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Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Defiance County Infirmary

From the Defiance Democrat - October 8, 1909

The infirmary was located on Evansport Road, south of Evansport about eight miles.  It was a place for the aged, the infirm, the disabled - most of the inmates, as they were called, could not care for themselves and had no one to help them.  Probably there were some with developmental disabilities or some other disability that made it difficult for them to fend for themselves, as among the population were younger adults, as well as the aged. 

The infirmary sat on a working farm of over 200 acres, the proceeds of which contributed to the home's operations. Those inmates who were able helped on the farm and those who could paid some room and board.  Part of the county's taxes were also marked for a Poor Fund to cover those who were indigent.

The following newspaper article was condensed for the purpose of the blog, but it may be read in full on microfilm at the Defiance Public Library.

Defiance County Institution Might Be Copied After By Other Similar Institutions in the State.
A Visit Through the Home

"...The Defiance County Infirmary is without a doubt one of the best arranged and equipped institutions of its kind in the entire Buckeye state...During the past year, a new building has been completed at an expenditure of about $25,000 and an electric light plant installed at a cost of about $15,000 ($1500).  In addition to this, the other buildings on the farm have been improved and the farm brought up to a much higher standard.
Men and women have separate dining rooms. The dining rooms each have a seating capacity of 24 and are airy and neat.  The ceilings are of steel, the walls colored prettily and the floors hardwood.
On each floor is located a line of hose attached to the water system insuring the best of fire protection.

The electric lighting plant that furnishes light to the Infirmary...is located in a one story brick building to the rear of the main building.  The dynamo...is operated by a 25 h.p. gasoline engine.  This is assisted by a storage battery with a capacity of 18, 16 c.p. for 8 hour lamps.  Each evening the engine is shut down about 8:30 and the lights burned the balance of the night from the storage battery.  The plant was installed at an expenditure of $1500 and in time the light will be carried over to the Children's Home, across the road from the Infirmary buildings.  The plant is capable of taking care of both institutions."

Photo from the vertical files at the Defiance Public Library
 The article goes on to describe each area of the infirmary - the kitchen, sitting rooms and sleeping apartments, sitting rooms and lavatories on each floor, large clothes closets, a medical department with a well stocked pharmacy and rooms for those who are sick.  The building boasted hot and cold water, large verandas, and an excellent heating system.
Praise was heaped upon Supt. Glen Leaders and his wife who served as Matron and their caring attitude toward each person at the infirmary.

"No dissatisfaction can be found among the inmates of the institution.  Instead they all are glad that they have such a home.  Said one old gentleman who is 92 years of age, 'I want to stay here as long as it remains as it does now while Supt. Leaders is in charge.'  Another said, 'he is like a brother to me.  When I was sick, every night he came and sat by my bedside for awhile.  I would shed tears if I had to leave.'

As an evidence of how the inmates like the place and are perfectly satisfied, Norman Smith of Hicksville, an old gentleman who has lived at the home for some time had an opportunity to leave.  E. P. Morton, a wealthy relative, desired him to come and live with him and personally called at the Infirmary, asking Mr. Smith to accompany him home.  The old gentleman said that he was perfectly satisfied and as long as Mr. Leaders was superintendent, he would remain, paying board..."

Mischief at the Infirmary!

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