sort of like this. It was an old house, but kept up pretty well. My best friend used to work there. You got me thinking...I wonder what happened to that place.

All My Blessings said...

Hi Maribeth!!! I've been looking around on my blog lately and I was delighted to see your picture of this old barn!!! I used to work at the "Haven" years ago and I miss it terribly:( I see you still take beautiful pics....keep up the good work, k

Shelly said...

Awesome! Way to make good use of something.

Tricia said...

Ah Ha! I found my mystery comment! WoW I thought I was losing it!!! =)
LoL!

septembermom said...

I love the character and charm of barns. Interesting post Mari. Thank you!

Sally said...

My aunt and uncle used to manage the "County Farm", until they retired in the 1970's. I used to spend time there with the "patients" and family. So many memories of the "big house". I was very sad to hear that they had to tear it down because it had fallen into such disrepair. Thanks for sharing the picture of the barn; I spent time up there with cousins in the hayloft.