“From Poor House to Haunted House” in Historic Illinois

My article, “From Poor House to Haunted House: The Coles County Poor Farm,” was recently featured in the August 2011 issue of Historic Illinois, a publication of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. It is a shortened version of a paper I read at the 2010 Conference on Illinois History in Springfield, and it chronicles the history of the poor farm from 1870 to the present day. To download and read the article in .pdf, click on the cover image or click this link (pdf will open in new browser window).

Although Ashmore Estates gained notoriety during the time it was a psychiatric facility and later abandoned, for most of its history it was known as the almshouse on the Coles County Poor Farm. The Coles County Poor Farm sat on the same property outside of Ashmore, Illinois for 89 years, between 1870 and 1959. The current building, as it stands today, was built in 1916. At any given time, the building was home to between 30 and 40 “inmates,” many of whom, because of the age at which they came to the farm, died there. It is estimated that over 100 inmates died on the farm in its 89 year history. On September 23rd, Ashmore Estates will be featured on the season premier of Ghost Adventures, the Travel Channel’s top-rated program.

About Michael Kleen

Michael Kleen is an author, raconteur, and freelance columnist. He has a M.A. in History and M.S. in Education. He lives in Rockford, Illinois, where he was the 2013 Republican candidate for mayor.

Posted on September 9, 2011, in Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Thank you! I it seems I can get that off amazon and will do so.

    Also I am seriously having problems finding good straight eye level photos. I have scoured google image search and flickr. Any particular website you would suggest?

  2. I would suggest you get my book “Paranormal Illinois,” there’s a whole chapter on the history and hauntings of Ashmore Estates – it is very comprehensive and you should find all the info you need in there!

  3. I’m doing some research on this building as a side hobby. Interesting info is hard to come by and I thank you for this post. Don’t suppose you have a collection of links I could read?

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