The Knox County Infirmary served children, the elderly and those with mental or physical illness in Knox County, Ohio. The complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.


History

The formation of the Knox County county infirmary came in June 1842 when county commissioners Thomas Axtell, Christopher Wolfe and Thomas Wade acquired 132 acres in Liberty Township for $3,300 from William E. Davidson. 10 The farm was located along Dry Creek near Bangs Station along the Cleveland, Mt. Vernon & Columbus Railroad. Davidson and J.R. Clark repaired and expanded the buildings on what was then the Bricker Farm for the first county poor house and infirmary.

A larger facility was soon needed, and on May 12, 1874, the directors of the infirmary petitioned the county for a new structure. 10 On May 15, Tinsley & Company of Columbus was hired to furnish plans for a new building that was not to exceed $50,000. A bid was let for $38,936 and contract for construction was awarded to the J. Henegan & Company on September 30.

After some work was completed, it became evident that it would not be finished at budget. 10 Tinsley & Company secured the building from the elements and convinced the county to take the contract off their hands for $28,000 for the materials used and the labor performed.

Work under the county was expedited and the new building was opened in September 1877 at a cost of $83,000. 10 The new, 90,000 square-foot, 9 four-story Italianate-styled infirmary featured 100 rooms and a 65-foot-high tower. 10 It also had three water tanks on the upper floor, each containing 40 barrels of water each, and a steam power plant.

The complex, measuring 175-feet by 127-feet, could service 125 residents 10 from a four county region. 4

On April 20, 1914, the Knox County commissioners awarded a contract for $2,586.30 to the Mt. Vernon Electric Company for the installation of an electric light plant at the infirmary. 3

Substandard conditions forced the Knox County Infirmary to close in 1957. 2 7

Post-Closure

The building was purchased by Foursquare Gospel Church 2 and was used as the Mt. Vernon Bible College 7 until 1988, when it relocated to Virginia. 2 8

The building, abandoned for several years, was reopened as The House of Nightmares in 1997. 6 The structure, in use one of the state’s largest haunted houses, was popular until January 2006  1 when four floors of the building collapsed. The House of Nightmares briefly closed before relocating to Columbus, Ohio. 1

Toby Spade, of Northeast Ohio Investment Partners, purchased the former infirmary and 2.6 acres from the state of Ohio with the intent of rehabilitating the building. The front north facade gave way in February 2015. 11 A fire consumed the entire structure on June 26. 12

Sources