On the Edge of Town: Almshouses of Western New York

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Ask Seller a Question. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, cities and towns were bustling places in Western New York. Those who could not afford to care for themselves were sent to a building at the edge of town.


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Whether they were called almshouses, the poorhouses, or county homes, these facilities have a mixed legacy that is both inspiring and controversial. This book tells the story of the almshouses of Western New York. Visit Seller's Storefront.

On the edge of town : almshouses in Western New York - People Inc Press

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Canadian and U. If your book order is heavy or oversized, we may contact you regarding any extra shipping costs. In , Monroe County established an Alms house to care for the growing population of poor in the community. The beginning of construction of the Erie Canal in attracted many skilled and unskilled laborers in search of jobs.

The increased commerce and competition for work fueled the rise in poverty and the indigent. By the late s, a separate wing was constructed to house the mentally insane and the steady increase in patients precipitated the construction of a separate building on South Avenue.

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This new facility was named the Monroe County Insane Asylum. The rising concern over the care of the mentally insane prompted the New York State legislature to pass legislation that provided the funding of state hospitals to care for these patients. That same year, the hospital incorporated a Training School for Nurses that operated until The name of the institution was changed to the Rochester Psychiatric Center in and continues to serve the Rochester community. The original Almshouse continued to operate and shares roots of its origin with the Monroe County Insane Asylum and today continues as the Monroe Community Hospital.

The Almshouse on South Avenue remained the sole caregiver to the communities poor until the establishment of St.

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By the early twentieth-century, over crowding and concerns over fire safety prompted the county government to construct a full sized hospital. Its medical focus was the care and rehabilitation of the chronically ill. Between the s and s, the institution primarily served as a General Hospital, providing medical, surgical, maternity, pediatric, and dental care for the impoverished. In , the name was changed to the Monroe Community Hospital for the Care of the Chronically Ill to better reflect its shift to treating the elderly population.

Around , the name was shortened to Monroe Community Hospital. The hospital remains today as an important health care provider in the Rochester Community.

Rochesters Early Hospitals

In the years after the civil war leading up to the First World War, many private and specialty hospitals were established to serve specific groups of patients. Rochester hosted a municipal hospital and several private hospitals that specialized in the treatment of children, the mentally ill, and patients of contagious diseases. The first of these began as a group of buildings behind St. It was located on Clifton Street behind St.

Its primary use was to quarantine contagious disease patients, such as soldiers suffering from smallpox after returning from the Civil War. Later that year, a location behind the Mount Hope Cemetery along the Genesee River flats was found suitable for the new hospital. Originally known as the Rapids Hospital, but by December , the name was changed to Hope Hospital.

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The location consisted of a 40 year old, two-story farm house and two erected wards capable of housing 16 patients. Its location on the east side of the Genesee River was susceptible to flooding and had only one shallow well as a water source and was closely situated beside the Lehigh Valley Railroad tracks. The location is presently occupied by the University of Rochester River campus. George W. Goler, remarked that it remained inadequate for its purposes until its relocation in first years of the new century. The small-pox epidemic of precipitated the expansion of the hospital to combat the gradual increase of patients.

The deplorable conditions prompted the addition of many tents, improved sanitation, and better administrative management to combat the influx of patients. By the spring of , plans for a new municipal hospital north of the city eventually resulted in the burning of remnants of the Pest House at Hope Hospital.

The new location of what was now called the Rochester Municipal Hospital was at the intersection of Culver and Waring roads on the present location of Frederick Douglass Junior High School. It was opened in with beds as an isolation hospital contagious diseases, primarily tuberculosis. It operated at this location until when a new bed municipal hospital was constructed adjoining Strong Memorial hospital on Crittenden Blvd.

Charges of neglect and incompetence were directed at the City Health Officer, Dr. Goler and his assistant and administrator of Hope Hospital, Dr. William M. The final report of the committee called for the dismissal of Goler and Barron, but the political climate of the city prevented their dismissal. Supporters of Goler and the Health Department argued that Goler had called for better facilities and adequate funding before the epidemic but was ignored and the health department did the best they could with the resources provided them by the city government.

Goler would continue and have a distinguished career as the City Health Officer retiring in The growth of multiple community hospitals and the advancement of medicine ultimately forced the closing of the municipal hospital and it would eventually be absorbed into the Strong Memorial Hospital in the s. The hospital was formed by Doctor Edward M. Moore, M.

It is now thought that the increase in infant deaths were the result of improper pasteurization and refrigeration of milk. By , the hospital expanded its service to children by including care for patients with long-term convalescent care from conditions such as malnutrition and rheumatic heart. The improvised tent city was replaced with the construction of a wooden structure starting in The hospital continued to grow with the generous support of the community. That same year the hospital extended its months of operation to year round in response to the needs of the community. The hospital was moved to its present location on Scottsville road in The origin of Park Avenue Hospital began in when Dr.

John F. Whitbeck, a respected Rochester Surgeon and physician at the Rochester City Hospital, commissioned the construction of a three-story brick building on the south-west corner of Park Avenue and Brunswick Street. The twenty-five bed hospital operated for about ten years before closing due to financial insolvency. The building that was referred to as Dr. Howard Bradstreet. Whitbeck by Dr. Charles R. Barber who, after remodeling, opened the renamed 40 bed hospital as the Park Avenue Hospital in