Greene County Almshouse
In the 1800’s almost every county in Illinois had what was called an Almshouse, or a poor farm. Over time the almshouses in Illinois became basically the dumping grounds for the unwanted. If you were indigent, mentally ill, old, physically or mentally handicapped, and had no one to care for you, a county almshouse is where you would most likely spend the rest of your life. Conditions in the almshouses were miserable at best. There was hardly any sanitation or access to medical care in many rural almshouses. If you unfortunately suffered from a mental defect or handicap, you would most likely spend the rest of your life either chained to your bed or to the wall. Almshouses were dirty and often the breeding grounds for disease. Many almshouses were run by corrupt officials, whose greed often caused many to starve as money marked for their care was siphoned away into their pockets. It wasn’t until the opening of the Bartonville Asylum near Peoria, Illinois, that the mentally ill and handicapped were taken out of the almshouses and placed into what was supposed to be a suitable institution. Unfortunately Bartonville suffered from the same kinds of corruption that plagued the county almshouses. In the 1900’s the Illinois counties were more than happy to shed what they seen as an unnecessary burden, and many of the almshouses and poor farms were auctioned off at bargain prices to farmers.
The Carrollton Almshouse still stands and is stilled owned by the county. The structure is condemned and very dangerous. Rumored to be very haunted, many trespassers to the site have claimed to have had a paranormal experience. There are reports of seeing lights passing by the windows, and hearing people talking and screaming when no one else is in the house. There is also a potter’s field on the grounds of the Carrolton Almshouse, but is lost. The county for years has leased to the grounds to farmers and they have long since plowed over the potter’s field.
There have been several attempts to save the crumbling Carrollton Almshouse, but all attempts have failed.