Friday, June 3, 2011

The County Poor Farm

The El Paso County Poor Farm was built in 1900.  It was located where Bear Creek Park is today, north of the community garden.  I found additional information on this early social service on..

LG Niles served as the Poor Farm Superintendent for a time, and his wife Catherine was the matron.  She died at the county farm while they were working there, and her daughter completed the remainer of the term as the matron.  LG's granddaughter Donna Koop furnished these photographs of the county farm.  The family believes that he served two terms at the farm, during the 1930s and 1940s.

Grandma Niles
Grandpa Niles

A long driveway entered the facility off of Rio Grande.  Elaine MacKay said that the main hall on the poor farm is seen on the right side of this photo.  It was a two-story brick building.  Farm outbuildings, as seen above with Grandma, may have been on the north side of Rio Grande.

Eloise Niles Whalen by the guest cottage

After Catherine Niles' death in 1942, their daughter Madeline Niles-Baxter took over the matron duties for the remainder of that year's term.  She lived in the guest house, which was located near the Superintendent's house.

Stairway at the Poor House
West of the poor farm was the pest house, where residents with very contagious diseases, such as TB or small pox, lived.  This would have been near the "dog park" on 21st Street.  Several graves of county farm residents were moved when 21st Street was expanded.
More information on the Niles Family can be found on the People of Fountain page. 

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